Posted October 16, 2009 by
If something were ever to happen to me, this is the letter I would most want you to read.
I think a lot about what it would be like for you to grow up without me, your mother. I suppose it has a lot to do with my having lost my own mother and the fact that I constantly fret about my own mortality. Well, actually I go back and forth between incredibly serene moments of understanding about the ebbs and flows of life and death and then extreme anxiety about having to leave this world before I'm ready. And your presence my dear, makes me feel like I'm not ready.
There are so many things I want you to know, so many things I could say. I could write you a letter every day for the rest of my life and probably not say it all. Nonetheless, there are a few choice things I would definitely want you to know if I weren't around.
I think a lot about how, if I were to die now, you wouldn't remember me. You would have no memories of our sweet, little relationship. I think about how that's true for the next three or four years. That in order for you to remember your mother I have to stay alive for several more years. I do know that even if you didn't remember me I know that I would have still had an effect on the person you are. I take comfort in the fact that all the love I've given you, all the care I've provided will always make you that much more of a secure person.
But enough of all that. Here's what I want you to know.
I love you like I've never loved anyone. I love you in a way I didn't realize was possible. I love you in this profoundly transcendent way. This way that, even if I weren't here, you would still be surrounded by my love. It's a love so big that it's never going away. Not when you're 20, not when you're 47, not when you're in your seventies and a grandmother.
I want you to know that I'm always going to proud of you. Even if I were to die today, you can be certain that when you're making your first science fair project or running your first track meet or graduating high school or college or losing a tooth or skinny a knee or taking your first step or going to your first dance or getting engaged or having a baby, that I'm proud of you. Even if it seems like I couldn't possibly be proud of you because I'm not there, I just will be and you have to accept that.
Death is such a strange thing, little bug. It happens to all of us. And it can be so sad and so scary and so unwanted. But the truth of it is that because of death, life is important. Think about it for a moment. It's true. Death gives us meaning. It gives us goals and aspirations and makes us think about just how much we love one another.
I don't know why I think about it all the time. I guess because both of my parents died so early. And because I work in hospice (really need to get a new job next year). But I do. I think about how long I have to live this life. How long I have to love you. To love your father. To be a mother, a wife, a woman, a writer. I think about places I want to see and things that I want to taste and feel. I think about having more babies and I think about you, you, you and your life and all the things I want to see you do and taste and feel.
And all those things make me certain that I just couldn't bear to go yet. And then I think, well, if I did have to go, I'm so very grateful for what I've done and felt and tasted here in my 31 years. You and your father and my mother and father have the height of it all. There's just nothing more important than the people we love.
But I digress. It's a drizzly Friday morning in October. You're 4 and a half months old. You weigh sixteen pounds (my aching back reminds me of this often). You love to suck on your big right toe and you've been squealing and laughing more than ever this past week. You don't have too much hair but you have the prettiest blue eyes and the softest rose-colored lips. You're nursing as I type this and one hand continually brushes against my shoulder, pulling at my sweater and grazing my face. Your eyelashes cast soft shadows on your cheeks and your warm little body is flush against mine.
There is no way I could love you more than I do in this moment. And it's something that will last forever.
I'm certain of it.