Lessons We Leave Behind

I’ve been doing research for my latest writing project and stunned by the fabulous people who I had  no idea  existed. I mean there are a LOT of people that did amazing stuff…and there are no holidays, plaques, nada to mark it.

Occasionally, they get a mention in a book or maybe just a photo credit. Or, perhaps, they were lauded, but years passed and the memorial faded to oblivion.

Occasionally, I read obituaries and it is stunning how fabulous some of these strangers were– not historically significant, but in the way they impacted their piece of the world.

And that is all we really can do. Make an impact.

Did you hear about this obit?  It’s written by children of a mother who impacted her piece of the world with pain and terror.

We all leave a legacy. Our lives can be a lesson of how to do it.

Or how not to do it.

I have a ways to go yet (hopefully), but I think the lessons I leave behind will be a mixed bag. I hope my kids don’t yell the way I can. I hope my kids stand up for what’s right like I did. And I hope they stand up for right even though there were times I didn’t. I hope relationships are easier.  I hope they appreciate nature and words like I do. I hope they look forward instead of behind like I do–well, most of the time.

One difficult thing about having my kids so far apart is there are relatives Little Sir will never know that Gorgeous Gal did. Great Grandma Swanson with her sweet tones and fashion sense. Aunt Earline with her raucous laugh and determination. Grandpa Smith and his boisterous enthusiasm for life.

But I showed Little Sir how to gather seeds from poppies. Like Grandma showed me. And I am teaching him compassion, the way Aunt Earline did me. Little Sir is named for my Grandpa and, so far, has needed no coaching in boisterous enthusiasm for life.

But a time will come. Like it does for us all. A time when we need to know there is a new day and new joy to seek. No matter how dark and joyless this particular day looks. And that is my Grandpa’s legacy.

And the best way to teach it? By example.