I just returned home this afternoon from a funeral for a family member who died far too young at age 55. This man loved life and was a good father, husband and friend. He cheered on his hometown football team and loved to have his family around him. He left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter. I felt saddest for his daughter, who is only 13. She will miss out on sharing so many things with her dad. As I thought of them however, I was reminded of what a wonderful relationship they had built over the 13 years of her life. And that is a legacy that he leaves to her that will be a part of her forever.
That got me to thinking about what legacy I want to leave, to my family and to this world. I know that I want my husband to feel that we had a beautiful love that was perfect in its imperfections, full of highs and lows, hard work and blessings. I want him to know that through it all we grew stronger together and that I always had his back no matter what.
I want my children to know that their mom loved them to the very cells of her body. That I was forever committed to growing into the kind of mom that they deserved and that I wished to be. I want them to know that my relationships with them was one of the highest priorities in my life. And most of all I want them to know that their mom saw them for who it is they truly and uniquely are, and that I celebrated and cheered them on every step of their lives. That I was there to celebrate their victories and help them fix their mistakes. I want them to know that my love for them had no bounds and that I believed deeply in each of them and wished nothing but for them to be happy, healthy and to make this world just a little bit better by being in it.
For everyone else, I want them to know that I worked hard to be the best friend, neighbor, colleague and family member that I possibly could be. That I tried to leave every interaction just a little bit better for having been a part of it. I want parents all over the world to know that my mission in life has been to help them have the kind of relationship that I had with my parents and that I am now building with my children.
I want everyone to know that though I cared deeply about others and helped as many people as I possibly could, that the person I love most in the world is myself. And though there were days when I was too over-scheduled to take care of myself, my own well-being was the single highest priority in my life. And I believe that each person should be their own biggest priority.
What legacy would you like to leave?
When you figure this out for yourself, it will give you such clarity around the way you spend your time and what your values truly are. And once you know that, it becomes so much easier to make decisions that are in alignment with your values and the kind of legacy you want to leave.
So I ask you – what legacy do you want to leave?