Follow
Share

This is not the usual fare here, but it's been on my mind since my mother passed in May. Last month, a dear friend's mother passed, followed by an ex-bf of mine; and yesterday my uncle died. (I wasn't close to him at all, but I am close to my cousin, his daughter.)


I find myself thinking about my two daughters, 17 and 22, and how they will feel after I die, which hopefully won'y happen for a long time. Right now, of course, we are just living life, arguing sometimes, feeling warmly toward each other at other times, often ignoring each other entirely. It's a mixed bag of emotions and taking each other for granted. My kids can't live each day as if it's MY last, but sometimes I wish they would, when they're being especially vexing. Occasionally, they will roll their eyes at me and I'll say "you'll miss me when I'm gone!" That really annoys them. But I kind of mean it, because part of me fears that they won't miss me much.


Does one write something for them to read after one dies - something that says things that maybe couldn't be said in real life? Do you simply let your child off the hook and give them permission to not feel guilt?


What do those of you who've lost a parent wish they'd left for you to read, if anything?

Best answer I can give is....
Talk about it..
Talk about your wishes
Talk about what you want and what you don't want.
Talk about your Will, Trusts,
Talk about your End of Life wishes, Do you have a POLST or DNR?
The more you talk openly about these things the less scary they will be.
Also let them understand that things can change. You may feel one way about something today but it is alright to change your mind in 6 months or a year. Just know those changes need to be reflected in any paperwork you have.

The letters you might want to write are to grandchildren that you do not yet have.
You might want to write something for the first Holiday without you, the first Christmas, first Mothers day on and on.
Better yet record some of these thoughts.
But more important is the time you have now.
These are the times they will remember.
So while you are fixing holiday meals and treats do this...
Write down the recipes, they will want them someday and it will mean more in your writing.
Write down the "family recipes" make them into a book and give the book as a Christmas gift..no rush you can do it for next year, that will give you a while to work on it.
I wish I had my Grandma's recipe for her pork roast although I think I have it figured out.
My Dad's recipe for Pasta sauce is lost forever.
The stuffing (I should say dressing) that my Mom and Grandma made is also lost forever...
My Mom's coffee cake there are plenty that look like it on line and maybe it is the same but she only made it for "special occasions" and maybe that is why it seemed so good but I will never know!
So get going on the Family Cookbook!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

We children are all aware that our parents and other loved ones will not live forever. It doesn’t really need to be stated or discussed in long, emotional talks. I have spoken with my son in passing about things that I want him to have; a beaded necklace that’s over 100 years old. My daughter would not take care of it and he would. My mother, God bless her, bought cemetery plots from my aunt when she moved out of state and contracted for pre-planned funerals. She made it clear that neither she nor my dad wanted funerals or memorials.

Keep discussions on a practical level. You can write a journal of thoughts you have about the highs and lows of your life and what you’ve learned from it, but don’t advertise it. Leave it among your papers, which should also be in order for them, including wills and POAs. This will prove much more valuable to them and s lot less depressing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

"Does one write something for them to read after one dies - something that says things that maybe couldn't be said in real life? Do you simply let your child off the hook and give them permission to not feel guilt?"

I do not understand the paragraph above. It reads like you want to leave a letter giving your children heck for things you feel they should be guilty about.

I do not understand why anyone should feel guilt when a parent dies. Unless there is a strong case for neglect, but those people are not likely to feel guilt.

Your daughters are young women now, they need to be gaining their independence from you and developing their lives. They should not be told "you will miss me when I am gone." That is a horrible, manipulative thing to say. Are you trying to control them from the grave, years before your death?

I am sorry I have read your post several times and realize it is triggering me. Your words are just like my former mother in law, who tried to control my ex with guilt and neediness. Just so you know, my kids avoid her like the plague as visits leave them feeling terrible after hours of negative woe is me talk and that exact phrase, "you will miss me when I am gone".
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Tothill
Report

Some things we can never be prepared for, we have to live them - how does anyone really prepare for the big moments in life: love/marriage, children, sickness and death? Teach your children throughout your life about the things that you value and prepare as much as you can to age gracefully and die in a way that doesn't overburden those you love.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie
Report

I find I except death the way my parents did. Its going to happen its a part of life. Some earlier than others. We should not allow grief to cripple us. Being 69 I have lost all my Aunts and Uncles. A sister too. Yes, I think about them all and still "miss" them. But I no longer grieve.

One thing they need to understand is everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. Your not weird because you still grieve 2 yrs later. Just don't allow it to infringe on ur life. I have one friend who was married 40 yrs. She still grieves but it hasn't stopped her from traveling and being involved. Another was married to her soul mate, as she puts it, but a year after his death she is dating a man she says helped her with her grief. But, she hasn't forgotten her soul mate. Just didn't like being alone. We really can't judge.

