What would you tell your family?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day after day, the names and faces are mourned by a laundry list of loved ones. More times than not, in these last few days in our paper, the ages of those who have departed don’t give an easy indication of a long life filled with memories.

The obituary on today’s page 6 made my stomach clench and heart pause. It nearly brought tears to my eyes when I had to turn the rainbow afghan and vibrant blue of her eyes grey.

I’ve much struggled with my own mortality and that of my children.

I’ve been sitting inside the waiting room at Children’s Hospital, fretful over my own child’s condition and watched as another struggled with the loss of her own. I’ve typed the obituaries immortalizing the children of others who were gone too soon, of the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. It happens. No matter the age, it hurts the same.

I’ve heard news of others who, because of sickness, are facing the most difficult times in their lives.

It makes me pause and think. What would happen, God forbid, if I were the one to be stricken?

I’ve also taken pause to ponder what my children would do if something happened to me. I watched a movie once, where a mother left a punch list for her daughter to follow as she grew older – the kind of thing where she tells her when to wear make-up, when to kiss a boy, how to prepare for life.

What would I tell my children?

First and foremost – be true to yourself. Don’t always try to please others.

I would also say never promise something you don’t intend to deliver.

Be honest with yourself and others.

I would tell them to learn to take care of themselves before having to take care of someone else.

Be your own person before you become someone else’s wife.

I would remind them to save for a rainy day. Better yet, save for a hot day; a cold day; a sunshiny day; a mildly windy day; for a hurricane gale force winds day…

I would say to them work hard to prepare yourself, and your day will come.

I would tell them that I was never so happy as I was on the days they were born. Collectively, they were the happiest days of my life.

And above all, I loved them more than breath itself.

If you haven’t said that to your children, your wife, your husband, your mother, your father, do it. Take the time. Do it.

You never know. Today could be your last. Make it count in every way possible.