What do parents really leave their children? We know that it’s more than a list of objects and experiences and your legacy is more than the contents of a will. Your years with your children are made up of memories and, when you die, these moments become a rich legacy of love.
“Legacy of love” has been a title for books, movies and funeral poems, demonstrating how important this gift is to all people, especially parents. Many people turn to letters, keepsakes and messages, creating a tangible legacy of love that their loved ones can see, touch and keep close to them, come what may.
The Real Treasure Trove
Love shows itself in actions and in special moments. We wish we could remember them forever, but sometimes we need a little help.
Photographs and videos are an excellent way to capture the moment, with the potential for you or a creative family member to compile them into an album or edit them into one video. Smell and sound can also evoke powerful memories, so much so that music therapy is used to help those with dementia to connect with their past. Why not compile a playlist of the songs you listened to together? Combine this gift with the recipes that you ate as a family so that your children can relive the experience of cooking and eating with you, prompted by smell and taste.
At the end of the day, nothing can replace you and how important you are. There are stories of people trying to capture the essence of their loved one by stitching their clothes into memory pillows and quilts. However, if you’re not a creative person or you haven’t taken many family photos, you can leave a beautiful legacy of love just by writing or speaking about your memories. Seeing your handwriting or watching a recording of you talking about a wonderful holiday or fun birthday is of indescribable value to someone who loves you.
A Practical Legacy Of Love
There are so many places professing to give the best advice, from social media to magazines, but sometimes the best place is a trusted parent. You can give so much more than a throwaway quote, especially when you ground your advice in your own experiences, showing why it’s important to forgive and never give in, to choose your friends wisely and follow your dreams.
One way to leave a really practical legacy of love is to write or record yourself giving life advice, from the general to the specific. The latter could include how to look for a house, suggestions on how to save or what to do when starting a new job. You’re not leaving them a restrictive guide on how to live their lives, but some tips and tricks that they can delve into whenever they wish you were there to help them.
A Farewell Message
Have you heard of a goodbye letter? These messages are becoming more common, especially amongst those with a terminal diagnosis and who are preparing to say goodbye soon. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, writing out a farewell message is a wonderful legacy of love, reaching out to your child to give them reassurance in a difficult time. You can underline just how much you love and appreciate them – reference your favourite memories, explain that it’s okay to feel these complex emotions and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
There are obstacles that get in the way of leaving a traditional letter. Those with dyslexia or who struggle to write for physical reasons might find it hard to note down everything they want to say, while some circumstances can make it almost impossible to put the letter into your child’s hands. Our Light Inside is an online portal that allows you to digitally store all the information you want passed on, from your family recipes to this very personal message. Don’t let your legacy of love be hindered by the little things – it’s far too important.