Leaving a Legacy

 

buzzard[1]

Growing up, many of us remember how all our mail was sent threw the post office, especially personal letters to friends and family.  I have lived long enough to experience the transition of communication from “snail mail” to email.  We have all experienced the variety of emails we receive from spam to couples breaking up.  We have read jokes that once were interoffice memos and, by the way, I have saved much, if not all, of those memos for my files.

The point of this post is for those of you that are only aware of the computer age, and the association of texting, cell phones, and Ipads.  I want to remind you that growing up in this new world of communication will obfuscate the paths and roads of your future lives.  I want to express to you the gravity of not being cognizant of things around you, until you get to the age of regret.

Please allow me to be your “Paul Revere” and issue you a “call to arms” by letting you read some personal email that I have received with the realization that emails are also sensible and endearing, rather than just a contact.

I must develop a prologue for you, as the rest of the text will be an email sent to me, and my response to that email.  There is a group of friends from my teenage years (from the 1960’s) and by some chance, we were all reunited recently after 43 years of absence.  I left for the Navy in 1970 and never returned to my hometown except to visit my parents on short weekend trips.

We are all in our 60’s today and this post concerns one particular (female) friend in particular, whose husband had an accident and is now in long-term repair.  She also is suffering with her own physical health issues, but she manages to work a little each week.  The emails are below, and take notice the time it was sent to me, because it took me by surprise.  For all of you, please read the email as a tribute to your future lives if nothing else.

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Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:11 AM

Xxxxx- just a brief heart felt note.

I would just like to thank you for so many gestures of kindness.  First and foremost, I can’t thank you enough for being there for me at all times of the day & night.  Knowing that someone was there when I needed to talk, cry, complain, rattle nonsense, needing to hear the right words, etc.

Someone, who was my cheerleader, confidant, and guide.  Someone, who was a TRUE FRIEND who asked for nothing but gave much in return.

Words cannot express my gratitude for being able to pour my soul without being judged or criticized.

And knowing that you’re doing what you can because you truly care & want to help.

As you’ve said that “your funds are limited” but your true wealth is deep.  To give, of yourself, is the greatest gift one could give to another.  And you, my dear friend, have deep pockets to share.  And you give without being asked.

I lovingly accept all your heart felt generosity that has allowed me to take this unfortunate journey I know I’ll be traveling for many months ahead.

Dear friend, many, many, thanks.  I know you’ll always be there ready to help.

My sincerest love & gratitude.  Until later…Your Xxxxxxxx!

 

Dearest Xxxxxxxx,

After reading your words, I am truly humbled.  Since I have left all my friends in 1970, I have traveled, met people, and learned so much that at my age, and being incapacitated, my only recourse is to share what I know.  Hopefully, I can offer some semblance of peace and knowledge.  You are correct in saying I do not ask for anything except the love of friendship of those that I have lost over the years.  We all deserve a little respect and kindness that perhaps some of us need to experience now at this time when age has a grip on our physical & mental stages.

Even though I do not know many of the spouses, I still feel the connection, as they are a part of my friends’ lives and security.  I know what it was like without a partner at one time of my life.  Though I felt partly released of burden, I also felt much heartache knowing that someone I had loved is no longer as close as I wanted it to be.  Isolation and depression was on the menu at that time.  After separation, I became an insomniac for weeks until I mentally broke that part of my life.  I retraced my daily routine to include new things to explore and reconnect with the world around me.  I wish the friends of my past could have been there, but I experienced every disappointment that one could possibly not understand.  As new venues began to appear, I carefully scrutinized every avenue to not allow myself to experience those feelings again.  It hurt me deeply, that no one can ever understand because I was and still am very sensitive about my relationships with others.

 It all comes down to the fact that for everyone that I know, I will be there for them, no matter what it takes, and as you say, even though I cannot be there financially, but I can always be there to help someone feel needed and appreciated, way beyond what they can experience from their partners.

 When I reached the point of my life when I knew it was time to realize that life has finally come knocking at my door, I asked myself, “What have I accomplished to leave some sort of legacy for those I will be leaving behind”.  I had none.  I began to restart my artwork, rewriting my music, publish what I can and be a different person by trying to be better than I was.  I want to create anything I can with my hands, whether it is the jewelry, carving, and woodworking, fly tying, etc.  Even as we speak, I am facing the deterioration and the failing sensitivity of my hands and fingers.  It will be soon that I will no longer be able to do just that.

 There are just little things in life, one would not think of until it happens.  When I sold my parent’s house after they passed on, it was such a difficult thing to release.  I shed some tears as we were leaving, but not as difficult to realize that the phone number that I had to cancel and shutoff, was a part of their lives when the digits 23 were substituted for BE-verly back in the 1950’s.  And their 23x-xxxx number was the only number they ever had after 1952 to 2011, a period of 59 years.  It was something that not many people have experienced or gave it any importance.

Yes, it is always the things we never think about that are a part of our lives, when and if we take the time to reflect upon it.  The memories rush in and we wonder what do we do with it and why.  I hope that those small memories are an indication of some personal heartfelt feelings that we still hold close to ourselves and as a reminder that life has been a true experience of some good and that good should overweight the bad things we have experienced.

 In retrospect, I have obligated myself to reach back into my memory banks and try to recall all those happenings and small nuances that many of our [teenage] “gang” and you have forgotten.  I try to reach back and remind all that there was much good in our teenage years and perhaps that will allow all to think about the times after, and to the present, about the good things and only dwell on the hardships for a shorter time.  Life is getting too short to dwell on the misfortunes of ourselves, but we can take a thought and make it amusing to remember those times of friendship.

I can only do what I can to ease one’s mind, but it is truly amazing you can recognize and honor me for something, that we, as people and friends, should do for others.  I often think about what I could have done to change my past to make it better and more satisfying, but that day will never come.  I live with the reluctance of my decisions.  Good or not good, I eventually traveled that road.

 I cannot explain fully how much I love my friends from the past.  It will keep me focused on you and them so that I will always know I was a small part of their lives and I have hoped that no one will forget those days…that is the legacy I will leave behind…just a small memory!

 Love & Hugs always….Me!

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 I hope you all will take heed and remind yourselves that life passes all too quickly.  Stop and be an icon, not on a desktop, but in the hearts of others.