By Abby Glaser
For many of us the new year brings reflection and reevaluating of goals and priorities. A new year brings a new slate to determine what we do and who we will be. My family finds ourselves looking at this more than usual as we’ve lost two family members already in the new year. There are few experiences in life that will force you to evaluate your own legacy than losing a loved one. What will be said about you in your eulogy?
Maya Angelou famously said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I was reminded of this quote yesterday listening to the eulogy of my husband’s dearly loved uncle. He accomplished all of the typical markers for success in his life… long and happy marriage, two wonderful children, successful business and financial security. But as we honored him yesterday, no one was thinking about his business or the many buildings he built as a contractor of 40 years. Every person talked about how he made them feel. How he loved them, how he helped wherever he saw a need, how he made each person feel seen.
His young adult son gave a beautiful eulogy that didn’t leave an eye dry. As I listened to this young man give such a perfect explanation of his father, I couldn’t help wish that our uncle was there to hear it. That he could see the fruit of his labor; a life spent putting his family first before all else. This amazing young man is his legacy, he is the living proof of his father’s character. And I found myself hoping that when my time here is up people will think the same when they look at my children. That my legacy will be the kids I have loved and raised above all other accomplishments.
For many of us 2020 was a year filled with uncertainty, fear, financial struggle, and loss. But along with that was one other thing: a laser focus on what matters. A reminder to all of us that money and jobs come and go but our loved ones are what matter most. My resolution for 2021 is to carry on Uncle Pat’s legacy by helping anyone in need when I can. And just like him I will do it with a funny joke whenever possible.
As you head into this new year, take a moment and ask yourself “what will be said about me when I’m gone?” It’s never too late to start building a legacy.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.