The Letters

I have almost finished the letters.  What letters?  I’m talking about the letters I have written to friends and family in case I don’t make it through my surgery, which is two weeks from today.  I know it sounds extreme, but it honestly has calmed my fears.  I am not necessarily afraid to die.  The idea of death doesn’t scare me – it never has, even as a child.  The idea of the pain my husband, my children, and my family will go through pains me.  My children are so young – they won’t truly remember me.  They will listen to stories and see pictures, but they won’t remember me singing to them after their baths, kissing them goodnight, reading an endless number of books to them.  They will only know what people tell them.  And I know my husband.  His first inclination will be to start drinking again and throw himself into work.  I worry about my parents because I can only begin to imagine having to deal with the  death of one of my children.

 The letters are my way of trying not to worry.  They have helped.  It is difficult to put everything I want my children to know in one letter.  I kept coming up with new advice.  In the end, I did edit some.  I started with a letter to my husband, then the kids, then my parents, and my brothers.  Then I started writing letters to friends, but some I found I had nothing to say.  It bothered me for awhile, then I realized it wasn’t worth stressing over.  I decided not to write them.  I thought I would feel bad, but I don’t.  I just feel relieved and I’m beginning to reevaluate the importance I am putting on some of these relationships.

Now I am worrying about my house.  I look around and see all the things that need to get done.  Today, I scrubbed my kitchen top to bottom along with the living room and the bathroom.  Sometime this week I’ll move onto our bedroom and hopefully the basement.  I am a horrible house keeper.  While I like organization (my classroom is organized to the hilt) my house is overwhelming to me.  I think it has something to do with the fact that the 3 other people living in my house don’t follow my organization.  It’s just easier to not do it.  So now my job is of getting it clean is harder. 

I will finish the letters tomorrow.



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2 responses to “The Letters

  1. First, I will say that I wish you well with your surgery. Second, it is always wise to take risks and possibilities into account. Most likely, you will be fine, and chuckling about your concerns, but the possibility of things not working out is real and should be faced.

    When I was in my forties, I had panic attacks about dying. In part this was a reaction to my father dying suddenly of a heart attack in his forties when I was younger after we had a big fight (the first time I had stood up to him) when I was in my twenties. Although the heart attack had been the nominal cause of his death, I think he died mostly of rage and frustration.

    I was surprised that I lived into my 60s. I am much calmer about death than I was, and I think it is part of my task at this age to come to terms with death and to face it calmly and to prepare for it so it has the least impact and stress for my family.

    I think your message says something similar. I applaud your calm thoughtfulness.

  2. I’m really glad you did this for yourself. I will be thinking about you.

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