Nana’s Lasting Legacy

Hannah - Edwardsville, Illinois
Entered on October 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, legacy

After the death of my Nana, I came to believe that life is about building relationships and leaving a significant imprint on the world, not in gaining material possessions or achieving a higher status. Each life influences the lives of others, who then go on to touch even more lives, thus creating a ripple effect. Every life has a purpose and every life touches others in some significant way or another. Our existence here on earth is not meaningless; everything is intertwined. The things that people say and do mold you and help make you who you are.

My 8th grade year was quite an emotional rollercoaster for me. My Nana, who had been the glue that held my family together, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Life was literally put on hold during those final months with her as she became weaker. My family was forced to grow stronger through her illness and cherish every moment we had to spend together. Things that use to take precedence, like sporting events, school work, and social activities, paled in comparison to our current situation.

During her illness I gained a deeper meaning of what life was really all about and I finally got my priorities straight. Looking around her room at all the fancy trinkets and decorations made me cringe. Such things were useless to my nana now in her current state. She was leaving me for a new world and none of her precious items could come with her. She leaned toward me one night and made a remark about how empty all her possessions had become. All she wanted now was to be surrounded by those she loved. I saw that being together with my family, making lasting memories, and helping others to do the same was vital to leading a happy, meaningful life.

After her death I noticed how close my family had become. In her final days she taught us what really mattered most by turning her focus away from materialistic things and onto her relationships with family and friends instead. Basically, she taught me that all earthly things fade away, including our own bodies. We must then keep our focus on eternal goals, rather than temporary ones, and that each day should be used to serve others to the best of our abilities.

Her imprint lives on in me now. The things she said and did to impact me have been molded into my own life and helped make me who I am today. Her example taught me that life can gain a beautiful, unexplainable meaning when it is centered on building strong relationships and serving others, rather than gaining worldly things. When we live a life of love and servant hood, only then can we find purpose and meaning behind what we do and we experience the true joy God meant for us to find in life.