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My Story

Leave traces.

There is a video of my late husband doing a work presentation; I get to see him make gestures that are so familiar and that are gone now. His kids will be able to hear his voice whenever they wish to.

Your kids, family, partner, spouse, friends will want pictures and video of you. Try to leave some things along the way so people can feel close to you, listen to your favorite music, smell you, wear your clothes, hear your voice, look at pictures of the both of you together. It makes a big difference. It’s tangible.

Friendships.

If it were not for my amazing friends and community of support I would not have made it through this—and I want to be very, very clear that I am the type of person who can make it through anything.

As you are writing your will and you ask yourself who will carry out your wishes, care for your children, advocate for you medically or pull the plug on you as you wish them to: If you are at a loss for whom to name, get out there and tighten up your friends and family relationships. Find some better friends. Be a better friend. This is everything. This means everything.

Finish the unfinished.

The pain of loss is so deep and physical, it can still take my breath away. It is unbearable to watch the kids suffer and struggle. I have had the scariest and most harrowing dreams. And yet—something I’ve noticed that appears even more painful than all of that loss, is regret and remorse. Time wasted, anger left to take root, opportunities squandered, lost time that is now really gone forever. Seeing the regret and remorse in others who had some unfinished words with José took me to my knees. We loved deeply and worked hard at a successful marriage and loving family. I have no regrets. That matters.

The Truth.

Do not one day find yourself having missed out on something because you were too busy being angry, too invested in being done wrong by someone, too shy to speak your mind, to say how you feel, to admit you were wrong. Don’t be afraid to live your life exactly as you would like to live it. Be brave. Be mindful. Clean up your messes. Be honest and vulnerable. It’s really not the worst thing that can happen.