What We Leave Behind

Like it or not, we leave behind us some kind of influence. It can be what we would like, or it can be our worst nightmare. Perhaps it would pay us to think now, today, about what will be said about us after we’re gone. Sometimes the influence even skips a generation, or simply does not “take” with the ones we assume.

I sat with the daughter of the 87-year old woman who had died rather suddenly. The daughter seemed lost and waited for her own daughter to arrive from about 40-miles away. The daughter did not want to go in to see her mom. She just could not bear it. She spoke only a little, but thanked me for sitting with her.

As soon as the granddaughter arrived, she wanted to go in immediately to see her grandma. She talked about all she had taught her: to be independent and strong. Her grandparents had saved their money and made sure she and her sister went to college after their father committed suicide. She asked many questions about what happened during the morning, that led up to grandma’s death. She briefly checked on her mom again, then it was back to grandma’s side, as if still gaining strength.

I distant funeral home arranged with a local to pick up grandma for the next step. When they arrived and suggested she step out, she said, “But I want to stay with her.” They looked at me, and I nodded for them to continue. The did all the things they normally did, and put the blanket over her and wheeled her out to the car to load her into it. She walked them all the way out, as I could have predicted. I mentioned what a “tough cookie” she was, and wondered where she got that. She pointed to the body of the lady she loved so dearly. The old strength had become new in this young woman. She would carry on now, and will handle many more storms in her life. It all seems so appropriate.

Hopefully, someone will observe our transition, and will be as impressed as I was that day.

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