Saturday, February 9, 2008

What would you do if... found out you were going to die in three days?

I awoke at 1:48 this morning bawling my eyes out because I was having a dream that I had been told by a very reliable source that I would die in 2-3 days. Dan kept telling me it was just a dream and finally said, "OK" in frustration, no doubt having flashbacks of when we were newlyweds and I would awake from a nightmare, screaming and wildly trying to knock giant spiders off my entire body.

The dream struck such raw emotion in me that I couldn't stop crying, so I just got up out of bed and came to the computer. These are some of the thoughts that came to me in my dream:
  • How could I leave Dan alone with the girls?
  • Lily would just about die of heartbreak without her Mama
  • I would die of heartbreak knowing that Amelia wouldn't remember her mother
  • Dan could be completely debt free with my life insurance money (sacreligious, I know)

Quickly followed by these thoughts was me calling Dan and telling him to come home from work immediately. After telling him the news, we just clung to each other and bawled. Then I started thinking about what I needed to do in the next two days. I needed to make a video so Amelia would remember her Mama. I needed to make a tape recording of me singing bedtime songs for Lily. I needed to go to the temple with Dan.

A ridiculous idea crossed my mind. To write a farewell blog post to have Dan post after I died. I would tell about the things I cherished the most, how much I loved Dan and the girls, how I wanted them to live the rest of their lives.

About this time in the dream, I awoke crying, and ever since, I have been thinking about what I would do if this really happened. I am so utterly unprepared for such a tragedy. Who is? But I don't even have a will. Something I have been thinking about lately every time I go online to pay bills is, "I really need to write down all the user names and passwords to all these accounts so that if anything happened to me, Dan could pay the bills." Those are some of the practical things.

But at an emotional level, I just can't even imagine all that I would want to do for my family if they were going to have to live the rest of their lives without me. Lily is such a mama's girl, one of Dan's biggest challenges would be helping her cope with life without her mother. I'm sure looking down from heaven one would realize how short and fleeting this earth life is in the eternal scheme of things, but if you were the one left to live 50 or 80 years without your spouse or your mother, it would often feel unbearable.

One thing I know, and Dan and I have talked about this, is I would want Dan to remarry so the girls could have a mother and he would have help raising them. She would have to be pretty amazing to love someone else's children, but I would love her for taking over where I could not be. I would want to write Lily a letter about all that I adore about her, how I want her to behave, what kind of character traits I want her to develop, what my hopes and dreams for her are. I would want to make her a recording of me singing her favorite Primary songs. I would want to just hold Amelia close to me, nurse her and have her stroke my hair, look into her beautiful hazel eyes and wonder how I was going to ever survive without her little body next to mine.

I have often said to myself that I do not fear death, and in some ways I am excited about it because I can't wait to see what's next, to find the answers to so many questions, to meet Heavenly Father and my Savior. But in reality, I can't bear the thought of dying and leaving Dan, who I have grown to love fiercely, and my sweet and precious girls.

I hope to live a very long life and die with peace and anticipation just like President Hinckley did.


Anonymous said...

that post got me choked up. These are the things that we begin to think about at our age.

You write so elequently and are able to express your thoughts so clearly that I'm sure many people will relate to this same topic.

Right after my mom died Dan and I went through these things too. Keep your ducks in a row and remember if anything were to happen your girls would never ever forget you! I have many stories that I would have to tell them about you! =)

Love you,

Spymommy said...

Why? Why did I have to read this post right now, in the middle of cleaning? And now I'm crying. Crying and cleaning don't mix! You may have "wanted to be me" in high school - but I am just in awe of your ability at this point to put life into true perspective. Thanks for the reality check. You rock.

Hil said...

I've had dreams like this too... The first few minutes are ones of panic and thoughts like "Is this a sign? Is it coming soon? Ack! I'm not ready!"
But then, I've decided that my dreams like this are messages from the Spirit to wake up and just live. To embrace life fully, to just breathe it in, be there fully and make lasting memories with my loved ones.
That said, I do think there are blessings of peace that come if you are prepared for anything. Life is short and fragile. Enjoy it! Your daughters will always know you - they knew you before they came to earth and will again after we leave.
Love, Hilary

Josh and Jenn said...

Sue, you need to write a book. You just have a way of putting your thoughts into words that I admire very much. I think things, then sit in front of the computer with a completely blank mind. I've never been scared of death for myself, I'm sure that will come once I am a mother. But I have a constant fear of the ones I love dying. I think it's great to be prepared for that, as morbid as it may seem.

Becky in Wyo said...

Woah, where was I when you wrote something so deep and meaningful? Out to lunch or picking my nose, apparently. You may have thought, why doesn't my sister comment on all of this? Well, slacker that I am, I'm finally here to respond!

These guys are right. You have a very special way with words. I may have to hate you for it... But I bless you, anyway, because you bring so much joy to my life.

What is with me today, and my flippancy? Do I not have any respect for such a serious topic? Oh, well.

It's funny, or interesting, that you had that type of dream, and had such a profound and understandable response to it. I've had similar thoughts about what would happen if I died. Okay, maybe not so noble as yours. Mine have been kind of pathetic, selfish, and depressing over the past year and a half. More along the lines of wishing Heavenly Father would just put me out of my misery and replace me. Surely there are better women than me, who would do a better job of raising my kids, and not do so many stupid, stupid things? But, when I'm rational, I know this isn't true. Losing a parent is devastating for a child, and I would not want to wish that on my children. And like you, I wonder how in the world Zen would cope with all these kids, especially if something happened to me soon after the baby was born.

Just last night, Gil came to me for some extra hugs, like he hadn't done in a really long time. He wasn't weepy or anything, but it just reinforced a thought I've had lately, that teenagers need their parents just as much as little babies do. Gilean and I have had some amazing talks, and I think I've really helped him through some rough spots. I'm not a spectacular Mom, but my kids still really need me. And I want to be around when Dani and I work more of our crap out. Relationships where people have gone through a lot together can be some of the strongest.