What should I leave behind for my daughter to read after I am gone?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Ronniebfla asked...

Im 42 years old, I have been divorced since my daughter (only one) was 3. Miraculously we without seeing eachother all but 10-14 days a year we speak everyweek. A special bond between us was created early on. I am now forced to face my own reality of death and a short life. I am not well, physically due to multiple injuries to my lower back from being in the 9-11 attack on the towers. A stressful divorce and a loss of over 6 figures in a matter of 2 weeks caused me to have a major heart attack which left me with 30% functioning, As of 2 weekes ago my cardiologist told me if I do not get a pace maker defib I will certainly have a 100% chance of dying very soon. I am not scared of death, I have died and I did have an out of body experience but I want to prepare myself for things I have been trying to do for my daughter. A 9 yr scrap book, stories of things about her mom and I who met freshman year in college, things that are creative. I want to have a card delivered with a letter from me for all her stepping stones of life from graduation of elementry and high scholl, college, birthdays....etc.

I want to make a video for those times although odds are I will be gone but not out of sight. It's over whelming and need guidance. I need advice on what to include, what not to say, what to make her feel comfort not sad ....

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

I had to read and reread your entry because it sounds like a perfect answer rather than a question.

The scrapbook, cards, letters, and video all sound like great ideas"”and will surely be guided by your own honesty, the closeness of your relationship, and the thoughtfulness and reflection that you have obviously put into your own life and in thinking about your own death.

You already seem to have great ideas about the content. I particularly love marking your daughter's stepping stones in life with cards and letters that a friend or family member could agree to deliver to her. It will surely warm her to get your thoughts and recollections about what these rites of passage meant to you in your life and what you hope they will mean in hers. (On a much lesser note, I cherish the nickel my grandpa gave me when he found my first tooth; he died when I was just a few months old.)

Just say what you would like to say if you were there in person. Perhaps you would get some guidance from your relationship with your own parent or someone else to whom you felt close"”and from thinking about what you loved hearing from them or regret not hearing.

Some of your words might make your daughter sad; some may make her laugh; some might make her angry, wistful, contemplative. But all of that is real"”and likely to be comforting.

I applaud you for this enduring gift you're planning to give her. Perhaps there are other members of the Caring community who have insights to share from their own experiences . . .