I realized tonight that I haven't update my "goodbye" letters since before I got married. I really need to do that.
Next to one of my children dying, my biggest fear is that I will die without the chance to say goodbye to my loved ones. As we're good Scandinavian/Germans, we don't really express our feelings towards each other so a lot of good things are left unsaid. Thus the "goodbye" letters. When I was in my early teens, I wrote a personal note to each special person in my life and stashed them away where they would be found in case of my untimely demise. I also included a general letter as to what kind of funeral arrangements I wanted. I updated the letters when I was engaged, but haven't done anything with them since.
You may find it morbid that I have planned for my funeral and death, but it's practicality for me. Here's why:
1 year old: diagnosed with asthma.
6 years old: stopped breathing completely, was flown via Mayo One helicopter to ICU, was intubated and put in a medically induced coma for 5 days, and was in the hospital for a week. Because I was so young, I blocked the whole episode up until I woke up in the hospital out of my memory so I only know what my parents have told me. BTW, if you've heard rumors that people in comas can still hear what's going on around them, it's TRUE. On the advice of my doctors, my parents bought and played a lullaby tape for me while I was in the coma to soothe me. When I woke up, I had the whole tape memorized and I knew what my parents and doctors had been saying while in my room.
10 years old: almost stopped breathing, flown via Mayo One helicopter to ICU (where I met a nurse who remembered me from when I was 6!), stayed in hospital for a few days. Because I was old enough to remember this attack, I started having serious panic attacks every time I saw an ambulance or ran into any other "trigger" that reminded me of the asthma attack. Still have some issues with this, but since having my kids, I've learned to handle it much better.
13 years old: went into anaphylactic shock at a friend's house after exposure to nail polish remover (which is when we found out that I'm severely allergic to chemicals of any kind), was flown via Mayo One helicopter to the hospital, stayed in hospital for a few days.
15 years old: don't remember many details, but was hospitalized for a few days due to serious asthma attack.
At this point, I started having so many ambulance rides to the ER and hospital that I'm not sure when they all happened. Some of the attacks were severe, others were mild.
Between all that was a lot of time spent just sitting (not laying because that makes it harder to breathe) in bed or on a chair taking a lot of nebtreatments and prednisone. When I was in my teens, I was finally diagnosed with Sudden Onset Asphyxic Asthma.
Anyways, the point of this is that I've always been very aware that life is fragile and can end at any time. To be honest, when I was young, I didn't think I would live past the age of 18. But here I am, alive and kicking and annoying as many people as I can. Hehe. I'm not easy to get rid of. And now that I have two very precious reasons to live, I'm not going anywhere if I can help it. But if I can't help it, I want to make sure they have some record of how much I love them and want to be here for them.
Don't take a moment of life for granted.