Image via WikipediaDrove Big Pat over to the hospital this morning so he could get one of his carotids rooted out.
He left his truck, his dog, his billfold, his keys, his medical power-of-attorney and an envelope of farewell letters in case things went wrong.
(They didn't. We dropped by intensive care around six, and he was looking positively beatific. There was some mention of morphine.)
About those worst-case missives he was most emphatic: Don't open that envelope. I have taken the preparation of these seriously, so take this prohibition seriously.
I'll be giving them back to him tomorrow or the day after. E. keeps a journal in which she writes most nights. I've never been tempted to sneak a look. If she were to die before me, I'm not sure I'd want to read it then. Any criticisms would wound, no matter what the overall ratio of pains to joys. The absence of criticism would make me wonder where the real journals were haha.
I do not disparage the idea of final letters, since many relationships are on hold because of distance or some slight misunderstanding never resolved because lives don't always run on parallel tracks. In most case, a summing up might be healing. But in the case of someone with whom you live day to day -- I mean E., of course -- I rather think you should assume your letter will go astray before being read, and there'll be no time for last words either, so that you better create memories more vivid than final sentiments.
A kiss. A joke. An apology. Life will make these sincere even if in the moment you think not, even if you are only putting them down on account, like a kind of emotional layaway.