A Legacy Left Behind

Sarah - Brewer, Maine
Entered on October 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, legacy

A Legacy Left Behind

I believe in Legacy. In the dictionary it is defined as, “something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past” (Webster’s, 682). I believe that legacy holds memories, words, actions and a life long history of one’s life that he or she passes on to others, whether it be to family or to the rest of the world.

Never before had I realized how important legacy truly was until my father passed away last March. That day was not only the hardest and most emotional day of my entire life, but it was something that forever changed my life, views, opinions, and outlooks. My dad was a true individual, one who really loved life, his family, and the outdoors. There was nothing that could stop him. If he wanted something, he was going out there and getting it no matter what it took. When he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, he never said that this was the end. He was always young at heart. My grandmother said that little changed about that as he grew and grew. If the sun was shining, he was out there fishing, and if the clouds were gray he was inside reading. Lazy was never part of his vocabulary, and he made sure that it was never part of mine as well!

Finding out your dad has stage 4 caner is nothing short of a heart breaker. It hits you like a ton of brinks, and suddenly you feel as if your heart may stop beating. You go into denial, grief, and pure frustration and anger. It’s a feeling that I wouldn’t wish upon my greatest enemy. My world stopped turning, and the tears filled my eyes like a flood fills a small town. I didn’t know what to say, think, or feel- emotionless and complete numbness was all that came across. My dad was not going to let me do this to myself. He told me to hold my head high, put a smile on, encounter the world, and pray to the heavens.

It took me a long time to get over the facts, the fear, and the hurt. I kept asking, “why me? And why now? I’m a freshman in college, and this isn’t supposed to be happening to me. There is so much in life that I need my dad around for: to watch me graduate, to walk me down the aisle, and even watch the birth of his grandchildren.” However, you cannot fight fate. My dad then passed away after a long 18 months full of radiation and chemo treatments. I saw the pain in his eyes, but not once did he let others see it.

My father taught me something that I will forever be grateful for. He taught me the true meaning and importance of legacy. He may not have left me with a million dollars, but rather he gave me something even more. He gave me the power of spirit, wisdom, appreciation, and the belief that everything happens for a reason. He left a legacy of hard work, happiness, love and true family bonding. Yes he may not be around to watch me grow anymore, but I know his legacy is here and that is the most important.