Today my father would have turned 91. He died when he was 86, but that’s no reason not to celebrate his birthday. I guess the best way to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on is to remember the legacy that person left behind.
As I think about my father’s legacy, I can count 8 children, 19 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren with a 3rd on the way and inevitably many more to come in the future.
He didn’t leave much in the way of worldly possessions or make much of a mark in the way of fame, but he instilled good values in each one of us and carved a big place in our hearts and the hearts of most everyone who knew him.
I think about ways that I am like him, besides appearance. I love to dance, have an innovative approach to marketing, and value spirituality. I talk easily to people, have a flair for acting, pay too much attention to rules, and treasure family.
I think about specific lessons I learned from him. He taught me to march to my own drummer when I wanted to follow the crowd at any price. My first job in high school was working in the Men’s department at Filene’s Department Store in Boston. My Dad was my boss. I remember how he taught me to go up to the customers at the counter and engage them in conversation. I also remember, not because he told me but because I watched him, how I learned the importance of being kind and respectful and friendly to everyone because everyone was valuable. I watched him bring flowers to the older woman who sold ties and laugh with the elevator operator. My father taught me to care about people.
All said, I think my Dad left a pretty good legacy. It makes me wonder about my own. As I think about who I am, what I value and contribute, and how I emulate the best things he taught me, I feel good about my time on this earth.
How about you? As you think about your own parents and grandparents, what legacy have they shared with you? And what are you leaving to the generations that will follow you?
Wow…there’s some food for thought. Reflecting back, I realize that I have learned just what I was supposed to learn from my parents and grandparents….whether I thought is was healthy or not. I know today that each of them did the best they could do with what they were given. A forgiving heart would be a legecy that I would pass. I also learned from my mother and grandmother, to trust in a Higher Power. I also learned that from my first husband, although, rensentment colored that for a while. Today, I only hope that when I’m no longer here those who remember me know how deeply I loved, how playful I am, and how I trust that we have always been loved by a creative force more that we seem to remember.
My mother who taught me so much. Although she died over 40 years ago, I can still hear her telling me the right thing to do. She loved her family so much and always wanted family around. She taught me compassion. She took care of her mother who had had a series of strokes and was in a wheelchair. My father had MS and was in the hospital for 13 years. She never once complained and managed to raise two children. I still remember when I was in high school and we were visiting my dad at the hospital,I wanted to leave so I told them to just kiss and say I love you. My dad alway procrastinated because he didn’t want her to leave. They both looked at me like they didn’t realize that I saw the love they had for each other. My mother told me later that I reminded her just how much she did love my dad. She taught me to respect life and all it has to offer. She taught me how to be a good mother and I think that I am now being the kind of grandmother she would have been. I wish my children would have had the chance to be loved by her. She however is her guide me and I know she is looking out for my two girls. I miss just being able to talk to her and have her give me her advice. The one thing I really miss is her touch. What a great woman she was and will be remember by her family as the glue that held it together. I love you Mom.