I lost my mother when I was just eighteen years old. It wasn’t the kind of thing where we knew the end was near—there were no painful life support decisions to make. I just woke up one day and twelve hours later, my world was different.
Death became real to me in a way that I’ve never quite gotten over. I’ve never forgotten that one day, you can wake up and never find your way back to bed. Since then, everyone I’ve loved has had a clock over their heads, and I live in fear of seeing their time run out.
Now that you’re here, I face the very real truth that in the best possible scenario, I will leave you one day. I hope that it is far, far from now, after we’ve planned your wedding and I’ve met my grandchildren and rocked my great-grandchildren to sleep. Long after your father and I have seen our fiftieth anniversary and our ninetieth birthdays. But I can’t control this.
So whenever that day comes, know this.
The greatest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life is become your mother. You light up my entire world. Because of you, I have a deeper love for everyone I’ve ever loved. My marriage is brighter. My parents are more incredible. I’m more thankful for my sister. I love your sisters even more than I did before. And I love this crazy, screwed up planet and my little life so hard that I never want to leave it—or you—behind.
Days are long and life is short. At any given moment you are either just starting to live or moments from death. Live your life in a way that makes you proud, in such a way that if today were the prologue or the epilogue, you’d still smile when you turned the page.
I’m deeply afraid of the day that we won’t be in this world together, but if there is an afterlife, I’ll be watching and waiting until we can be together again. In the meantime, all I can do is make sure you, your sisters and your father never doubt for a second how deeply loved you are. I hope to leave you a lifetime of amazing memories, true love, and millions of dollars to pursue your heart’s desire.
You have been perfect and loved for every second of your life.
With all my love and best wishes for your grand adventure,
Your mother, Allaya