In the movie “My Life”, Michael Keaton starts a video journal for his unborn child when he learns he has a terminal illness. We watch as he records messages to be played at a later time – presumably after he’s gone.
I think a lot about death and dying. Not to the point that it consumes me, but having lost a parent at a young age (60) and being a mom to three, the thought does cross my mind from time to time.
These days, when friends call me with big news, I usually hold my breath – not knowing what it’s going to be. Most of us are past the “I’m ENGAGED!!” or “I’m PREGNANT!!” news, so the odds that they’re calling with good news has decreased significantly over the years. As I wait for them to relay their news, I make a silent checklist of all the things that I hope it’s not:
- Parental death
And if the news turns out to be one of those 3, no offense but I’m hoping for divorce.
Anyway.. back to my musings over death. Like Keaton’s character in My Life, I’ve thought about what I would do if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness and if it would be something like what he did.
- Would I buy out the Hallmark store, prepare cards and fill the vault for each of the girls future life events? Sweet 16, Drunken 21, the big 4-0?
- Would I buy a wedding card and sentimental gift to be given to them on their wedding day?
- Would I record a video giving them the motherly advice that I was missing out on?
- Would I buy gifts for the next 20 years of holidays and store them someplace like Laura Linney’s character in The Big C?
- Would I write journal after journal and try to hit all the possible wonderful and horrible scenarios they may go thru in life and how to best deal with it?
But would I actually do them? I don’t know.
As soon as I think that I would, I immediately wonder if it would freak them out.. letters from the grave. Of course, I wouldn’t be here to worry about their reaction – unless my recycle date was quicker than normal and I ended up being a flower girl at the wedding. But isn’t that just like a typical mom? Not only do we worry about our time here but we worry about our time when we’re NOT here, too.
The only thing that I DO know is that at age 43, I’m in the 2nd half of my life so I try to go thru my day and really live each day.. let the small stuff roll off my back and weigh the bigger stuff on a date scale. You know the date scale – “will I even remember this event or worry this time next year?” and if the answer is no, let it go into the small stuff category.
What about you? What would you do? Have you thought much about it? Am I completely morbid for considering it?
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