Legacy

It’s a sign of your times when legacy begins to permeate your thoughts, your whispers with friends or deeper conversations with loved ones. It’s typically not something we like to talk about mostly because it feels out of our hands, almost philosophical. Perhaps, it is because the engaging moment for legacy to be activated or realized is when we finally come to terms with our dying and our death. And, well, in my experience, pondering death is not an exercise most people enjoy doing. So, we push this idea of Legacy away and bury it a little deeper for another day.

But if you were to be brave enough to dig into what your legacy will be, it becomes very quickly a mash-up of your life and all the stories that you have created within your time. Not all of which are pleasant to think about, in fact, the ones that come back the easiest are most likely the painful ones.

While these stories bring up feelings of pain, grief, joy, and excitement, there is something that ties these stories together, there is a thread that is weaved through them that, if you pay close attention too, you will find.

You will begin to see these shimmering threads just past the false beliefs like “I’ve always had two left feet or I’ve never been very creative/outgoing/social/etc.” You will find these little shimmering moments in the most painful stories of abuse, the happiest moments of celebration and even in your stories about really nothing at all, these are the threads that become your signature.

And, this signature is your legacy. The real problem is, that you just don’t know it and frankly, it’s going to take some reflection to pull this beautiful thread and make sense of it all.

Some examples of Legacy that I have seen in recent years have even been summed up in one word. Amazing really, how a whole life could be expressed as one word. And, while that word may have absolutely no meaning to someone on the outside, it is as deep as oceans to those that love you.

So now what? You’ve got a handle on what your legacy has been, do you just dust off and carry on? The beauty of doing this while you still have living to do is settled in the idea of intentionality. For example, my legacy is connection. Simple, not daunting at all and some may say, boring. But at the wonderful age of 45, I still have some living to do. So, how do I weave my own tapestry of connection? How do I set an intentional foundation that is rooted in my legacy? What does knowing this do or change?

It changes everything.

My Legacy lives in every conversation I have, unintentionally because that is just who I am. But when I find myself drowning in the depths of a tough conversation or argument, I find footing in connection.

When I lose patience, I look for connection. When I am faced with tough decisions, I choose connection.

And the beauty of all of this is that I feel different, I feel rooted in knowing that I have put my signature on something that I know to be true. It’s my conviction.

Your Legacy began the day you were born, your job is to discover it, so you can live it in every moment, so you can rely on it when you are out of your depth and that those that follow you can carry it with them.

Sarah Hines
Sarah Hineshttps://www.ameaningfuldeath.com/
I met a man one blurry night in Manhattan, and little did I know, he would be the soil in which my passion for grief work was to be planted. He had been rejected by his family for his life choices and was preparing for death without them. Helping him through his struggle to come to terms with his love for them and in turn his forgiveness while going through treatments, rejection, and coming to terms with his own death and grief was an unimaginable amount of stress and it literally set me in activism mode. It was shortly after his death, I completed training in Palliative Care Home Hospice. I volunteered in men’s homes for 5 years before the medications became reliable and being gay wasn’t always breaking family ties. Some of the most amazing times I have had in my life have been in the homes of dying. Strange, yes.. but so beautifully honest and raw. I then completed the Children’s Palliative Care Training and dove into the heartbrokenness of dying children. It is in these years I really came to understand just how fickle death can be and how much we embrace death and our grief. It seems that in times of what we would consider the most unimaginable, we are able to find glimmers of beauty, cracks of light and the nourishment in tears. Over the last 20 years, I have carried on with my education in a variety of ways including Coach and Leadership Training, Orphan Wisdom School and Grief Groups. My connection into corporate grief has been slow. It’s something that most organizations do not want to think about. I am inspired by those that see value in bringing grief work into the way they lead teams through uncertainty and the trust this work builds.

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  1. Thanks so much, Sarah.

    I grew up in a family that didn’t “do” emotions. No blame. As someone once told me, “Your parents couldn’t teach you anything they didn’t know.” Whether I urged them or not, those pesky emotions tracked me down and, like a dog putting her chin on your knee, inched their way in.

    The legacy idea’s very cool. When I’m working with a group of leaders-in-waiting, I always have them consider their legacy: How will folks remember you? What do you have to say (and do) about that?

    AND two things I’ve learned, one from loss, one from working in the recovery community:

    Pain will always find its way out. Always.

    Plus “Only addicts would see isolation as the cure for loneliness.” And we all dabble in addiction, don’t we?

    Be good. And well.

    Mac

  2. Welcome Sarah, and thank you for your lovely article. I use the word ”amazing” so much that Grammarly has chastised me. I ignore them. I read your bio. What a beautiful use of words to describe a profound experience which often cannot be put into words. I will repeat the word, ”Amazing” because you are.

    I look forward to more of your writings.💖

    • thank you, Darlene! There certainly isn’t much Human-ness in Grammarly so I am grateful for the “ignoring”. I look forward to cheering you on as well. this community is only as fantastic as the people that make it. I am humbled to be in your company.

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