Future generations riding on the highways that we built, I hope they have a better understanding. – John Mellencamp
The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind. – John Allston
Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived. – Anonymous
The story my family tells is that my grandmother died of a broken heart. She was in her early 40’s, pregnant with her eighth child, found out that her oldest son had a brain tumor and wouldn’t live much longer, and she and her two youngest children escaped a fire that burned down their farmhouse. She gave birth to her last baby a month after the fire and died six weeks later. Her last words, as the story goes, were “Take care of my baby.” No one is really sure exactly what killed her, so they say she died of a broken heart.
Yesterday I started thinking about my grandmother, my flesh and blood, part of who I am even though I never met her. For the first time I spent some thought cycles wondering how I would’ve been able to handle her life. I’m just a few years younger than she was when she died. I’ve been through a lot in the last few years…well, I’ve been through a lot in the past 39 years, actually. But nothing compared to my grandmother. I’m trying to raise two kids, run a business and go through a divorce. Big whoop! I have it made compared to what this woman went through in the problem department.
The legacy we leave to our future generations is far more important than we sometimes realize. Hearing this story my whole life has made me feel proud that my grandmother loved her children so much that it would break her heart to think of anything happening to them. But now that I’m a mother and I’m going down a bumpy road, it makes me want to be strong. I don’t want to let fear or regret consume me so much that I just can’t go on. It even makes me want to take everyone I know who is afraid of the things that blow up in our minds to be catastrophic and just shake them and say “Don’t let this break you!!!”
I know it’s hard to live in the present moment. I don’t even mean your present situation, I mean this very moment. No matter if you’re preparing food, taking a shower, picking up your kids from school or talking to a friend, we need to be grateful for each and every one of those moments because we are making it. Life is this space between our plans and our worries. This is the real stuff. And if we let worries of the past or the future take over, we miss so much beauty and happiness that is always there for us.
It’s my hope that someday, my great great granddaughter that never met me will hear stories of my strength and joy of life. She’ll know that she comes from a line of strong, loving people and she’ll make it through her life as a fighter and a lover and she’ll soar ever higher with my legacy under her wings.