I find I really enjoy funerals where the speaker knows the person well. My Moms we had a man who grew up with us. Plus was, he was a minister. We laughed thru the whole service. Same with three other friends. We celebrated their lives. I think this helps with the families grieving and healing.

Your daughters are teens. This is how they get along. It teaches them that you can fight but still love each other.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Hoping that time is a long way off for you. How to make it easier for our kids? 1) If living independently, arrange outside help to come in and clean your house regularly and do the yard work - so kids don't feel responsible for two houses, 2) Pay off your debt, 3) Keep retirement savings for yourself (don't assume you will not have to dip into it for longterm care in-home or an ALF), 4) Make a clear POA, make a Will and/or Trust stating how assets are to be divided, 5) Write directives whether you want to be cremated, where you want to be buried, and whether you want extreme measures to prolong life and spell out what exactly extreme measures are so kids don't guess (no feeding tube, DNR, no IV fluids, no life saving surgery if it means loss of other body functions, etc., 6) Do not make them promise not to put you in an ALF or ask to live with them, 7) Practice acceptance, 8) Try to keep outside interests that are not dependent on your kid's participation, 9) When they visit or call, don't complain about all the things they do wrong all the time, 10) Take care of yourself now, tell kids you love them, and try not to criticize their choices if they don't harm anyone.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to GingerMay
Report

The greatest gift my Dad gave me, was that He was not afraid of dying. That He said He was ready when it came. And the time I had with him. And that He told me He loved me. And I got to hug and kiss him every morning and every night. Knowing He was not afraid, did not relieve me of grief, but it helped. He shared all his wisdom and knowledge with me. Those are the things I hold onto as a child of his. My Mom too is not afraid and ready if it comes and she shares story after story of her family history and all her knowledge and wisdom. And I get to hug and kiss her every morning and everynight. These are the things that I will hold dear to me as a child of hers. Priceless! Simple but Good.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to smeshque
Report

Well from someone who is getting uncomfortably closer to death I have discussed my final wishes with my family and am thinking of making a video to let them know how much I love them and am proud of my kids and how happy they have made me. But they know all that already.

From my late father an apology for being so abusive to his kids and from my mother an apology for not kicking his sorry aXX out of the house. But she is 84 and still living in denial so I guess that would be asking too much.
At least my sister and I are talking about how we felt as kids and now as adults regarding our parents and especially our father which in the past was a family taboo subject. That has been a tearful but healing experience which has brought us much closer together.

My advice is to ask yourself what you would write for them to read after your death and then tell them that personaly before it is too late.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Freddy1960
Report

I am not sure about writing a letter along ‘deep and meaningful’ lines, to be read after your death. If your daughters are now 17 and 22, it may not be read for 30 or 40 years. Relationships can change a great deal in that time. Aiming to rewrite it every few years is sounding a bit ‘try hard’.

What might be more successful is to write down a family history. Many people know almost nothing of what happened before their own grandparents’ time. I wrote some early family history for my first husband’s funeral, and was surprised that our children and others knew so little about his parents and grandparents, or about his schooling and early working life. Your history of the past, including your own upbringing and how it influenced you in bringing up your daughters, will show a great deal about what you value.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

My mom left her bible.and she left an example of what a life is as a Christian trusting in Gods word. there is nothing else in this life that will give them peace to read .
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Masonnic
Report

I don't think parents can prepare their kids for their death.
I think death is something that one has to experience through losing a pet, a friend, or God for bid a love one.
The sad part is "you tell your girls that they will miss you when your gone", but they being young can't really wrap their heads around that, which thinking about it, maybe it's a good thing.

My dad use to tell me the same thing and I just blew it off. My dad die! Never! Was my thinking, but my dad did die it's been 4 yrs, and I miss him every day. Like you, I think he thought no body would miss him. But I never thought my dad would have that fear, it wasn't until he died that made me realize it.

No matter how old we get, and no matter how many people we lose--we never get use to death, nor should we.

I can speak to you as a daughter; I wished my dad would have written me a later, or talked to me more about what I should know about my mother, what he would have wanted me to do with his house. Should I keep his house? Would he be upset with me if I sold it? Things like that!

My dad did very well preparing me for the world, making good decisions, taught me how to read situations and people. But he didn't teach me how to handle life & family without him. I don't know if that even makes sense! But I was just thinking about this just the other morning. Prehaps it is because my mother has dementia!

Teach your kids everything you would want them to know. Tell them how much you love them, and how proud you are of them. This may seem like a no brainer. But kids can forget through time, just through the ups and downs and the disappointments in life.

Unfortunately, my dad was old school and rarely ever told me that he loved me, and only once did he ever say that he was proud of me. He showed his love and proudness of me through other ways, and I didn't get it until it was to late.

If I was you, teach them, tell them, and write them a letter.

Just from a daughter's point-a-veiw!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Shell38314
Report

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter