A note from the grave? Now, this may seem like a deeply morbid topic. I am praying that none of my loved ones succumb to the virus that is currently taking human beings hostage. If it were me who died and they were left behind, what would I like them to know?
Let’s not forget that this is not a new idea. People entering the armed forced are asked to write a “letter from the grave” before going into combat situations. If we don’t know when we are leaving this life, how do we know what to say? My feeling is that saying something is infinitely better than saying nothing. We can, of course, tell our close family and friends how much we love them every day. However, this is not something everyone feels comfortable with. And saying it too often can render it meaningless.
I haven’t been 100% this week. And my family will testify to the fact that the almighty headache last weekend meant I wasn’t at my most tolerant. To be fair, when I was reading out the instructions to the board game “Pandemic” they may not have been fully concentrating on the enterprise in hand. (Yes, I like to think I’m funny. They may not agree…) I’d rather write my note and have my thoughts on paper than be concerned that I spent a number of days snapping at the ones I love the most before we realised I was ill.
But what can we write? What do we want them to know?
A special memory
Don’t think you have to write an individual note to everyone in your family, if this isn’t something you are comfortable with. You could remind them of a happy time you spent together, whether it may be a holiday or a family meal. Knowing that you held these things close to your heart will mean a lot.
What are their individual characteristics?
We can jot down a few lines about each person. Is it their sense of humour that distinguishes them? Or do we love the way they always know when we need a hug? What we are writing about does not need to be earth-shattering – it is the small things that people often hang on to.
What do you wish for their future?
Try not to set the bar too high. I am sure we would all like to think that our families will be healthy, wealthy and wise, but perhaps being happy is enough. Encouraging them to move on without you might seem an enormous ask right now. However, this could be the permission they need to start afresh after time goes by.
Do you have any regrets?
I will never forget my Mam telling me that she was sad she would not be with me when I had my own children. I was ironing and she was sitting in the chair next to me. This was 28 years ago. It still makes me cry today. You may have an apology for something that happened in the past. Alternatively, it may be something you won’t be able to do together in the future. Writing this in your note will be something for your loved ones to hang onto if times get tough.
You are still with them
Remind them that you do not have to be physically present to be with them. You are there in their hearts and memories. When they need strength, you will not be far away. I am lucky enough to have religious beliefs that tell me I will live on in the spiritual world. I will meet people I love when I arrive, and it won’t seem like a long time to me until those who are still in the physical plane join me. At times, I feel those who have gone before me to be close by.
What would you tell your loved ones, if you thought this might be your last chance?
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