“The List”

Month To Do ListI have a life-changing treasure tucked away in the “Draft” folder of my e-mail. The subject line reads:

The best Xmas gift I could ever give both of us

I wrote it and read it to Sue on December 2, 2010, hours before she died. In truth, I had started it a few days earlier as “the gift for someone who has everything.” But in those final moments with Sue, it became a torch to give us both comfort as we headed our separate ways into the abyss. I know it has been invaluable for me. I hope it brought Sue some peace, too.

Here’s what it said.

I promise:

  1. I will love and care for your son until the end of my days.
  2. I will work ceaselessly to be as good of a mother to Szaba as you have been to Ryan, Patti, and Barb.
  3. I will institute semi-annual “Sue Days” to enjoy what you’ve always enjoyed: theatre, dining, splurging, and heartfelt talks.
  4. I will take Szaba on a London theatre trip for her 18th birthday.
  5. I will learn to sail. An unchecked item on Sue’s bucket list.
  6. I will make time for more art in my life.
  7. I will carry on your legacy of bringing joy and thoughtfulness into the lives of our family and friends.
  8. I will write that children’s book you always wanted to write for Ryan.
  9. I will participate in a 3 Day.
  10. I will try to be the hostess I’ve always admired in you: entertaining, present, stylish, thumbing my nose at inconvenience.
  11. I will explore the Grecian seas by chartered yacht. Something we had promised to do together.
  12. I will teach Szaba all of the wonderful things you have taught me.
  13. I will make you an everyday part of our lives.
  14. I will love you for infinity.

If you made your own list—for yourself or for a loved one who’s ill or passed—what would you promise?

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