La Famiglia Itri

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm Going to Die

This semester I took a palliative care class. It was all about nursing for dying people. This was our final:

After Reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, develop your own last lecture.  Use one to three pictures to describe the one lesson you would like to leave with your loved ones if you were to die.  Be prepared to describe for whom your last lecture will be as well as what you want them to learn from you.  Don’t forget to recognize any “head fakes” in your presentation.  Your presentation will be stopped at exactly 7 minutes; therefore any amount of time less than that is advised and/or acceptable.  Put some thought into this presentation for your grade will depend on ingenuity, depth and precision and the number of people in the class who learned from your “last lecture”.

I decided to write my last lecture to Lila. I told the class how old she is, and that I wrote the things that I would want her to know since she would have to grow up without knowing her mom. I don't know why I want to share this. I put a lot of work into it, and cried several times-including in front of the class when I presented it. No mom ever wants to think about leaving her kids all alone. There were some things I probably would have added if it were real, and some things I just would never have said in front of my class because they would be too personal. And I had to delete a bunch because it was just to dang long. So here is the brief, public version of my last lecture.

 Dear Lila: There are four things I feel are important for me to tell you.
·      First, since you will not remember anything about me, here are some things about me. Hopefully they are things that no one else will think to tell you.
o   I’ve only won one thing in my life. I won a picture contest at work with this picture. I worked hard and took a ton of pictures to win it.
o   I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was almost 16 years old
o   I don’t like condiments. I don’t put ketchup on anything
o   I am afraid to hit anyone because I think they will laugh at me
o   The only time I ever liked eating fish was when I helped catch it on Lake Powell in 6th grade
o   I love to play Nintendo. Not video games, specifically Nintendo.
o   I loved high school chemistry and college stats
o   I love to wear new clothes
o   I panic if I realize I don’t have Chapstick with me
o   I get a thrill from rollercoasters
o   I think long words are cool and I like to try to say them
o   I still hate getting shots
o   I love swinging on the playground
o   Being outside makes me happy
o   I love music and dance
o   I love wearing my red heels

·     ·      The second thing you should know is how to get along with the people in your life. I’ll tell you about the most important ones:

o   Your dad. He is a wonderful man. He and I are almost polar opposites. As you can see from this picture, he is much more serious than I am. Because you will find out for yourself, I won’t tell you how great he is. Instead, I will tell you how to cope with some of his more frustrating attributes.
§  Everyone gets mad. He happens to have a loud temper. He yells and he hits things but he would never hit anyone- just their stuff. Even after screaming about how mad someone made him, he can turn around and be nice to them. Just ignore or leave during his anger fits and all will be well.
§  He is very passionate and opinionated. Know that it is ok to disagree with him. He will make you feel like if you don’t think the way he does that you are crazy or wrong or in some cases a terrible person. In some things you should agree with him and in some things you will not. Listen to what he says and think about it. Make your own decision about whether or not his opinion is right for you.
§  He is very protective. When I was pregnant with you he would get upset if I jumped up and down in excitement because he didn’t want your brain to get scrambled. With me gone he will be even more protective of you. It will be hard and frustrating. Be fair with him even though he won’t always be fair with you. Know that one day you will move out and can do some of the exciting things he didn’t let you.
o   Your Grandma Faber is amazing. You love her so much. Since your dad will probably move you to Philadelphia, I encourage you to keep a strong relationship with her. Sometimes she seems harsh, but she always has pure motives and will support the ones she loves. That means fair discipline if you are in the wrong, but fierce support when you are the one who has been wronged. Be honest with her always and follow her advice.
o   Grandma Itri is also wonderful. She is a lot more relaxed than your Grandma Faber. You should try to emulate that. Raising 6 boys including your down syndrome Unlce Brian and your crazy Papa Nick has helped her see what is important in life. Don’t be too sad if she isn’t able to shower you with gifts and time like your Grandma Faber will. She loves you just as much and is a good example for you.
You have a lot of aunts and uncles. You are lucky because they are all wonderful and amazing people. And they all love you. They will support you. Find the aunts you relate to the most, and let them guide you through your life. Take their advice. Let them know about your life and allow them to be a part of it.

     ·      The third thing is my advice for you in life

o   If you learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will be happy.
o   Be a good person. Be kind, honest, and non-judgmental.
o   Be calm. In thought, in actions, and in the way you speak.
o   Find out who you are. Don’t let outside influences tell you who you are or who you should be. This was so hard for me to learn. I was depressed a lot growing up because I wasn’t allowing myself to be who I knew I was, I just tried to conform to what I thought was cool.
o   As an example, here is a picture I am very proud of. In high school I was a nerd. I tried way too hard to be popular and it only made me sad. My senior year of high school I finally started to realize that I needed to be who I really was, and not who I thought a cool person should be. Because I became more confident, a really cute, popular boy knocked on my door and asked me to senior ball. Before our pictures I had an idea for our pose. I was afraid to say it because I didn’t want to look lame in front of such a cool guy. I almost chickened out. But in the end I made the suggestion, and he went with it. And look how great the picture turned out. To me this picture represents long-term acceptance of myself and a moment when I was honest, brave, and true to that person. And by the way, I never was very popular.
o   Lastly, as you find yourself, know that you will be most happy with who you become if you are temple worthy. Being yourself doesn’t mean giving in to every worldly desire you have.

·      The last thing I want you to know is how I will remember you.
o   First, you love the temple. Every time we drive by a church you point and shout “temple!” One of your favorite lullabies is the “temple song”. I won’t forget that about you, so please don’t forget it about yourself.
o   Another thing is how cute you are when you jump. You learned to jump quite a while ago, but you still sometimes struggle to get both feet off the ground. It is so cute. You jump when you’re happy or mad. You think it is so fun to run and jump into my arms. You have no fear that I will drop you. I hope you remember me whenever you get a chance to jump.
o   One of my favorite phrases of yours is “Mama, I do it!” When you are excited about one of your accomplishments, you will say this over and over until I acknowledge you. Or you say it when you don’t want my help. I hope you know throughout your life, whenever you say “Mama, I do it!” I will smile and be proud of you.
o   You can count to 11
o   You love dogs
o   You would rather be at Grandma Faber’s house than at home
o   You love to wear new clothes
o   You throw a tantrum when you see Chapstick until it’s in your hands
o   You get a thrill when we throw you in the air
o   You like to repeat long words over and over
o   You still hate getting shots, despite my best efforts
o   You love swinging on the playground
o   Being outside makes you happy
o   You love music and dance
o   You love wearing my red heels
·      More than anything else, know that I love you. I am not afraid of death, but it breaks my heart to leave you. I planned to be a mother my whole life. I have always lived by the advice to cherish every moment with you because you will grow up so fast. Still, more than 2 years after your birth, people give me compliments about how I light up when they ask about you. Everyone knows how in love with you I am. You are always in my heart. And don’t worry, you will see me again. Every night when you go to bed, I hope you will remember what I tell you every time I tuck you in: “I love you. You are so beautiful. Night night.”