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Writing To Your Loved Ones To Be Read After You Die

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I did this along time ago. I was going by myself to meet friends in Europe and just had a nervous feeling about it.

The things that I did in my letter were to tell my kids how much I loved them. How proud I am of them. I made a list of what I am proud of. I told them memories I have from when they were little. Their first words, when they first walked, first laughed..etc. I told them what I wanted for them in their lives. I told them to work hard, believe in themselves, be kind to people and always be there for eachother.I told them they could do anything they set their minds too and that they are the greatest thing that ever happened in my life..to live their life with no regrets.. they were little, so I told them to pick a star at night and that would be our star, that's where they would find me until we were together again. Wow, I had forgotten all about those letters until now. Having just lost my mom in Dec and my dad last week, I wish they had left me a letter.

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Of course, what Annie wrote sounded so beautiful. I was going to do it one time but never followed through on it. Have you given any thought to a recording that you could just pick up whenever you had a thought and how wonderful it might be for her to hear your voice? I don't know. I does require some deep thought, though.

Karen ;)

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What a wonderful topic this is, and I thank Wondering Mom for asking the question. Annie, your ideas are beautiful. I, too, would give anything to have received such a letter from either one of my parents!

I am reminded of something I posted some time ago that I hope you will find relevant to the subject at hand, and so I'm repeating it here:

I want to refer you – and everyone else who may be interested – to a very important book by Ira Byock, M.D., an international leader in hospice care, called The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book about Living.

To give you a sense of its powerful message, here is a brief excerpt that I’ve posted on the Comfort for Grieving Hearts page of my Grief Healing Web site:

Please forgive me.

I forgive you.

Thank you.

I love you.

These four simple statements are powerful tools

for improving your relationships and your life.

As a doctor caring for seriously ill patients

for nearly 15 years of emergency medicine practice

and more than 25 years in hospice and palliative care,

I have taught hundreds of patients who were facing life's end,

when suffering can be profound,

to say The Four Things.

But the Four Things apply at any time.

Comprising just eleven words,

these four short sentences carry the core wisdom

of what people who are dying have taught me

about what matters most in life . . .

We are all sons and daughters,

whether we are six years of age or ninety-six.

Even the most loving parent-child relationship

can feel forever incomplete

if your mother or father dies

without having explicitly expressed affection for you

or without having acknowledged past tensions.

I've learned from my patients and their families

about the painful regret that comes

from not speaking these most basic feelings.

Again and again, I've witnessed the value

of stating the obvious.

When you love someone,

it is never too soon to say, "I love you,"

or premature to say, "Thank you,"

"I forgive you," or "Will you please forgive me?"

When there is nothing of profound importance left unsaid,

relationships tend to take on an aspect of celebration, as they should . . .

Because accidents and sudden illness do happen,

it is never too soon to express forgiveness,

to say thank you and I love you

to the people who have been an integral or intimate part of our lives,

and to say good-bye is a blessing.

These simple words hold essential wisdom

for transforming that which matters most in our lives --

our relationships with the people we love.

-- from The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book about Living, © 2004 by Ira Byock, M.D., Free Press, New York

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Wow, what a great topic. I, too, wish either of my parents had done that. And Annie, what a beautiful letter your kids will get. Karen has such a great idea about the recording. Hearing their voice would make it doubly wonderful! I don't have any children (unfortunately, my kitties can't read!) so I have no one to do this for, but it is certainly a great idea for all you moms out there!



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Randy Pausch, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is dying of pancreatic cancer. His final lecture to his students, “How to Live Your Childhood Dreams,” is about his life and the lessons he’s learned. ABC News has put the lecture, which The Wall Street Journal called “the lecture of a lifetime,” on its website. You can see the article and hear the full lecture here:abcnews.go.com/GMA/PersonOfWeek/story?id=3633945&page=1. You'll need to allow about 90 minutes to watch and listen to it all, but it is well worth your time.

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