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Legacies We Leave Behind

Sherry Paulendeick

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October 10th, 2019 - 09:06 AM

Legacies We Leave Behind

I have been thinking about legacies lately, things we leave behind. When you are gone, 97% of everything you own will go to garage sales,Goodwill, and trash. (Is that phase 2 of your funeral?) That leaves about 3% of things you cherished. Things that were so important to you in your life. They will go to family members as keepsakes or be used up as things they need. What will happen to your college yearbooks, wedding dress, high school diploma? A lot of these things will travel out into the world, because people don't want to take up space in their homes for them. Go to any antique store to find them.
So, what do you really leave behind as a legacy? Memories and how you treated people. Consequences of how you treated the earth. Things you created. Support and participation in organizations that made them stronger. Things you built and how you built them. Those are messages we can send after our death. They are not monetary, they have to do with our intentions. Interesting to think that no matter how hard we struggle, what we intended and what we created are the only things that outlast us.
My Great Aunt Iva lived almost 100 years ago. In the midst of a very difficult life, she painted. In the midst of poverty, loss of children, health challenges, she painted. I do not have letters from her, but her paintings hang in my house. In a way, I communicate with her daily through her choices in her paintings. My great grand children could do the same,.Sometimes when I am painting, I think about what my future grand children would think if they looked at my paintings. I think, they could know me, they could understand where I was coming from, by looking at my choices. Sometimes, I talk out loud to them as I paint.
In this fall season, when I lost my mother in August, my brother in September, and my dad in November, I think that money amounts to a very poor legacy. If one did nothing but accumulate large sums of money in their life, it is a very poor legacy. Money never belongs to you. It does not have your name on it. All money is borrowed. Money for monies sake is nothing. Your intentions, however, have the ability to greatly outlast you. Were you kind? Were you a steward? Did you add to the lives of others? What you create, can outlast you also, as much more than a photograph. Sometimes, it can even be timeless.


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