Dear Children,

These are my final requests.

Jeff, since the accident of your impending birth led to my marrying your father, I am putting you in charge of parceling out what is left of the estate. Try to be more fair to your siblings than your father was to me.

Susan, you have always been good at arranging things, like that abortion you never told me about, so you are in charge of my cremation. I have no intention of lying next to that man in a burial plot like I had to for thirty-eight years—or alone in an urn for that matter. Let my ashes find a bit of freedom in the wind. You should understand as you have chosen freedom over giving me grandchildren.

Jack—Jackson—you have always been my favorite, you know. But although I told you that you were named for a great uncle, that is not the case. In Morristown, you will find a Jackson Tulley listed in the phonebook. He has waited thirty-two years to meet you.

Regarding my funeral, go to no more trouble than you did when you sent me to hospice rather than taking me into one of your homes. No maudlin songs or scripture. Just say I was a woman to whom life dealt a pair of deuces in a high stakes game, and that I bluffed as best I could.

Advice? Don’t settle. It will devour you.

As ever,

Mother

– Sarah Russell
First published in The Incredible Shrinking Story
Republished in Flash Fiction Funny