The Legacy We Leave Our Kids

The legacy we leave our kids - Magical Mom

It was an early Sunday morning in February. She said she couldn’t stand up; her migraine was too strong.
By the time the ambulance came, she was unconscious. Already in a coma, she never woke up anymore.
Two days later, she was dead.
I was 15; my sister was 10, and our life was never going to be the same again. We were orphaned. Mom was never coming back to us.

I won’t talk about grief, or how lost I was and not even about how I managed to make sense of the fact that my life somehow continued.

What I wish I had, really, was something to hold on to that reminded me I was once loved by my mother. Yes, the memories are still there. I remember the family tradition of staying up late on new year’s eve, let us eat grownup food and watch the variety show on TV. I heard her tell me the story of how I was born and how big I was and how she coped with the pain. I remember her smile when she was active – during a hike or a Jane Fonda aerobics class and even when she was ice skating. What was suddenly never available for me anymore was the words and thoughts of the woman who held me first and loved me unconditionally.

If only I could sit down to talk to my mother, I would ask her when was the exact time she felt she became a mom and how was that like. I would ask when did she know that my dad was the love of her life. I would ask her what was my favorite food, what was hers and what was her mother’s. I would want to know how was it for her to grow up. I will never know these things. Maybe if she was still alive I would have never even asked those things.

That’s the funny thing about tragedy. We get perspective, only we can’t turn back the time.

The sudden death of my mother triggered in me a strong desire to leave a deep legacy for my own kids. Not an assumed one of memories, photos and stories from other family members, but something concrete. Personal. From me, their mama, to every single one of my kids.
The day I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter, I started writing to her. Tell her how it felt to have her grow in my belly. I wrote her the story of how she was born and the exact second I fell in love with her. I write to her on her birthday, to give her a detailed description of the year that has passed and how it changed us all. I write to my twins, individually, telling them how much I appreciate each one of them and how we are each the exact same person, only a little bit different.
I write the story of my own childhood, my own demons and how that affected my parenting.
I write to them to apologize and make amends.
I talk to them as well, of course, but the lottery of memories is too risky for me.

But mostly I write because I understood not that life is fragile, but that death is unexpected.

We can think about it, assume we made peace with it, ignore it, deny or embrace it. It really doesn’t matter what YOUR relationship with death is. But the day we are gone, the people who are left behind need to start making sense of their life without us there.
So I want to give them a manual. Hand them the flashlight. Open my heart and arms and tell them not that life will eventually get better and it will stop hurting one day, but that they were once the best thing that happened to a lucky mom.


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What is the legacy we leave our kids?

The day we are gone, the people we love need to start making sense of their life without us. Let’s give them a manual.

Did you ever lose a parent? What do you wish you could ask them?

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