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What would you say to your children if you knew you were about to die? Say it now

PARENTING
Shutterstock | fizkes
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There’s no guarantee you’ll have the time later.

In our collective imaginations, we all have a typical image of what the last moments of a person’s life looks like. Art throughout history, as well as Hollywood movies, have helped us to visualize the moments right before people leave this world, and that helps us to imagine what our own death might be like—if, Lord willing, it isn’t a sudden death, and we have time to speak with our family.

Messages of love

Some of the victims of the 9/11 attacks had time to make phone calls to their loved ones. They were aware of the situation and knew that their death was imminent. During those last minutes or seconds, they wanted to speak a few truly meaningful words to their loved ones. They all spoke the same thing: messages of love.

Have you ever thought about what you would like to say to your own children before you die? Surely you would embrace them and kiss them, and give each one of them a special message to help them be better prepared for life.

Don’t wait any longer

Don’t wait until the last moment to tell your children the things that really matter to you, which can also be very important for them to hear. Whatever you would say on your deathbed, say it to them tonight, before they go to bed, or in the morning before they go to school, or when you’re with them in the car. It doesn’t matter where or when; the important thing is not to let time pass and not to let embarrassment get in the way of saying what’s in your heart, even if it may seem exaggerated or dramatic. There’s no guarantee any of us will have time, or the presence and clarity of mind, to say it later.

We can help our children’s self-esteem and teach them important lessons now by sharing those sentiments and messages with them: “I’ve always loved you, more than anything or anyone else in the world.” “You’ve given meaning to my daily life.” “You have been and are what matters most to me.” “What brings greatest peace to my heart is to see my children united.” “I thank God for having you as my child.” “No matter what happens, I’ll never stop loving you …”

Your daily life will change

Thinking about your last words can help you reflect on your own life, and also, it can help orient the way you raise your children towards a horizon that goes beyond the little daily battles we all face. The daily struggles will still be there, but we can give them deeper meaning because we remember that this life is fleeting, and what matters most is how we love each other (our family, friends, strangers, and even our enemies) and how we love God.

Read more: Who wants to think of death? I do, and I want you to, and here’s why

Read more: Memento mori: I’m planning my funeral, what about you?

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