The following is an updated version of one of the first posts I wrote here at A Delightful Home. It's not always pleasant to think about dying, but it's part of life. Thinking ahead can make it easier on our families. We just don't know when our time is up.
“We'll be washed and buried one day, my girl
And the time we were given will be left for the world
The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague
So let the memories be good for those who stay.”
Mumford & Sons (Winter Winds)
We've talked a little about ways we can prepare for death in order to bring peace to our lives and the life of our family. Today I wanted to share a way to bring comfort to those you love in the event of your passing: a letter to your loved ones.
Should anything happen to you and your life on earth be over, words from you could provide an extra comfort for your family. They could also provide valuable advice and instruction that you are no longer around to give.
I once saw a lady (on Oprah, I think), who was given a number of months to live. Her daughter was only a toddler at the time. In her remaining months she set about writing cards and letters for her child to read as she grew. She filed them away to read on certain dates and events: birthdays, graduation, wedding, and so on. What a gift!
The letter I speak of does not have to be as involved as that, just a simple note saying whatever words you want your family to hear. An expression of love for sure, but also a charge to become strong and faithful Christians, if that be your desire for them.
This letter could be handwritten or typed, long or short, addressed to the whole family, or written to each member individually.
Once written, the letter can be filed away in a place known to your spouse, or a place you expect it to be found should it be needed. I am working on my emergency binder this week (more details tomorrow), mine will be filed in there.
If this seems important to you, yet the task seems too monumental, just sit down and write a few words. If you want to change it later, go right ahead.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- If you only had 10 minutes to tell your child what you want for them in life, what would you say?
- What are some special memories you treasure that you would like them to know about?
- What has it meant to you to be their mother? To be your husband’s wife?
- Name some special attributes each family member has.
- Is there an important piece of advice you want them to remember?
- Life truths you think they should know?
It is sobering to think about dying and leaving your family behind, but it helps put life in perspective. What is really important? What do we want to say to our children and spouse? How do we really what to spend our time while we are here on earth? How do we want to be remembered? Are we prepared to die?
James 4:14 says,
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
The Bible states the truth plainly – we do not know when we will die – It could be in 10 years or 10 minutes.
I know this is not an easy topic to discuss or think about – but it happens every day – to people just like you and me.
It is my hope that you will join me and write a letter to your loved ones. Then find peace in knowing that you have provided this little comfort should it ever be needed. Your family will thank you.
What do you think? Would something like this be helpful?
Originally published June 30, 2010. Updated on April 22, 2013.
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