Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How does one leave a legacy?

What’s in a legacy? And how does one go about leaving such a thing?

Last weekend, my cute mom mentioned that she doesn’t know if she’s created any kind of legacy for herself. Of course, this is nonsense because she’s amazing in every way, but it’s a valid question. She’s naturally dealing with issues related to her own mortality right now, and these are the kinds of questions that are going through her sweet head.

My mom’s question and other recent developments have got me thinking…what counts as a legacy? Have I left one? If I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow (knock on wood), would there be anything left that would count as my “legacy?” I dunno.

If the answer is “no,” then what would I need to do to change that answer? I don’t have lots of money to donate to a college. I don’t have the cure for leprosy. Is it things of this nature that count as a legacy, or is it simpler than that?

My mom says that we, her children, are her legacy. (I love you, Mom.) I don’t have children. I have dogs. Do they count? What about my work? Is it something I’ll be remembered for long after I’m gone? Or is it my Barbie collection that’s going to leave my imprint in the history books? Doubtful.

Shoot. I don’t mean to depress. These are just some of the questions on my mind as of late, and I thought that perhaps you could help shed some light on the subject. What’s in a legacy and how do I go about creating such a thing for myself? I want to make the most of my time on this earth, and there’s no time like the present to start living.


Unused Account said...

Hmmm...I wondered this myself while still single. And I came to the conclusion then, as I still do now, that a legacy is what I want to be remembered for. And that extends way beyond children.

If I died tomorrow I would want people to say that I had been nice to them, had helped them in some small way, had made their life better or made them laugh when they needed it.

I think our influence touches all who come in contact with us in one way or another. Last week, a checker at my local supermarket said I am the only person who talks to her while in line and that makes her feel valued. That's legacy enough for me.

And I know you touch other's lives in similar ways, both profound and simple, each day.

Unused Account said...

Longest blog comment Evah!

Holly Jones said...

I think any kind of tradition big or small could count as a legacy. Or perhaps special memories or moments you share with those you may leave behind.

Latisha said...

I think everyone leaves a legacy. Your legacy is what makes you,...YOU. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease, so I kind of went through what your Mom is going through and this is what I came up with.
When it is my time to go, I want things to be right with God, my husband, children and friends.
To try and be a good person everyday
Smiling through the pain
How you treat people is how your are judged
Being Grateful for everyday
One of my "legacy's" I'm leaving behind, are all scrapbooks I have made out of love for my children. Memories captured in pictures and written in my handwriting I think is one of the best things I can leave them.
I really could go on and on. I think your Mother just doesn't want to be forgotten. Everyone has that thought "Will anyone remember me?"
Part of your Mothers legacy is you, then you will pass that on to your children.
Have your Mom start a journal and have her write down all of her favorite memories of you (and if you have siblings) or her favorite recipes, thats the stuff that really matters.

I think I beat Emilie's post lol

Alice said...

think of all the people you've touched Megan...with your humor, kindness, creativity...probably you will never even know all the various ways you have left your mark on people.

For myself, I know that never again can I turn on the TV in a hotel room without thinking of you :)


Wendy Lojik said...

I think the connections we make in our lives make all the difference. Mother-child friend-friend sister-sister. That's why it's so important to be nice to everyone we meet. You are such a great example of simple kindness. That is one piece of your legacy you have left in my life and I haven't even known you very long. You must have a wonderful mother!

The Sonboul's said...

I got to tell ya, I love this post!
A legacy can be children, but it can also be a quite act of kindness!

I knew a man growing up named Jerry. He was a good friend of my dad’s. HE was a single man with no children. Oh and he made homemade ice for everyone in my family, on our birthdays. He always made me Mint and Chip. Yum!

Ever since I’ve known him, I never heard him say a single unkind word. He was the most kind/gentle man and served more than anyone I knew.

He past away about 2 years ago and at his funeral they allowed family and friends, to get up and say a few words. My heart was filled with the spirit, as I heard all the things Jerry did for each of them. Over 3 people got up.

So, long story short… we don't have to have children to leave a legacy!
Because of Jerry, HE left a legacy of kindness! Because of him, I long to serve at any place or time and respond as he would “It’s not biggie”

A Legacy is something good left behind. It can be as small as a sweet smile :)

PS see ya at CHA

ronee said...

i will remember you..and how you touched my life! Plus how could we ever forget buying bling and eating shrimp and grits with the waitress dropping napkins into your drinks! I mean seriously!
i love you

Unknown said...

"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."

I love that quote! It helps me focus on the legacy I hope I am leaving with those who know me.

I think it is the little things that will be remembered.

I can't eat pink mints or smell "Tabu" without thinking of my sweet grandma.

Each time I talked to her, she would sandwich my hand in between hers, and look right into my eyes...and just listen to me talk--like I was the only person in the world. I miss her.

She did a lot of really great things in her life. Bigger things then smelling like Tabu, or giving out mints, but those are the things I remember...little things.

And the way she made me feel when I was around her.

Susan Neal said...

I'm a little late to your post and many of the comments reflect my own thinking, so I'll keep it short.

A legacy is literally and figuratively something you leave with someone.

You've ALWAYS left me with a smile and a warm, fuzzy feeling :) Thanks Megan!