I attended a funeral recently for the mother of a close friend. As a tribute to her mother, my friend gave an extremely heartfelt eulogy, sharing that “what my mom did best was to be a mom.”
In defining her mom as a “mom,” my friend read a speech her mother had given over 30 years ago to a group of parents and high school graduates. In this speech, her mother shared her early memories of her son, who was a member of the graduating class. She talked about his favorite toys, his favorite red sweater and striped overalls; about her worries and fears, wondering if she had taught him enough about being grateful, about enjoying his life and believing in himself. Had she told him enough that she loved him?
What a gift this speech was! As my friend spoke, I watched her five brothers, their wives and the more than 25 grandchildren and great grandchildren laughing, smiling and crying. How blessed they had been to have her in their lives–giving them, as she had described it in her speech, love with no strings attached.
After the funeral, I found myself wondering about some of the same things my friend’s mother had. Had I taught the important things to the children in my life? Had I told them that I loved them enough? How would they remember me?
Funerals often serve as a reminder that life is too short and that we need to focus on the things that really matter. Today, what was different was that I wasn’t feeling anxious about “life being too short.” Instead, I felt calm and at peace. First of all, I could answer “yes” to all of the questions rolling around in my head. Yes, I have been teaching the children in my life what is important. Through my words and actions I have been showing them how to treat others, how to believe in themselves and how to stand up for what they think is right. And yes I tell them often how much I love them!
And I still have time. I have the present moment to be the aunt and the mentor I want to be. I have time to intentionally teach, listen to and love the children in my life. So how do I want to be remembered? What do I want for my legacy? I would hope the children in my life would say that I lived well and I loved well. I have the power to impact how I am remembered, because how I live and treat the children in my life is completely up to me.