Have you ever gone on a trip and wondered ``what if I die``? ``What will happen to my kids, and my animals``? I don`t mean the things you would leave in a will. Have you ever wondered if you died, would the people you love know how you felt about them? Have you wondered if you are leaving a legacy for your kids and family to be proud of? Would your children know your story?
I realize that this is not the most normal of thoughts for someone to have, and I don’t have them often, but it would be a lie if I told you I never wondered. In fact, I will admit to leaving an unknown letter once when taking a trip. I must have had a bad feeling or something, and I justified in my mind, that was the reason I left it. Of course, there never was a plane crash and the letter never did get read, just thrown in the trash.
What is this all about, you ask? I just came back from a small vacation. I was camping and when I am out in the wilderness, I tend to think a bit too much by the crackle of the fire, the mesmerizing lap of the lake water, the weightlessness I feel as my body glides under the water and waves splash over my body. A good book always helps and I am currently reading a good book, full of thought provoking chapters!
Things I Want My Daughters to Know, by Elizabeth Noble. In this book, the main character has 4 daughters, and has had 2 husbands. She has died of cancer. One day before she deteriorated too much, she decided to keep a notebook, not so much a journal, and record various accounts of her life for her daughters. In her notebook, she tells them stories that weave the fabric of her life, she gives them advice, admits some large secrets, shares with them her memories of their lives, and decisions she has made. I like the book. I like it enough, that just like a recipe that I find appealing, I decided to try it and make it my own, reworking the ingredients.
It could be that my mom is turning 80 this year, and I am seeing her weak and miserable and defeated, that I have begun to think of my life and the way I have chosen to live it. I don`t know my mom’s story, the hardships she endured before I came along, the reasons for her decisions. I don`t know why she married the men she did, why she stayed so long, what dreams she had, and what she gave up to be our mom. I know she has always been independent, stubborn, and a hard worker. I know she has a heart of gold. I also know, that if you ask her about her life, her memory fails her; or she chooses to not remember and share.
I have started to keep a book for my daughter, that is only for her, to read when I am old, or when I am gone. I will record memories I have of her as a baby, a child, a teenager and so on. I will tell her about her dad, and my decision to marry him and my reasons for not staying with him. I will tell her about my life, things I have done, places I have been, people I have loved. I have to say, with the stories floating in my mind, I don`t think it`s morbid, I think it is exciting! I wish my mom had done the same, so that my siblings and I could read her thoughts, her memories, know her story. It is exciting to know, that when I am gone, my daughter will have a very important piece of me! She will have those conversations that mother and daughter should have!
Tell me, honestly, is this something you would ever do. Is it too much, too stupid, too time consuming?