Wednesday, October 01, 2008

legacy

If I think of Jeff and the things that made him ‘him’. It is not the 600 dvd’s he collected. It is not the insatiable habit he had for eating Solomon gundy. I don’t find him in the large box of old baseball hats he insisted that he keep…or even his lobster claw lamp. Although these things hint at his personality when placed together like a patchwork quilt of sorts, they don’t completely illustrate him. In two generations, they will cease to mean anything. They will be the strange and odd artifacts found in grandma’s basement. Maybe no one will remember who they belonged to and why they were important. Maybe grandma will have lost her mind and with it, her memories, or maybe she’ll be dead too. But the tin foil ball rolled into the plastic Stanley Cup won’t have any significance to anyone but grandma and the man who was competing for rights to the ‘Tin Foil Ball Championship’ with.
The things that last are, of course, our kids. Their presence means we were here and existed for a time together. Our kids and our actions.
The good things we did. And the really terrible things we did. No one wants to remember the not-so-savoury things people have done after they have died. The things that stick out are the love you had for your family, the good things you did for your friends, the laughter you bestowed on everyone who came into your presence, the gentle and kind way you had with others….If you were truly a terrible human being, I am sure people would remember these actions, but often, your foibles and minor indiscretions are forgiven or unspoken. Sometimes, these ‘negative’ moments in your life are turned into humorous tales and seem to lose the ‘bad’ connotations they once held. But most often, the ones left behind regale tales of what a fabulous person you were to have around while playing ’Swear-word Scrabble’. Or how you could always reach the tallest limbs of the trees when picking plums. Or your love of singing.
I suppose a few of us could be remembered for inventing the potato peeler or for being a Politian who passed a no-chicken-in the city law or other various and equally important notoriety. But wouldn’t you rather be remembered by those who loved you or who are related to you than by some bored, pimply-faced grade nine who gladly forgets you the moment the quiz is finished?
So stop saving rubber bands for your grandchildren‘s grandchildren. Don’t buy another statuette shaped like a teapot with various flags engraved on the side to serve as a reminder of who you were. You don’t really need another pair of shoes, you only have two feet and no one will know how cool they were in one hundred years. Send the books that you may read one day to someone who will today. Don’t worry that your makeup is smudged or that your pants are tapered (although you may bear a resemblance to some 80s rockstar).
Smile at your kids and shove a couple of grapes in your nostrils to their delight. Let go of being mad at the ’moron in the maroon car who took the last parking spot when they HAD to have seen you were heading in that direction’. Send your friend a ridiculous and silly card anonymously telling them that you think they have the most fabulous ankles you have ever seen. Come in from the garage where you smoke your cigarettes (thus shortening your life, you know) and tell your wife/husband/kids/parents that they are fun to be around. Donate some food to the food bank. Open a door for a stranger. Smile at someone who looks angry or worried.
Let your legacy not be the stupid forgettable dandruff of life but that you LIVED. That your were here and that people remember YOU in all your wonderfulness. Not your stuff. Because stuff is forgettable.

P.S. This is a reminder to myself as much as anyone else. I must remember that time spent with someone we care for is so precious and that 'things' do not mend a broken heart.

26 comments:

amanda said...

Thank you for this. I've had similar thoughts like this swirling around in my head, but you say them much, much better. Thank you.

Poppy and Mei said...

Oh my you make me cry...in a "fabulous healthy gotta get it out kinda way! XXxx

Ashley said...

Well said, very well said. And an excellent reminder.

darcie said...

This couldn't be more true! I am currently working on getting rid of some of the "stuff" in my life because I think it will make me a better mom, a better wife, a better person.
You truly know what is important in ones life Jackie - you are a fantastic woman!
xoxo - creepy darcie

Marissa said...

I logged on to quickly check my email before heading out shopping this morning with my 2 year old daughter. While I still have to do the shopping, thank you for the reminder that the time I take to look for and try on yet another shirt I don't need is time I will not use playing with my daughter, making silly faces & creating memories with her. I won't buy that shirt today but I will do something memorable with her instead. Thank you for the reminder that the shirt means nothing but time lost is everything. The vanity of today means absolutely nothing tomorrow. I needed that reminder - thank you.

I adore you Jackie.

Tricia Moran said...

Thank you for that reminder. I am thinking of you and praying for your broken heart every day.
With love and hope,
Tricia (N.Virginia)

Kate said...

I was thinking this very thing as I was digging through my 7 month old's toy bin. He would be just as happy with a plastic cup and time with me.

Very well said.

Katie J said...

What a great post Jackie.
Thank you. Thank you for reminding me every day what's truly important in life.
You are amazing.
::hugs::

leigh in the sav said...

most beautiful post.

thank you for that. thank you.

Eilie said...

Thank you, Jackie.

Everyone needs to hear (read) this once and a while. It centers us. Pulls us back from the chaos and material world .. back to what is in our hearts. Beautifully said.

Namaste.

Jess in the MN said...

