As I ran today I thought about what I would want for Saturday, if I had been killed by a drunk driver on Monday morning, as Meg Menzies was on Monday, January 13, 2014. (See http://wtvr.com/2014/01/14/meg-menzies-run-megsmiles/)
If I die on Monday, and you sign up to “finish my run” this Saturday, as you run, please think about how you can help me finish my work of nurturing my family.
If I die on a Monday, I’d want someone to make sure my kids laughed this week. Make them smile, make sure they are silly, especially if my husband can’t smile. If people around town, or the state, or the country, or the world, are moved by my death, ask them to write to my kids and tell them jokes, send them funny pictures, give them funny ideas. Make them laugh. Be really, really silly. They can’t resist that. If the laughs turn to tears, hold them for a while; then bark or moo at them. Become a rooster or a chicken. Take pictures.
If I die on a Monday, will someone read to the kids? They’ll need a load of books from the library or a book store. Spare no expense for good books. Keep them reading. It will give them comfort and a break from the sadness. They can’t resist new markers and paper too. And art is good for the soul.
If I die on a Monday, will someone tell them that I am in their hearts and their minds, in the stars and the snowflakes, in their achievements and their failures, in each other, and in the kids they may have one day? Tell them I am in the music they play and the songs they sing. So keep playing and keep singing. Someone has to continue to remind them that I’ll never leave them. I’ll be in the moon and ocean and every time there’s a mess, I’ll be in their heads saying “put away your socks, put the toilet seat down, bunch of swines” When someone does something in the house that no one will own up to, they should say, “oh Mom did it, what a rascal.”
If I die on a Monday, will someone remind them to forgive the driver that hit me? Not right away, but over time, take them to people who have forgiven and found peace and happiness. Travel the Internet and the globe if you have to, but make sure they see examples of people who have forgiven others. I don’t want them to live a life weighed down by anger. If they resist, insist they use the anger for good. Any good they can think of.
If I die on a Monday, will you tidy my house a bit? By Saturday it can get nasty. My upstairs bathroom trash can needs emptying. Meant to do that before I left. Please hire my family a regular, trustworthy cleaner. I want them to live in a clean and healthy home. Pay the person well. I want everyone who steps through my door to feel appreciated.
If I die on a Monday, will you keep an eye on the bills? The bills are paid through early February, but remind my husband to keep on top of it because I always do all the bills. He may open mail, but there will just be piles of trash and probably some important bills. Please sort. For months to come, remind him.
If I die on a Monday, will you find a superb grief counselor to help everyone through this? They aren’t prepared. They might need to be gently urged to go. They might need a ride. Better yet, can you find a counselor to come to our house? He’ll need time, but encourage my husband to date and marry. He’s the best human being I have ever met. He’s a wonderful husband. I recommend him without any reservations.
If I die on a Monday, will you take down the Christmas tree on Saturday, if the kids agree? Sorry I left it up, they wouldn’t let me do it last weekend. Please take it down and put away the ornaments. Make sure it comes back out the day after Thanksgiving. Take pictures of the kids in front of it when it goes up! Send holiday cards too please. We love to recieve cards.
If I die on a Monday, will you remind the kids to brush their teeth? My death is no excuse for bad dental hygiene.
If I die on a Monday, will you encourage my daughter to play the piano and my son to play the drums? Homes should have music. Tell them I’ll be listening.
If I die on a Monday, will you do weird and funny things to keep the kids imagination alive? Set out cool stuff where they can see it, like a animal picture in the National Geographic, or a volcano photo from the newspaper. Scotch tape, magnifying glasses, yoyos, screwdrivers, boxes, recipes… Just set them on the kitchen table and the kids will do something. You won’t have to say anything, they’ll find it and be interested. Laugh at what they do and take pictures.
If I die on a Monday, my life insurance policy should at least take most financial worries away, but help my husband access the policies. Help him change all the accounts. He hates making phone calls and he’s not much of a fighter.
If I die on a Monday, will you listen to my kids talk about me? Will you look at our photo books with them? Let them sleep in my bed. Let them play in every drawer. Oh they would have such a good laugh in my underwear drawer. There are a few pairs I really should have gotten rid of before it came to this.
If I die on a Monday, will you make sure they still eat mostly nutritious food? They’ll fight you on this but they need to remember that my expectation is that they will be healthy active kids. I made them from scratch and I built them to be healthy. Tell them to make good decisions for their bodies. I don’t know if it will work, but I always say that. So don’t just make a dinner, stay and make sure they eat a bite or two.
If I die on a Monday, will you make sure the kids and my husband keep going to everything, even if they can’t stay long? Soccer games, swimming and gymnastics, birthday parties and piano recitals, and nights out with the guys. See movies, ice skate, ski, ride their bikes and run. Don’t forget to run. I’ll be out there. They could go to church. I’ll be there too.
If I die on a Monday, will you hire someone to be at the house during dinner and evenings so the cooking or heating food continues, lunches are made, the kids are reasonably clean, get their stories and get to bed on time. My husband can do all of this, but he’ll be broken and overwhelmed. He’ll need you to keep things going. He may need to exercise a lot. That’s how we deal with the good and bad. We get active and find motion.
For perhaps a year–maybe more–I’ll need people who will commit to keeping my family going hour by hour, day by day, week by week, until they are on their feet again. As you help me finish my run, will you please, please help me finish my work?