What legacy are you creating for them?
Have you realised the part you play in creating the legacy of those you love who have died?
I don’t mean how many signs you have had put on park benches, whether you have started a foundation or charity in their name, or the beautiful gravestone you have erected. These are all wonderful things to do….but what I am talking about is the impact of their death on the world?
Their legacy is not just about how they are remembered and what they achieved in their life. The impact of their death on the world and the impact on those they love is also part of their legacy. A very important part.
So what legacy has your loved one left behind? People who see great beauty and meaning in their life and death? People who see that not only in their life but in their death too did they contribute hugely to those they loved? People who can think of their life, any part of their life – including their death – and smile at the memory of them?
Or have they left behind the legacy of loved ones destroyed? Of people who feel so much pain when they think of them that it becomes hard to think of them and they do it less and less over time? Is their death, their loss, the future they ‘should’ have had, remembered instead of the real them and the life they really lived?
Is this really a fitting legacy?
Which do you think they would prefer? Which would you prefer?
I was never comfortable with the idea that a family in pain was not only a socially normal part of my father’s death, but also a very expected part. Indeed spouses who remarry in particular can be shunned by other family members if they feel like they haven’t stayed in pain long enough. As if the respectful way to remember them is in much pain as possible for as long as possible.
That is not a legacy I ever want to leave – no matter what the circumstances of my death.
This is especially true in the deaths that are usually considered the most challenging – the death of babies and children. Most babies, particularly those who do not live to see the the big wide world, are remembered only for dying, for the pain they leave behind, and for the life they ‘should’ have lived – and the thing to realise is that any time you are thinking about the years someone ‘should’ have had or the things they ‘should’ have done you are focusing on a fantasy which is nothing but a figment of your own imagination, rather than honouring their life exactly as it was. You are focusing on your fantasy of their future rather than the actual them.
So what kind of legacy are you creating for the person you have loved who has died…..and is it really the best kind of legacy?
The power to change this…to change it completely…lies with you.
I love hearing from you so feel free to share your thoughts below!