I was driving to a meeting last week and began to think about this very idea. What mark am I leaving on other people? My thoughts quickly shifted to two very influential women who have been a major part of my life and are now enjoying fulfillment in the realm of heaven. My mother and my grandmother.
My mother passed away when I was only 20 years old. She was 43 at the time. She’d been laying in a hospital bed for 8 months in a comatose state resulting from a severe stroke. Her body eventually gave up and could no longer endure regardless of her will to live.
When I think about my mother I immediately feel loved. She was one of the most tender hearted people I’ve ever known. She was always tender and loving to me and my siblings. From time to time I certainly gave her reasons to shift her approach!
When I was growing up we didn’t always have a lot in terms of money or material things but both of my parents always ensured we (as kids) had everything we needed. They gave up and sacrificed whatever was necessary on our behalf.
I was in a ‘rough patch’ as they say personally during my mother’s final season of life. I was extremely immature, selfish, and angry at the world just to name a few of my issues at that current moment in time. But I’ll never forget my mother’s tender love toward me even during that period.
One night during her hospitalization I volunteered to spend the night at the hospital and be present in case anything occurred with my mother’s condition. We were still in the immediate days following the stroke and her condition was very fragile and often shifted from better to worse (she was completely unresponsive during this period). Her room was in ICU so visitation was only allowed at certain points during the night. During one of the visitation periods I was in her room holding and rubbing her hand and I took time to thank her for loving me and sacrificing everything for me. As undeserving as I was, she still loved me unconditionally and my heart was overflowing with appreciation for her love.
My grandmother’s passing was in recent years and similarly at the end of her life she became unresponsive during her final few weeks here on earth. I recall the final time I stood by her bedside to say goodbye. I didn’t even have an opportunity to think, even for a brief second, before the words starting flowing from my mouth.
I’d lived with my grandparents during my college years up until the time that I got married. I was in a full speed sprint, running away from personal responsibility and accountability during the initial stretch of time that I lived with them. She and my grandfather had a certain level of awareness of my ‘far less than ideal’ condition when they decided to open up their home to me.
As I stood by her bedside and held her hand one last time, I began to thank her for opening up the doors of her home to me and putting a roof over my head during my darkest hour in life. I thanked her for loving me and giving me shelter.
I’m reminded of a very commonly used phrase from the Bible that states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son……”. Whether or not you adhere to the Christian faith I’m sure you can appreciate the truth from this principle. God’s love motivated Him to give His son’s life for the sake of restoring relationship with humanity. Love motivated giving.
This is the legacy of my mother and grandmother. They so loved me that they gave. It is the mark they imprinted on my life. It is the mark I want to leave on my family and everyone I come in contact with.
Fred Allen said, “You only live once. But if you work it right, once is enough.”
Even though my mother’s life ended prematurely, I believe she and my grandmother both got this right in their single attempts at life.
My intent is to get it right too.
How about you?