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Your legacy ~ What to leave behind for your loved ones? 
Started by CarolynMarie
26 Mar 2012, 10:07 PM

Hi there all you lovely people!

Remember me!

I know there are a lot of creative energies out there and I'm wondering if any of you have suggestions about what would be meaningful to leave behind - for yourloved ones? I'm thinking of something they would appreciate to remember their Mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter...

I attended a workshop at the LIfe After Breast Cancer Conference in Hamilton in October, and it was called, "Leaving a Legacy". My friend suggested that we attend that one, as I was reluctant. Strangely enough, 2 days after the conference, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer-in my bones. I'm 48 now. I have 2 teenagers, a son 16 and a daughter 14 and am the oldest of 4 children in my family. I feel I have a responsibility to prepare and leave things as comfortable as I can for my family. Obviously it's very difficult for me to think about how my children will cope with life and events, etc. if I am not here to be their Mom! My question is: Do you have any suggestions about meaningful things to leave behind? I am making baby blankets for my daughter as some day I know she wants to be a Mommy. I am writing a book, which is almost finished. I would like to make a video of a day in my life for the kids to have afterward. If I was to make a memory box of items, what do you think would be meaningful? I definitely want to write letters for my children - for graduation, for weddings, for raising their children, etc. I'm going to include my chocolate chip cookie & shortbread cookie recipes. If any of you have a loved one who has passed, what meant a lot to you, that they left behind? I really appreciate your suggestions! Of course, none of us know how much time we have left, but I feel the need and the push to get things ready. I always say, life is a terminal condition. No one gets out alive! Tee hee! I appreciate your suggestions! Thanks! Carolyn :)
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Reply by claudia c
28 Mar 2012, 12:59 AM

My Mom died 3 years ago this spring.  There are so many questions I wish I had asked her.  She was very fraiil for the last 10 years of her life and needed increasing amounts of care, yet she was always so cheerful and kind and at peace with herself - or so it seemed.  I wish I had asked, how can you be so calm and accepting and peaceful?  What do you find the hardest about being old?  Do you think about death?  Do you believe in an afterlife?
So I would say - have conversations with your loved ones about difficult subjects.  Ask them to give you questions they would like to have answers to - now, from you directly!
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Reply by CarolynMarie
28 Mar 2012, 1:51 AM

Thank you Claudia!  So sorry that your Mom passed away.  Do you ever get over it?  I am blessed to still have both of my parents, but my husband's parents have passed away.  

Those are excellent suggestions!  I love them!  What a great idea!  I will ask them about the questions they have as well!  Thank you for your reply!  I love it!  
Take care!
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Reply by Hatty
28 Mar 2012, 9:38 PM

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Reply by CarolynMarie
29 Mar 2012, 2:41 PM

It's not working!  I got an error post.  Oh boy!  Help!
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Reply by Cath1
29 Mar 2012, 4:10 PM

Welcome home CarolynMarie – our humourous and valiant VH companion! I have missed you! I read your recent posts since you’ve returned from your trip but I was waiting for the right moment to find me before writing to you again. The moment is here. Thank you for all your healing help to me!

I don't like to hog all the space on the forum as there are so many great contributions and contributors. I have such a natural and easy relationship with words that I sometimes forget the value of the blank spaces and I rush to fill them all in!:) I also have an affliction that causes me to continue writing until I have purged my thoughts without anyone around to edit the length of my posts!:)

The essence of you is easily understood, and I can tell you that I know you will have no issues with creating your legacy, as in my view you are well on your way, and I pray that you will have lots of time to continue your labour of love! You are such a deeply generous and spirited person with so much sparkle and love in your voice when you write that it is beyond comprehension that you and your life will not be celebrated and memorable. Your nearest and dearest know these truths much better than as I am sure you are aware.

Actually, it is your deep level of self awareness and razor sharp insight that impresses me beyond any words I can write. Your ideas for making a video – a day in your life (cannot imagine any of your days being ordinary
J); baby blankets for your daughter’s babies, your future grandchildren (who doesn’t weep at the very thought? Touching; your legacy letters for your children and a special box filled with snippets of meaningful moments and memories; everything you’re planning to gift your loved ones with is perfect! You are as always inspiring, and I plan to follow suit.

When you finish you book I will gladly devour each and every page, as I do every word you write! I am a patient person, so I will gladly wait for however long it takes you to complete your story and I hope it will take you many, many years!

I think each moment we live will one day be our legacy and that’s why it is so important to live each day well, as well as we possibly can given the circumstances we are in.

