Leaving a leagacy

Sarah - Mabelvale, Arkansas
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe a person’s legacy outweighs their words. I am reminded of this when I see a small plush toy armadillo.

Ever since I can remember, I would enter my great-grandparents house, welcomed by the sights of home. One of the first things I would see is a toy armadillo sitting on their television. My Ging-Ging, as we call him, would scob my nob (rub my head) with his nub (he lost his left hand) and say Hee-blaa to me. These things may seem strange, but the smile on his face and the sound of his voice still warm my heart.

Now, when I walk in the door of that same house, I see my Great-Grandma with her love and affection, but I turn, and Ging-Ging’s chair stands empty. No scob-a-nob. No Hee-blaa, just emptiness. Even though I can’t hear his voice, his legacy lives through the silence. I see the armadillo and smile at the memories he has left behind.

As I look at that armadillo, I realize how much it has seen. How it has faithfully sat there, day in and day out: all the Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, all the years of playing and scampering. Through all the times of strife and happiness it has been there. I see what it has seen, and suddenly, Ging-Ging’s chair doesn’t feel so empty.

The armadillo carries the memories that Ging-Ging left behind. As his legacy is brought back to me, I feel as though he is with me. It is almost as if the space in his chair is more of a leave of absence than total death. I know I will see him again someday when I go to meet my creator; but until then, that armadillo will keep his legacy alive, not just for me, but for my whole family.

To anyone else, the armadillo has no special meaning, it’s just a toy. But to me, it is a reminder of the legacy my Ging-Ging left behind; of the big shoes he left for his family to try to fill; of the special memories each and every one of us have of him.

He never was much of a talker, and the things he did say weren’t earth shattering. He just lived his life for his lord, and always thought of others before himself. He was a great example to his family and neighbors. I will never forget the impact he had on me.

All I hear from Ging-Ging’s chair now is silence. Yet that silence speaks volumes, and along with that silence is the armadillo. I feel as though his legacy is screaming at me. It is a constant reminder to never sell myself short, to try my hardest, to be humble, and to love others and the lord. So now I ‘m going to build a legacy, because I believe a person’s legacy outweighs their words.