Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What is Your Legacy?

As I stare at the charred remains of the corpse of my Grandma’s house, my heart is weighted with its loss. Pink splinters from her kitchen trim are scattered around the outlying ground. A heap of brick rubble represents the fireplace. The root cellar is its unceremonious urn, imprisoning its ashes. I have to avert my eyes.
This destruction was necessary. After her death, her century-old house was unfit for renovation. Logically I understand. Still it hurts.
Fortunately I can combat my sorrow at this passing. Most of my arsenal comes from being one of the luckiest people on the planet. For I was bequeathed a supreme collection. Memories.
So in my mind, the house is as it was, and I see Grandma in the kitchen offering me a container of her homemade cookies acting like it is a favor to her for me to take them home to my family. My mind stretches further back. I am a child sitting around the red bow and bird trimmed Christmas tree. Grandma sits smiling with her work worn hands finally still in her lap and Grandpa puts on a Santa hat and grins mischievously as he decides who of my cousins gets the next gift. Recollections stream rapidly one after another.
You see, I have the greatest inheritance a granddaughter could have. My memories are rich and numerous. Not only was I loved, and felt adored, even more, I knew I was treasured.
My childhood timidity, my suffering adolescent self-esteem, my struggles as a young mother all had the comfort of first my grandparent’s, then my grandma’s love, to support me in a foundation that has sustained me through other grief and pain.
When I lost my grandma, I lost one of my best friends. Yet just like the loss of the house, I have a full-to-bursting collection from which to reminisce. I can always rebuild in my mind, so I will never lose that love that she gifted me. I only have to remember.
My farmer grandparents weren’t wealthy monetarily, yet they left me riches I will carry with me a lifetime. I am so privileged to have such a legacy supporting my life. And since I can’t pay it back, I strive to pay it forward in my imperfect, struggling, mistake-laden fashion. I will try to share the riches they gave so generously. Share my joy and courage to learn, strive, and work. Share the knowledge that our darkest hours can be lifted with thoughts of better times, and the possibility of bringing ‘better times’ to others through small things. Simple actions that can make our world a better place.
I will forever be grateful for such a legacy.

1 comment:

  1. To my amazing and talented daughter-in-law. That was absolutely a beautiful story about your Grandparents. In this I saw the memories of my Grandmother and sitting in her kitchen. These wonderful memories never go away but wish I could be back in that time to really savor those moments again. It brought tears to my since I still miss my Grandmother after all these years. She too lived next door to me when I was growing up. You brought my mind back to these amazing memories. Thank you.


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