Most people think a legacy is what money or property they will leave someone when they die. But your legacy can be so much more.
My grandma Ruth was a wise woman who lived through several wars, outlived two husbands, read thousands of books, ate chocolate every day, and died peacefully at the age of 98. She left a wonderful legacy for her family—and it didn’t include money at all.
Grandma Ruth did many things to pass on her legacy to her family.
First– Grandma had taken all those old family photos that were sitting in boxes for years and organized them. She labeled them with names and dates and how each person was related to her. We are now able to look through several albums (and 100+ years) of our family heritage.
Second– Grandma Ruth always had amazing jewelry. Instead of waiting until she died, Grandma started giving some of the pieces away. So when I graduated high school I received her emerald ring (her second wedding ring) that I have loved since I was a little girl. The Christmas before I got married she gave me her pearl necklace, which I wore on my wedding day! She was able to share with each person her memories of each piece and experienced the joy of her gifts to others.
Third- I love to bake and one of my favorite recipes was Grandma’s rum cake. Instead of keeping the recipe a secret, as so many people do, Grandma gave me a copy of the recipe. Who knew she actually cut it out of the local newspaper? I still make rum cake every Christmas and think of her every time.
Fourth- Grandma Ruth typed up her memories. She wrote stories about growing up in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, her obsession with maple candy as her daddy was from Vermont, and how she met my grandpa. Stories I had never heard while she was alive, but these typed pages serve as a legacy of lasting memories.
What have you done to ensure your legacy?
This holiday season, consider photocopying a few of your recipes for loved one. Maybe write up your favorite Christmas memories and wrap as a gift to your children. Or take out those old photos and start organizing them. These treasures will outlive any monies you leave and will serve as your lasting legacy.