My favorite post ever, I have a very sad situation going on in my family right now, and I wish there were more people who realized that family is everything. Little things need to be let go because in the whole big picture, the little trivial shit really doesn't matter. My mother-in-law has not talked to me, my husband (her only son), or her only grandchild in 6 months because, in a nutshell, we don't measure up to her standards. We are later to call than we said we would, or her son can't drop everything this instant to help her bag leaves, etc... She just completely abandoned all of us with no warning. My son misses his grandma, and it fucking sucks that we go by her house and he asks to go there, and we hove to tell him no. He is only 3 and doesn't understand. I just want to bust in her house and hold him up and say "isn't he worth it?" It is so very sad to me that she is one of the people who doesn't "get" what you have just perfectly put into words. Thank you for sharing this. Sorry to unload on this comment. I know you are experiencing something far more traumatic than this, but this post really hit home. You would give anything for one more day, minute, or second with Jeff. My mother-in-law doesn't get the fact that at any moment one of could be gone. She is missing out on so many memories, and it really saddens me. Thanks again for this incredibly well said post.

Jess in the MN said...

Okay, so I didn't proofread, and misspelled some words. But, dammit, I was typing furiously.... Forgive me. And by the way, I agree with everyone; you are doing a great job. You are amazing.

Hansons said...

Thank you, that was beautifully said!

indybarb said...

I shared your blog today with three of my closest friends. It touched me so much to hear your words because a lot of what you said is so true and it's stuff that's kind of been on my mind lately. Thank you for reminding us that the moments that we spend with those we love are what life is really all about. Jackie, you've done it again, written something worth saying and sharing it with a bunch of strangers/friends so we can reflect on our lives and realize what's worth keeping and what's worth tossing and more importantly if we have lived our lives this day in a way that we can be proud of and made a difference in someone else's life. Big hugs again from Indianapolis and hoping for brighter days for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Once again, so eloquent in your ability to communicate the truth!

I know I've shared this here before, but I am battling cancer and your words are what everyone should live by. Sadly, I spent way too much time in my pre-cancer life worrying about the 'dandruff', but it's never too late. I now live every, single day to the fullest and participate, joyfully in my wonderful life.

Thank you, Jackie for all that you give to us.

Laurie

XXOO

Chris said...

Jackie - you are so profound. Thank you for this. I take too much for granted and needed this reminder of what is important.

(((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

I only stumbled upon your blog today, but I feel I was meant to as I am having a particularily hard time at the moment. Everything you said struck a chord and I will wake up tomorrow morning and enjoy preparing my four girls for their day! You are an amazing woman.

dara said...

You are the most amazing woman.
Right now I'm sorting throught the stuff that belonged to my mother who recently passed away. There are so many things that I wonder who did they belong to and why did she save them. Your posting really hit me today. Thank you!

~cmd~ said...

U hit the nail on the head! Awesome Post if I do say so myself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jackie, I just went through Evan's things this week and that brought a lot of memories, silly ones in how much he loved some of his things. I went through and kept quite a few of his favorite t-shirts and sweaters, which many were awards from tournaments.. anyway I am going to make a blanket (someday) with these. Have you ever seen the movie "Step Mom" with Julia Roberts? The mom makes a blanket for her children and it is beautiful, that is my big bright idea for some of his things. His brother went through and kept things he liked, and I am going to put a couple pairs of his funky classic shoes for Evan.. for many years from now. I thought of it when he was walking around in daddy's shoes today.

Just wanted to share what my plan is ... for someday, hopefully soon.

Melody

Anonymous said...

Evan Touchie Legacy Tournament Nov 7th here in Ukee, going to be all about health. There will be about 5-7 different health booths, a first of it's kind.

Would be cool to see you!

Anonymous said...

Jackie

I have been a lurker on your blog for months and have been watching you pull yourself through the dark that is the loss of your husband. Your kids will remember what a wonderful mother you are and this post just shows us what is truly important.
So the next time I roll my eyes at my husband or tut because my kids want to play when I just need '5 more minutes', I'll think of this post, smile and REALLY enjoy my life and my family.
xoxo

JEN said...

Jackie,

I am been a lurker from Matt's blog for quite sometime.
When I read your blog I feel at times you are reaching through the screen to touch us an improtatnt message. Maybe it is to just wake up and see what I have around me..take it and cherish it daily.
I am so sorry for your loss and wish that you and your sweet little bundles would not have to live this pain.
You have a true gift. Your writing it amazing and your pictures are as well. Maybe this could be a start of something to allow you to stay with your sweeties. YOU are an amazing person Jackie. Follow your heart. Jeff is with all 3 of you.

T said...

You are a remarkable woman. Everytime I stop in to read one of your posts, you amaze me. As a mother and a wife I owe you my gratitude for keeping me centered and in the moment. (I've been lurking for awhile via Matt's blog.) Thank you!!!

lifeonthego said...

Jackie, thank you. That was beautiful.

potty mouth mama said...

You are an inspiring, wonderful woman. Everything you've said is true and perfect. I think I'll print this post out and put it on the fridge.