It’s the most heartbreaking scene in an already heartbreaking book. It’s the scene at the end of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The father is dying. He knows it. He is trying to say goodbye to his son, the one he has tried to keep alive, to raise to be decent, to survive. “You said you wouldn’t ever leave me,” the boy cries…
“I know. I’m sorry. You have my whole heart. You always did. You’re the best guy. You always were. If I’m not here you can still talk to me. You can talk to me and I’ll talk to you. You’ll see.
Will I hear you?
Yes. You will. You have to make it like talk that you imagine. And you’ll hear me. You have to practice. Just don’t give up. Okay?”
We’ve always worried about what kind of world we’re leaving to our kids, but it’s a thought all the more real in the middle of this terrible pandemic. Would they be OK without us? Are we going to make it through this? Can we hang on a little longer? Are there arrangements we need to make? A lawyer we should call?
As we’ve talked about before, most of that is not in your control. What matters is right now. What matters is that they have your whole heart. What matters is that you raise a kid who is “the best guy.” Who knows what the fire is and how to carry it—how to be good even when everyone else is breaking bad. It’s these lessons, it’s this love that allows you to stay with them even after you’re gone (as an ancestor, not as a ghost, we’ve said). This is what will keep them going, even when things are hard. Make sure they have this—your whole heart, your voice, your love.