If March 2011 was your last month to live, how would you live it?
I have been resisting this prompt mightily. I’ve read many of my fellow bloggers’ posts and have revelled in the joy that they would squeeze out of every moment that they’d have left. Their posts have been breathtaking in their beauty and tenderness for those they would leave behind. Perhaps it’s because one of my own is in a life & death struggle right now. Perhaps it’s because I’ve dealt with death in many forms from an early age.
I think that my husband would eventually be okay…I love him more than I can say, but I would want him to go on…maybe even marry again. My struggle centers around my children. There is just no way for a child to be the same after they lose a parent, especially when that loss comes during childhood.
Having lost a parent to suicide when I was eleven, I know first hand what it does to a kid. I cringe at the thought of my children going on without their mother. I know that parents are supposed to go first, but not before we usher our kids safely into adulthood…not before we get to see them test the waters of the world on their own and have them come back on their own terms.
I don’t claim to be a lock for the next Mother of the Year; but, my kids know every day that I love them. I don’t want that to stop. I don’t want them to ever have reason to question that for a second. It haunts my brothers and I every day, to think that we weren’t enough to keep our father alive. Even if I had no choice, how could I prevent my children from ever suffering that doubt?
That scene in “Terms of Endearment?” You know, the one where Debra Winger says good-bye to her young son? I was upset for days over that.
My kids are in their teens. Some would argue that they are well on their way to being the people that they are going to be. I would argue that I am a very different person today than I would have been had my father stayed around to be a part of my life…not better, not worse…just different.
I am so close to my mother. I was extremely close to my grandmother. I want my children to have the same thing. As the saying goes, I want to live long enough to be a problem to my children.
Perhaps this is selfish; but, I don’t want to plan a long good-bye. I want to take the time now to make sure that my family knows that I love them. I want to tell my friends how much they mean to me. I wasn’t always good at this, but I’m coming to find the joy in telling people, “Thank you for being in my life.” Maybe we won’t jet off to Paris any time soon, and I wouldn’t get to spend the last month on the beach, but our every day life is better, and I can take comfort in knowing that the people around me would know for sure how I felt about them.
If I had a month to live, I would love to say that I would make the most of every second…but, I’m not sure that I am that noble. I would fight and rage and resist the going away with every fiber of my being. I would not “go gentle into that good night.” I would “rage against the dying of the light.”
My gift to my children would be the knowledge that I did everything in my power not to leave them.