What is your legacy?
Simply stated, a legacy tells the story and meaning of your life after you are gone. Your legacy could relate to your faith, family, or personal achievements.
One way to leave a legacy is through a legacy project.
A legacy project is different than an heirloom, as an heirloom is an object of value that has been handed down in a family for several generations. A legacy project is specific to YOU.
A legacy project is a tangible item meant to communicate in a summary who you were. It can be in the form of words, images -- or even music -- that provides information after you’re gone about what was most important to you, about your characteristics, and how you’d like to be remembered.
When considering a legacy project, consider talking to people you trust about what would best express what you love to do, your skills, what you want to say, the memories you would like to evoke, and how you’d like to express your love.
In my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been the recipient of legacy projects from family and friends who have passed away. Having a tangible item that I can hold and treasure close to my heart reminds me of the special person who is no longer physically present in my life and preserves their memory.
I am moved deeply when I consider the thoughtfulness and effort, in light of all the other circumstances, that must have gone into creating a gift that was meant specifically for me, and how my loved one would prefer for me to remember him/her.
Here are some other examples of legacy projects:
Write a Book
Your legacy book doesn’t have to be fancy or professionally published. If you want to put your life events into words, consider writing a biography.
Maybe you love to cook? If so, consider creating a cookbook of all those wonderful tried and true recipes that you developed over the years that can be passed on for generations.
If you are a world traveler, why not share your impressions of all the places you have visited and the impact your adventures had on your life?
Perhaps there is a story of a single milestone etched in your memory, and it is time to put that experience on paper?
Also, it’s okay to use humor. Your family will love and appreciate that aspect of you if that is your natural demeanor!
Everyone loves to receive a letter in the mail. Consider how meaningful it would be for your loved one to receive a message from you after you’re gone that you penned and put away for such a time?
Topics you might want to consider:
If you don’t like to write or cannot write, ask for help from someone you trust.
A Piece of Art
Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, artwork is something that can be displayed in the family home where everyone can see it and have a personal connection.
Today, if you’d like to explore your own creative nature, consider collaging with magazine cutouts, quilting/sewing, or trying watercolors or pottery. With most art forms, you can usually find a way to add a note or signature to personalize it.
A friend told me that when her mother and father were first married, her father made a wooden side table for her mother to use near her favorite chair in the evenings. Over the years, her mother didn’t have the heart to upgrade the simple table because it reminded her of their humble beginning years together when times were lean.
I recently read an article about a woman who, every Thanksgiving, brought out the same tablecloth and asked her loved ones to write their names on it in pen. After the holidays, she would embroider the names onto the fabric, and then bring the tablecloth out again year after year. Imagine how touching it will be to whoever receives such a well-thought-out and loving legacy project!
Journal or Diary
A journal or diary with a specific purpose can be a unique gift, as it memorializes how one feels through daily challenges. If you are ill, recording your experiences in a journal as the days progress might be helpful not only to your family but will offer an opportunity for you to also express how you are navigating through difficult times.
If journaling doesn’t seem like your idea of a legacy project, perhaps consider making an audio or video recording.
Legacy projects are not only for those who will receive them someday but are powerful tools for the giver, as they have a tendency to resolve issues and express love.
For more information on legacy projects, contact me!