I first heard the song “Legacy” at a mom’s group I attended. A member had lost her battle with cancer, and her friends put together a slide show to celebrate her life with all of us.
I wanna leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
It hit close to home.
I’ve mentioned here in passing that I have a dear loved one battling terminal illness. A week ago today, he lost his 12-year battle with cancer, but won the race of life and was received into Jesus’ arms.
|His joyous smile|
When my parents divorced, my father was awarded primary custody of me and my older sister. I was already living with him and continued to do so throughout high school and into college.
|Prepping to walk me down the aisle|
My father was such a role model to me. What I’ve learned since his death is the impact his life had on so many others.
The comments that have come have been truly astounding. His generosity, humor, fullness of life. His magnetic presence, his joy, his clear love for his family (including my mom’s 9 brothers and sisters, as my dad was like an older brother to them).
My dad lived a life that impacted far more people than he likely ever realized. He was a role model to many.
I don’t remember hearing him say an unkind word about anyone. He was not one to complain. Even to the end, he alternated telling jokes with displaying his concern for his loved ones.
Did I choose to love?
He wasn’t perfect, of course. Neither am I. We certainly had bumps in our relationship. But I can honestly say that my grief over his passing is not at all complicated by some of the questions that plague many who lose a parent. I know he loved me and my sister deeply and was overflowing with pride at what our lives had become.
I just wish he didn’t have to leave so soon.
My father never failed to ask a store clerk, “How’s your day going?” with all sincerity. He even would ask the nurses and doctors this during his long cancer battle, even when the situation was an emergency, or he was in a lot of pain (I witnessed this myself when I accompanied him to the emergency room).
He once shared with my stepmom that some people aspire to greatness in their lives; he aspired to goodness. This is what he instilled into me from a young age.
This is the legacy he chose to leave behind.
There were other things instilled in me from a young age, though not by my father. Venomous things that taught me to emphasize people’s flaws, to expect perfection of myself and others, that taught me not to trust.
Sometimes that venomous voice is so loud I cannot hear anything else. It’s also insidious. I’m only now starting to recognize the hold it still has on my thoughts.
What legacy will I leave? Will I choose to love?
On the days when it’s hard to breathe, the days when I can’t imagine taking another step without my dad around to see, I remember his strength battling cancer, I remember his kindness and huge heart. I remember his daily choice to love.
Oh, Lord, let that be my legacy…..