Legacy Upended

“It’s been 30 years, “he said turning the page in his calendar.  “30 years …” his voice trails off into the purgatory of what might’ve been.

Parents are not meant to survive their children. And yet there are many who exist in this backward world, having outlived those who should be our legacy. Life’s natural rhythm is flipped for us – because of … who cares what took them. They’re gone we have outlived those who should have laid us to rest. Biological, step, adoptive or other, our children are meant to mourn us. It’s wrong for us to weep on their graves.

“I thought that I might just crawl into her tiny grave with her,” he shared when he told me of the infant daughter he’d lost.

I dropped to my knees, quite literally, when I learned of my child’s demise.

Decades later we were still standing. Unsteadily on days. On others, strong because life is for the living. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones—both those who remain and the others who should be here – to find a way to put one foot in front of the other and live the life we’re given. Even if we do so with a crater in our hearts where our children are immortalized as if in amber.

One thought on “Legacy Upended

  1. ProfRobert says:

    I know it’s not the same thing at all, but for me the strange and awful number is 40 years. 40 years ago, I was a senior in high school having the worst six months of my life. My mother died in January. My first choice college (my father’s alma mater) jerked me around with deferral in April and rejection in June. And the only girl I was convinced might ever love me was banging jocks who treated her badly. If she preferred them to me, what did that say about me? (Answer: Nothing; it said everything about her, but I wasn’t mature enough to understand that.)

    40 years ago, my father was a year younger than I am today. I find that unfathomable.

    Even more unfathomable is that 40 years before all that, the United States had not yet entered World War II. 40 years from now, it is unlikely I’ll be alive. 40 years from now (assuming the law doesn’t change), my son will be eligible to receive Social Security. Unfathomable.

    One bright light, though, in all the bizarre reflections on time and change, is that I still have friends from 40 years ago, friends who have put up with me and gone through the amazing ups and horrible downs in our lives over all those years. I am deeply grateful to them and to you for that.

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