What’s my legacy?

daffodils.jpg

I was driving down the road today and passed a clump of bright daffodils. It wasn’t really that they were extraordinarily bright;

its just that they were in stark contrast to the overgrown weeds and trees that still wore their winter browns.

And the sight made me feel…well, melancholy.

melancholy

adjective

1.

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness; “growing more melancholy every hour”

2.

grave or even gloomy in character; “solemn and mournful music”; “a suit of somber black”; “a somber mood” [syn: somber]

noun

 


1. a feeling of thoughtful sadness

I know, I know… flowers usually brighten up my day, but these were all that remained of what was once someone’s homestead – their home. The house was long since gone, the trees and underbrush stretching themselves into the void.

But the flowers kept growing where somebody once intentionally planted them, multiplying each year. They were unaware that the hands that dug them a bed and placed them there by the road no longer lived in the world around them.

I doubt they would have cared, if they had the capacity to. They were just doing what flowers were intended to do.

I really do have a reason for all this introspection. I’ve been going through boxes. Boxes of memories. Of pictures of a young girl, dressed in her best Easter dress with a basket of eggs, squinting into the sun … of notes scrawled in childish writing professing things important to them in that space in time…of ribbons won on long, hot afternoon swim meets decades ago … of dolls given by family no longer living, that sat on bedroom shelves, reminding me of the smell of my grandmother’s house at Christmas … of love letters written 20 some odd years ago by the man I still wake up and go to sleep with each day. I think you get the picture. Sitting there amongst WAY too many boxes, I think of the person who planted those flowers, however long ago it was, and wonder,

“What will be MY legacy?”

It surely doesn’t lie in a box. Comforting and nostalgic as all these things may be to me, in 50 years will they still matter? More pertinently, if I died today, the task of going through all of these would fall to someone else. Would they find value in things tied to the past? Probably not in the same way I do, probably not at all. All of my things will pass away with time, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents before me. I can’t imagine what I would do with memorabilia from my parent’s high school years…why would I expect anything different for my children? If these things are SO important that I’ve kept them all this time, then why are they in a box that hasn’t been opened in years?

At least the flowers lived.
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So I try to look at it from a different point of view. As I judicially choose what I just can’t part with (today) – and I’m not exaggerating about being judicious – I try and think of what my family would find in these boxes. If I can’t find permanence or a piece of personal history, I chuck it. I certainly can’t take it with me! I look for opportunities to plant the the same type of memories that these THINGS represent to me instead. Moments of laughter, tears, music, and love that will live on in the souls of those that I love when time has warped the papers, faded the pictures, and age has rendered fragile the things that were witness to them.

I think I will plant myself some flowers by the road ~ daylilies, peonies, freesias, and irises – all in a clump together.

And of course, some daffodils.

~me

 

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5 Responses

  1. that was SOOOO good to read. live life. i think that’s what’s all important. ’cause if you live your life to the best of your ability, with enthusiasm and love and positive thoughts and deeds, you will end up touching people, without even knowing it, and that is your legacy…

  2. Mmmmmmm….I don’t know.

    Maybe the same reason I can’t part with Mike’s clothes but they are folded and stuffed in plastic bags and stored out in the garage. I wish I knew how to quilt, I’d make one out of all his clothes.

  3. I love this! Did it come from a certain barbie doll discussion perhaps? hmmmmm It really made me think and it helped me so much with a decision that I have made. Thank you LeLe. You left a legacy with me today. My favorite thing about you is that you can talk or write the feelings or thoughts of those around you. And you a very good at it. XXOO, M

  4. ah, ya see? I’m always missin’ out on the good stuff. **sigh**

  5. What good stuff was missed out on??

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