For any parent, there is only one nightmare that ranks even close to losing one of our children and that is the fear of dying before they're ready to part with us. Obviously no one is ever "ready" to lose their parent, but as moms, the idea of leaving my 30-year-old well-established daughter is much more soothing than the thought of leaving a 3-year-old.
But for one young UK mom with terminal cancer, that is exactly what she is facing. Katrina Hobbs was pregnant with her second child when she discovered she had Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in September of 2008. She was forced to deliver the boy early to begin treatment and she lost him.
This loss has made her even more determined to be there for her daughter. And so she has built a legacy for her.
By writing cards and buying gifts and talking 3-year-old Ella through everything from boyfriends to babies and weddings, she will be there in spirit even if not in body. Presumably she is leaving this collection of cards, poems, letters, and video messages with family members who can share them with her daughter when it makes sense.
It's the kind of thing that those of us who lost moms young (like me) wish our mothers had done.
As parents, we all want the best for our children and anyone with cancer, regardless of the prognosis, thinks about mortality. They think of what happens if they lose their fight and they leave their children motherless. It's a nightmare that is probably harder on the kids than the parents in the long run.
So why not ease it a bit? You don't even have to have a cancer diagnosis to know that life is fragile. We should all be thinking about our legacies. I keep a book of letters to my children, and when I leave on a trip, I leave them little sealed envelopes with letters inside.
Morbid? Maybe. But I want them to know how much I love them even if I can't be there to hold them in my arms.
Do you ever think about these things?
Image via cynthiacloskey/Flickr