With the recent passing of my grandmother, I began thinking about the legacies we leave behind. The way a life is lived, as well as the motivation for actions taken, is a testament of a person’s character and the impact they made on the lives of those around them. Each action and reaction to events in our lives determines the paths we take regarding the lessons life throws our way. We have countless opportunities to learn and grow as souls, and what we do with them is entirely up to us.
When my grandmother crossed over to the Other Side, it was not a sad time because she had suffered greatly in the past few years. Instead, I felt relieved she was no longer in physical or emotional pain. During her memorial service, we were asked to share our favorite stories about Grandmom. A few of the themes included appreciation for the way she remained true to herself, her love for her family, the child-like delight she had for digital games from Pong to Atari to Wii to computer games, and the thoughtful gifts she either made by hand or selected with purpose for her many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
The Importance of Family
Although my grandmother could be stubborn and strong-willed, she always held love in her heart for those around her. In some ways, I think it was her strong-mindedness and determination that held us together as a family. Growing up, my grandmother’s family had many children and not a lot of money. Because of that, the siblings learned to rely on one another and to be resourceful. Strong bonds formed, and the importance of family and friendships was instilled in each and every one of them.
I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in a family that loves one another through all of life’s ups and downs. We have had our fair share of disagreements and arguments; however, they do not last because the love we share is stronger than any circumstance we have faced. No matter what has happened, we have always been there for one another.
Legacy of Love
Through my reflections about my grandmother, I was able to truly see the legacy of love she shared with us and everyone around her. When we gathered as a family for large annual picnics at my great aunt’s home, she had a way of making everyone feel welcome, including friends, friends of friends, and significant others of those in attendance. Warm acceptance and inclusion was offered to all with an open heart and mind.
Over the years, my grandmother also taught us the value of making positive contributions to this world through handmade gifts and to give our best efforts in all of our endeavors. At the age of 16, my grandmother had to leave school to go to work. The money she made went toward helping the family. Although she loved school, she made the sacrifice. At the same time, she vowed she would complete her schooling. Decades later, she earned her diploma on her own, fulfilling her promise to herself with flying colors.
The handmade gifts she made also demonstrated her desire to give her best from the heart. She always kept her recipients in mind as she knitted and sewed personalized Christmas stockings, cross-stitched advent calendars, and constructed wooden mangers for each of her children and grandchildren – and there are a lot of us! The mangers have a special story. My grandmother, who is my mother’s mother, asked my father’s father if she could have a copy of the pattern and instructions for the beautiful wooden mangers he built for the Hluchan clan. At the time of her asking, my parents were in the process of ending their marriage. Instead of harboring grudges, as some do in cases of divorce, my grandfather shared it with her. His actions touched my heart. Within a year, my grandfather crossed over to the Other Side, making the transfer of heritage more important than anyone realized. Without my grandmother’s intervention, the patterns and instructions for making these beautiful structures may have been lost forever. Due to the actions of my grandmother and grandfather, both sides of the family are entwined by a tradition that will live on for many generations to come.
Doing Our Best
Although my grandmother was motivated by love, she had her faults too, just like each and every one of us. Being able to recognize that we are all here to learn and make mistakes, helps me to look past the times when we are not at our best. All of our experiences, whether positive or negative, contribute to the growth of our souls while on earth, and I would like to think we are all trying to do our best to live our lives in a meaningful way.
How Will You Be Remembered?
When it comes time for you to cross over into heaven, what do you think your legacy will be? What impact have you had on this world, and how will others remember you? Today is a wonderful day to let your light shine and share your love with yourself and others. If you allow yourself to be motivated by love, you are actively fulfilling your life purpose, no matter how big or small the action. If all of us lived in this manner, not only would we each have a legacy of love, but also a better world.
Blessings and love to you!
With Light and Love,
Karen T. Hluchan
Spirit Medium, Motivational Speaker, Reiki Master, & Author of How Have You Loved?