Today, I received an email from my parents with the subject, "Just in case the plane goes down."
They are on their first vacation together in their 26 years of married life. I won’t deny it, my three sisters and I were shocked. Whilst preparing for their travels, my parents had spoken to their lawyer and made sure each of us would be well taken care of if they died.
It wasn’t so much this, but the gravity of my mother's words which unsettled me:
"We would expect you to stand together – united, and support and love each other unconditionally. We will be watching for eternity."
It got me thinking: Do they know how much I love and appreciate them? I don’t know.
There's a lesson to be learned here: Don’t forget to appreciate your parents. They have moved mountains for you.
Here's what I would say to my parents, if it were the last time I ever spoke to them:
Dear Mum and Dad,
Just in case the plane falls out of the sky and something happens to me, there are a few things you need to know.
I don’t want a funeral. I hate them, and as I have no will and no life insurance, I think it would be unfair to ask for one. Instead, spend the money on something else; spend all of my money on something else. Go on a holiday – don’t fly, but do something magnificent.
I have several different superannuation funds. I don’t know how to track all of them down -- hell, I didn’t even know you were meant to have just one until six months ago. I am sorry if this causes inconvenience.
I don’t have any outstanding monetary debts that I am aware of, but I do owe some people coffee dates, catch ups or birthday presents. Please endeavour to cover all of these – I would hate to leave them with empty promises.
I also want you to know that I am sorry. I am sorry that when I was 8 years old, I ate all the Mars Bars from the charity chocolate drive and pretended it wasn’t me. I am sorry for ignoring your phone calls when I was angry… I am sorry for being angry.
Dad, I am sorry for cutting my hair off and dying it funny colors. I’m sorry for getting tattoos without telling you, even though I know how much you hate them. I am sorry for picking on you when you fall asleep on the couch – I do recognize and appreciate how hard you work.
Mum, I am sorry for being the most dramatic daughter in the world. I am sorry that I pick on you when you don’t spell words correctly, or when you forget about something I’ve said or done. I know that you care, and I know that your job can be the hardest one of all.
Most importantly, I need you to know how much I love you and how grateful I am to be blessed with parents like you. You have always been my number one fans, and I would hope you know that I am yours.
It is rare that parents will make it to every athletic event, dance concert and rowing regatta their child has. But you managed to do it, and you managed to do it with all four of your daughters. You managed to do it when we were two hours away at boarding school, and you managed to do it when you both had full-time jobs and a business to manage.
You sacrificed so much to give us everything. We got to travel while you worked, we got new clothes while you wore your old ones, and we had a social life when you had none.
You made us your life, and I could not be a prouder daughter. So, when times get tough, remember that I will always be here with you, riding your back, as I so often did as a child.
I cannot fix what has happened and I cannot change the strange ways in which the world works, but I can leave you with these words:
You once told me that the world was my oyster – no matter my age, sexuality, gender or race. You told me that I could be a catalyst for change and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Follow your dreams. The world is still your oyster –that does not change whether I am physically in it or not.
Don’t forget about your three other beautiful daughters, the ones who remind me so much of you. They need you now more than ever. Don’t forget about my friends; believe all of their wild stories, believe none of them.
Remember, family is everything. I would expect you to stand together – united, and support and love each other unconditionally. I will be watching for eternity.
Photo via We Heart It