What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?
Legacy… According to Webster’s,
Leg´a`cy Pronunciation: lĕg´å`sŷ n.
- A gift of property by will, esp. of money or personal property; a bequest. Also Fig.; as, a legacy of dishonor or disease.
- A business with which one is intrusted by another; a commission; - obsolete, except in the phrases last legacy, dying legacy, and the like.
Legacy, what will you leave behind? As you can read, the dictionary speaks of money, property, business etc. but I really will have not much of the sort to leave as my legacy. I am donating my body to science, maybe all the suffering I have been through can lessen the load on someone in the future. I have my home, my tools a small amount of life insurance, certainly no fortune to pass along to future generations or a sprawling estate to bequeath my loved ones.
Of course the truth of the matter is, very few of us do have such things to leave behind. So, what then? In my case I hope to leave a legacy of people knowing I truly cared about them, family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors. The list can be quite long. Think about all the people you interact with day after day. Doctors, nurses, retail clerks, neighbors, that guy at the gas station in the next car, that lady who parked next to you at the mall and is walking along with you to the store. Do you just ignore them? Pretend you did not see them? Or, just toss a cheerful HELLO, nice day, how are you, etc at them. Doesnt matter if they dont respond, you may have just made their day
I have spent three months of this year in the hospital or nursing home. Nearly died a few times, Woke up not knowing where I was with a ventilator down my throat twice. First thing that came to mind was to demand to know where I was, what was going on, etc. I rang for the nurse once, the other time they came in due to my vital stats tipping them off at the nursing station that I was among the conscious again. First thing I did was not to demand answers, instead I learned there names and thanked them for taking care of me. THEN I asked the pertinent questions. By the time I was discharged from the different hospitals and the nursing home, I knew all of the nurses and CNAs names, about their families, careers etc. Many would come in to check on me and just sit down for a minute break and chat. It truly made the long stays pass faster and made my outlook better knowing I was helping to make there day just a bit better.
(yes, that is a real picture of me)
The more I think about it, the sicker I have become, the more I need to feel good about others. If it makes sense, maybe making someone else smile, can make you feel better yourself? Maybe to hear someone say You just made my whole day, really helps to make MY whole day? Maybe it’s a sort of self healing. I have long heard that your mental state truly relates to your physical health, ie: if you are down, in a foul mood, and just plain think poorly about most things in your life, your body will follow suit. Now I am not saying that making someone else smile will cure what ails you, but it sure isn’t going to hurt either! And making someone else smile, will make you smile as well! Maybe you know someone who just needs someone to listen to them, someone to vent to, or just some companionship? That is something we do all the time on support groups!
I said I have spent many months in the hospital this year, that really made the word “Legacy” on Lene’s email jump out at me. We are all ill on this site, or caring for someone who is. But skating right up to the brink of death more than once in a short period of time really accentuates what a tenuous hold we really have on this life. I have seriously laid in bed and thought about what sort of things I would leave behind. Will my wife be okay? What about my mom and step dad? Then you start to think Legacy, what will people remember about you? I think that is the place we need to go to in order to live our lives a bit more fully, to treat others the way they should be treated, and to be remembered the way you want to be! I would prefer to be “Mr Brad” (as our neighbor kids call me) who makes toys for our local kids, and trys to do as much as possible for volunteer organizations, trys to smile and make peoples days a bit brighter. That is the legacy I want to leave behind.
Have you thought of what you want to leave behind? It is not a morbid thing to do, its something we all need to think of, and hopefully act on!