I went over to my elderly Mom’s apartment last week and I heard her rummaging around in her bedroom as I was in her kitchen getting her medications set up for the week. I had a gut instinct that I knew what she was doing… digging out her jewelry to give me the pieces that she wants to make sure I get when she dies. This has been a pretty constant conversation with her for the past year or so… as she was moving to the age of 89. Hitting the age of 89 has put it into her head that she doesn’t have much time left on this earth even though she is physically in pretty good shape. Over the past year, she has aged so much…
As her only daughter, it is important to her (and to me), that I am able to have her engagement ring and wedding band. My parents got divorced after twenty-five years of marriage but neither remarried and now my mom is talking about him regularly over the past few months… more than she has over the combined years since he died over twenty-three years ago. The rings are a symbol of the love that they once had but also a symbol of the suffering and heartbreak they both endured.
As a very spiritual person who believes that death brings a life greater than what we have here on this earth, I tend to think that mom is reconnecting with my dad through her conversations about him. I wonder if there may be some hope within her that this man who she once loved and bore five children with, will be there when she transitions to the other side… to be waiting for her with outstretched arms with their baby boy in his arms (who had died over sixty years ago).
It is important for my mom to leave things to her children. She has the rings that she will give her grand-daughters…, tangible reminders of their grandma. She has determined which one of my brothers will get the lamp or the antique table… making the decisions of who should get what has become a very important goal at this time in her life.
If only my mom could really understand that the legacy she leaves us is not the jewelry, the antique glassware or an antique piece of furniture… but rather a legacy of a mom who was our strength, our rock, a woman of perseverance and commitment who made sure her children were raised with the values that were imbedded in her…
What is the legacy that your parents will be leaving you (or have left you) with?
What is the legacy that you would want to leave your children?