If I were to fake my death, I’d leave a trail of many letters. I’d hide little notes in various tight spaces in my mother’s house for her to find when she cleans certain compartments and cubbies throughout the year. Each little note would be a reason why I’ve always wanted to be just like her, even if I’ve told her otherwise, and mention all the courageous things she’s done that I admired because I want her to continue to be a strong woman. I’d make sure my body was found wearing the pendant necklace my grandmother secretly bought for me for my sixteenth birthday because I know it would sweetly, morbidly make my grandmother happy.
My phone would be cleared of all emails and messages except for one text about my sister that stated how raising a family is equal to a career and that even though I went to school and my life always appeared to be more favorable in every way, I considered her more successful. I would mention I wished we were somehow closer to my brother and that I looked up to him as it’s inevitable my sister would tell him I said so, and I know that’s all he’s ever needed to hear. I would end the text with how I always thought she was prettier than I and then save it as a draft which I was never brave enough to send to my best friend, since the idea that I talked about her would thrill her.
For my nieces and nephew, I would take all my favorite belongings and designate each to a separate cardboard box with one of their initials on it. I’d also have a box marked Garage Sale so it would appear that Spring cleaning was my last deed. To my oldest niece I would give all of my Alice in Wonderland stuff along with all the movies we watched together when she was a baby like Labyrinth and Nightmare Before Christmas. To her little sister, I would give all of my martial arts and sports equipment, even my skateboard. To my youngest I’d leave every book I’ve ever highlighted knowing she would eventually read all of them and understand the best parts. My 9-month old nephew would get my dozens of photo albums and thousands of pictures so someday he’d know how life was a bit less bright before him, and what I looked like.
I’d accidentally leave my hard drive with my extensive encyclopedia of unpublished poems at my best friend’s house with a MS Word document inside saying that if I ever become famous for her not to worry about being a sell-out and make as much profit from them as she can. I’d ask her to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and St. Jude’s Research Hospital and the few others that I believe in, if I ever turn out to be worth anything. I would FedEx the old Snoopy Christmas ornament to my dad with a note that asked if he remembered it, and he’d know that I had forgiven him.
Then, I’d write a prolific letter to the President and citizens of the United States exclaiming my disappointment with our humanity, and how we could all change. I’d ask why mathematics took precedence over literature in school when mathematics teaches skill but literature teaches wisdom. I’d explain how the English language isn’t deteriorating from text-speak or technology but from laziness and a lack of respect for the power that correctly combined words hold. I’d then explain that this lack of respect grew from an emphasis on science and molecules and a loss of imagination. I’d qualify the previous statement with the musing that Einstein, Newton, and Pavlov had to first imagine their hypotheses before ever using the scientific method. I would not give the definition of hypothesis and justify my reasoning with the thought that, with today’s technology, everyone reading my letter most likely had some form of a dictionary within their grasp, and those who didn’t know the word probably didn’t look it up. I’d then point out that’s the kind of laziness ruining language and if it weren’t flawed to begin with, why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? I’d ensure my death was brilliant, bold, and newsworthy so the letter would be featured on 60 Minutes and Good Morning America. A list of all my influential contemporaries and their inspiring blogs would be attached to the letter so that their websites would explode with hits, and their voices heard.
I would mail letters in proper envelopes to all the boys who ever thought they loved me. I would detail their best qualities and tell them life is too short to not follow their dreams. I’d encourage them to take risks and to get hurt because those things make the best stories. I would do my best to explain how mistakes are better than empty yesterdays and no matter who has criticized them in the past, they’ve grown. I would say however they have been crushed by a woman, the more it hurt necessitates the more passion of which they are capable and to use that passion. I’d tell them that even if she isn’t in their lives anymore, they can say that they were loved at least once in their lifetime for solely being themselves. I would sign it anonymously.
Lastly, I would stock my walk-in pantry with differing bottles of liquor and elixirs since I know all my other friends and family would partake. In the pantry is where my suicide note would be found and it would read: Ladies and Gentlemen, toast me. Dim the house lights but allow the show to go on. I have cried enough for all of you, and you’ve watched me do it. Celebrate. Smile. Ask yourself if you’re happy every day and when you aren’t, change something. I will not be absent if you don’t allow me to be. Toast me, for I got out alive.
After my renowned death, I would listen to my mother cry at the sight of my body. I would know this one, big heartbreak was better than a lifetime of my smaller ones and feel relief. She would also be relieved knowing that my heart wasn’t as cold as she had always thought it to be. I would listen as all the people closest to me spoke of my letters, my influences, my love and my potential. They would speak of all the great things I was going to do and how I was going to change the world with my beauty and sharp wit. I’d breathe easy knowing I could not grow old and ugly or dumb with our hereditary dementia, and that my lost potential allowed me to avoid ever becoming a failure in their eyes. I’d listen as all my mistakes, wrongdoings and heartaches became humorous stories and as all my accomplishments became profound achievements. I would listen as they planned to have bagpipes play Amazing Grace at my funeral and declare to collect money so they may spread my ashes across Ireland, and I’d be miffed as I wanted to see it with my soul, not just my body. I’d eventually decide that it’s the thought that counts.