I’m the stepdad to a girl who lost her father when she was 6 (so around the time she’s projected to lose you) and my fiancé and I agree we should have gotten her therapy. I’m not sure why we didn’t at the time, but the next 2 years were brutal to watch her go through. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We eventually did get her into therapy which did help. Kids can bottle that stuff up and it’s not healthy. Get her talking about it while your still alive, no matter how hard that might be for everyone.
And let your wife know it’s ok, and healthy, to cry in front of your daughter after your gone. It lets your daughter know it’s ok to cry and grieve too. She’ll be taking cues from her mom on how to handle this stuff. We didn’t cry in front of her cause we thought it would cause her pain, or bring up feelings, and we both feel like that was a horrible mistake in retrospect. Teach her it’s ok to feel what she’s feeling, and let it out. She’ll go through stages of grief, rage, sadness. She may have emotional outbursts that your wife will never see coming, in places you wouldn’t expect. To say it would be easy is a profound understatement.
There was a similar thread sometime ago, I don’t have the link unfortunately, that brought up the idea of leaving letters/recordings/videos for her after your gone. I was surprised, but the response were a mixed bag. Some people loved it, but some people felt like it was the ghost of their loved one hovering over them, and it made it harder for them to come to any closure and find peace. Some said it was like a scab getting constantly ripped off.
Now I’m not telling you NOT to do it, just some perspective. Before that I would have thought that it was a great idea! Why wouldn’t someone want that?! After reading the post it gave me pause. Seems like it’s a 50/50 chance it could be received well, or badly.
Here are some ideas if you want to go ahead with it.
1)Maybe talk to your wife and see what she says about it, and see if you guys have a feeling on how your daughter may handle it.
2) Go ahead and make the stuff and have your daughter and wife (or therapist if she’s seeing one) talk about how she felt about the experience. Let her know it’s ok if it was too painful and she’s not comfortable seeing the rest of what you left for her. Let her know if it EVER gets too painful, she can stop, and she shouldn’t feel bad about it.
3) If she does want to stop, make sure what you left behind is held on to, and have her mom let her know it’s there for her if she ever wants to see/hear/read it. When your daughter is grown up, your wife could give it to her to hold onto. She may want to revisit how she feels at different time in her life. How she takes it in her childhood may be vastly different than how she takes it in adulthood.
Sorry this is long, I just hope you can learn from our mistakes. On the plus side, she has a very healthy relationship with the loss of her father now. She remembers him fondly, and remembers more than O thought she would, which makes me happy. She asks questions from time to time, and yes, she misses him, but she’s more at peace with it now. The pain will never completely go away, but it’s also made her, partly, who she is today.
I’m so sorry you all have to go through this, and I really hope you read this, and it helps. Wishing you all the best possible outcome in this.