Leaving a Legacy
I wrote a story several years ago about the legacy I received from my grandmothers. As I thought about these two women who had a great influence in my life, I knew that my legacy from them was so much more than each of their old wooden rocking chairs. Writing this family story gave me time to consider all the things these two women left behind after a visit with them and long after they passed away. Determination, never giving up even in the face of tough times, their quiet faith and their love of family topped the list.
This week I contemplated what impression I want people to have of me. What do I want people to remember me for when I have occasion I interact with them? I know that to leave a lasting legacy after I am gone, I need to be known for those attributes while I am still alive. I want to be like my grandmothers and leave the same type of legacy I received from them.
My maternal grandmother had a debilitating stroke at thirty-six years old and yet she showed courage, determination and strength as she worked hard to relearn how to do all the skills she needed to do in order to look after her young family By the time I knew her she could walk, talk, cook, bake and garden. I spent countless hours hanging out with her. I always knew she loved me and every other member of her family.
The older I get the more I realize how much work she put into doing the things I so often take for granted in my everyday life. Her faith permeated her being and she lived what she said she believed.
My paternal grandmother lost her mom at a young age and learned many skills by having to do them for her dad. Grannie was widowed before she reached the age I am now, after years of her husband’s failing health. I hung out with her even more than I did my other grandmother. She never made me feel like my visits were a nuisance. She loved her family and longed to have them close by. She worked hard, determined to manage her life even when things got very tough.
I had the opportunity to see kindness, love, determination, strength and faith in action when I spent time with two wonderful women I called grandmother. Now I want to demonstrate that to my family and friends. I want to be approachable. I believe my smile and willingness to listen help people feel comfortable being with me.
The legacy I want people to receive after spending time with me, in person or through my writing and speaking includes strength in the midst of tough times, determination to keep learning, growing and moving forward, love of family and friends, compassion and a willingness to help others, all of which is fueled by my faith.
What impression am I leaving behind? I can only hope that each smile I offer, each kindness shown and every story told will let people know I am who I say I am – authentic, caring, determined, and full of faith just like my grandmothers before me.