My August 5th post, What a Difference a Letter Can Make, extolls the virtue of writing letters to your young children if you have a terminal illness. What I didn't say is that writing these letters does not mean you have given up hope of recovery.
From When a Parent has Cancer, pp.97-98:
You may feel unable to write letters because you find it too disturbing to have your feelings about dying brought so close to the surface. One way to overcome your anxiety and grief is by comparing writing letters to buying fire insurance: You are uncomfortable when you buy the policy...[but afterward] the uneasiness subsides, and now you can enjoy a sense of satisfaction because you are covered.
Then I share the story of a father with a poor prognosis after a major heart attack. He wrote a journal, expecting it to be the only way his young sons could know him. Over the 20-plus subsequent years, that journal became an unexpected "gift, a vibrant reminder of the intensity of his love for his children when he was threatened with his own death."
When faced with mortality, parents can create a living legacy of love to enrich their relationship with their child(ren), whatever the medical outcome.