I read a rather powerful post about legacy not long ago on a very aptly named blog called Struggle Each Minute (www.struggleeachminute.wordpress.com). There were many parts of this post to which I can relate. The basic tenet is that your children are your legacy; that you live on in them – in their eyes, hair, habits, and characteristics. Once a child dies, that all changes. As with most of your life, the idea of legacy is turned upside down as well. Now, you have to work out the legacy of your child, not yourself. You become the holder of your child’s memory; the one who is responsible for making sure your child is not forgotten. As the person who wrote the post said, it’s difficult to get through to people who spend their days focused on shopping trips and children’s sport. It is a struggle to work out how to make sure your child is remembered when you are also coping with a world you no longer have an interest in.
People are forgotten very quickly from generation to generation. How many of us sit and think about our grandparents for instance? There is only a generation between us. If we don’t remember our grandparents, then our children will not remember our parents. But what does that mean for a child that has died? What does it mean when the siblings were so young as to not have substantive memories of their sister? It becomes very important for the parents that their child is remembered. If we don’t do it, then who will. And who will carry the memory once we have died?
I don’t fear dying but I do fear that my daughter will not be remembered. The photographs are not enough. In many ways, I welcome death but I do not welcome that once I die (and her father dies) then there is no one left to keep her alive. This question relates to one of my previous posts, ‘Keeping the dead alive’.
It also reminds of a book I read that described 40 after lives – one was that you continued to live until people stopped remembering you; they stopped talking about you and then you had no afterlife. Not that I believe in the afterlife but it would be nice to have someone remember you, even if just for a little while. How many millions are not remembered?
I am about to visit our legacy for Clea. I am sitting in Brisbane Airport with my older sister waiting for our flight. We are not going on a holiday and no we do not expect to have a good time. We are going to Samoa because we have a library there called The Clea Salavert Library. This is a small library attached to the Lalomanu Primary School.
This is our legacy because she loved to read (and she loved the beach).