The other day I got to thinking about how to tell may family how much they meant to me—how they really made living such a joy all these years. I could have just sat them down and told them face-to-face, but that’s just not how we do things in this family—too sappy and too uncomfortable. Oh, we have always loved the hell out of each other, but it has always been shown by action not talk.
So I decided to write each of them letters. I’ll leave them in the “Death File” (more on that in a future blog) where they will find them after I’m gone. Not much they can do to avoid what will be a message from the grave. I started to write a letter to each of my daughters. But it didn’t make sense to separate them as all my life I had thought of them as a duo. My greatest pleasure was always seeing them interact in the most loving way. No, what I said to one was not much different then what I would say to the other—so it was “Becka and Carol.” No “My Dearest…”—again, that would not be us.
Thing is, I hope they enjoy the letter after my funeral (ashes mixed with chocolate chips and dumped in the high-desert sagebrush), but I know that right now it made me feel great. As I wrote, all the great moments of our lives together came in brief flashes. I saw their birth, their first day of school, the cats they loved, a great ice fishing trip, basketball games, dressed for the prom, in the car on the way to Mount Rushmore, dressing as witches and princesses, the first time riding a bike, building snowmen, high school graduations, father’s day cards—all this remembering is again making me choke up a bit, so I’ll stop.
I also made a few amends and listed a few regrets; not spending enough time with them, worrying about them too much, and not always telling them how important they were to me. I also wanted them to know, they had become exactly the kind of people I hoped they would be.
The letter is too personal to share, but I will include one bit: “I should have done more with you and for you. I should have supported you more and criticized you less. But know you made me proud, happy, and were the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I still have letters I want to write to my sister, the grandkids, and, maybe the most important one, my wife. When I’m finished it will be a load off my mind because I will have done the most important thing I need to do in preparing—well preparing for happiness.
I encourage all of you to think about doing this for family and friends. I guarantee it will be a cathartic experience