To live well, means to me, living fully, experiencing all that life and love offers us and requires from us as we pass along the truths of our hearts and our acquired wisdom to others.

A knowing glance between lovers when silence speaks loudly our love, a child’s embrace when we comfort them after a nightmare or a bad day at school, a loving lecture to teens as we strive to prepare them for adulthood and for life without our constant protection, a smile from mother to child when we try be stern and fail; difficult conversations between family or friends that make us question their loyalty or ours only to discover love is unquestionably true; embracing the trials in life with grace and feeling gratitude for each lighthearted moment of laughter; practising peace in our hearts and accepting that sometimes turmoil will hold us captive as life reminds us that we are human, these and all of our unique experiences, each one coloured with a lesson, an emotion, a connection, a significance, a memory, each instant of our lives embroider our souls with an individual design of who we are, how much we mean to others, and how well we will be remembered.

We are the legacy. No one who loves us can ever forget us nor we them. The quality of love is in my opinion eternal, it cannot die, it has a memory and it cannot be extinguished from the hearts of those we love in this life or the next. I believe that my Mom and I will be reunited on the other side of this life, and while I cannot explain how that will happen or what form we will be in when it happens, I know I will recognize her and she me by the perpetual love that lives on in each of us eternally.

Claudia – welcome to Virtual Hospice! Thank you for sharing your ideas about asking the difficult questions with CarolynMarie – it is a fabulous idea! The intimacies you’ve shared about your Mom through your dreams and your memories is so lovely. Healing has a way of finding us no matter where or how long we hide, and I think you will find your writing will help you as much as it is helping others like me! I will be responding to your other posts, if not this evening, tomorrow. I relate deeply to how you express yourself and the way you are missing your Mom! 

Hatty: Please keep trying to post - the issues of the past day are unusual! If this finally posts - was trying all night to get it on - thanks to the VH techies and to Colleen for following up!:) 

So lovely ladies, hugs to you both, until next time, may our earthly and otherworldly angels keep guiding our pens. Have a wonderful day all!


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29 Mar 2012, 4:20 PM

The problem we were experiencing on the forums has been fixed. Thanks for reporting the issue Cath1, Carolyn and NatR. 
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29 Mar 2012, 4:21 PM

Hi Hatty, 

Welcome to Virtual Hospice. It looks like you tried to post something but the message didn't go through. We fixed the technical glitch we were having last night. I hope you will post again. If you need any tech support, please email me at colleen [at] virtualhospice.ca.

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Reply by passirose
07 Jul 2012, 10:19 PM

Hi CarolynMary,

Like you, I have a teenage girl (15½yrs), and I did a couple of things for her when I was diagnosed stage IIIb in 2009.  As it was an agressive type of breast cancer, I didn’t took any chance and here is what I did. 

I started a blog – in fact 2.  One was to write down the 12 agendas of her life I had written since I was pregnant.  Everithing about her is there, from the fever to the first word, the last baby tooth, our discussions, and even some drawing of her while breastfeeding. After a number of pages, I let it down it was too hard on my mental health to read all this. So I let it like this in the agenda, and place them in a little box, with all her childhood souvenirs (and her own baby blanket that my mother had knitten for her, she will be able to use with her own baby if she wants.   The second blog was a bit of everything while I was on treatments, with poems and some thoughts from me, to her.

I also have written birthday cards, and I’m happy I was able to give her two of them.  I have made one special for her 18th birthday with a letter in it.  I am planning on doing some more.

I also have a couple of gift already bought, and I have a box I started filling with objects she may use in her first appartment.

Having a recurrence since last February, I feel I need to rush in this, but this time I find it really hard to do so.  Spending more valuable time with her every weeks is a priority for me.

Take care,

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Reply by CarolynMarie
08 Jul 2012, 8:33 PM

Hi Suzanne!
Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions!  You are amazing!  I sense that you are feeling the pressure or time.  Sometimes I feel a sense of urgency, and other days/times, I feel the same and no sense of urgency, although I also notice my children seem to feel that sense of urgency, at times.  I love your idea about leaving cards for your daughter.  I love that you have written her letters and have a box of "souvenirs" from babyhood!  Lovely!  Thank you so much for your wonderful suggestions!

Has anyone seen the tv show called, "The Big C".  In the show, the Mom, who has stage 4 cancer, rents a storage locker and buys birthday & Christmas gifts, graduation cards and gifts and a huge number of other life gifts for her then, 14 year old son.  I like this show and I sure wish I could do that for my  children!  Of course it is not all about the material stuff, I know.  

Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom!  I hope you are doing okay.  Thank you for taking time time to write.  
hugs & love,
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