This morning in my way into town I stopped to see a sweet soul at an assisted living facility. She’s been in hospice care for a bit. I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I haven’t visited in a few months. And, today it made me so deeply sad at this acceptance because life is so fragile and delicate. Walking into her room I was shocked at how much she had changed in a few months. She had just had breakfast and I sat next to her. I gently loved on her, trying desperately not to lose my shit…cause the tears swelled and I wanted to just break in half there. But…I didn’t.
I told her about how much I appreciated her. I admitted that she and her family have become the epitome of a loving family. I met this woman and her extended family over five years ago when they rented my motel for a 4th of July family reunion. I was blown away at their unity, laughter and love. I told her today that, now from a distance, I witness the most perfect version of true love. Then I went down the line to tell her how her legacy has affected so many in her life.
I shared that I was proud of her granddaughter, Sara and her sweet husband, traveling through South America and how they are changing lives through their words and experiences. I told her that her other granddaughter, Megan, teaches me often how to stand up for what I believe in. “Darling, she teaches me to stand the hell up, and not take anyone’s bull crap. I love that about her. She’s my little writer who is going to have a huge novel soon.” Then I continued with her grandson, Sean, and how he’s helping so many being a therapist. I shared with her little anecdotes of her kids and grand-kids that I see on Facebook. She smiled. Tears came up and out several times. She is pure grace.
“Hannelore, you have made a legacy of pure love, faith and inspiration. Do you know this? So many generations have been created because of you!”
“I don’t think so.” She answered, squeezing my hand in hers.
“Oh, sweetheart, you have healed so many. They are here on this earth changing and shifting the lives of so many others because of you. You are the ripple effect in their hearts that keeps on giving.” She smiled and thanked me.
I told her I was excited about seeing my son after a whole year and he would be here on Wednesday. She said she was looking forward to having her youngest son home too. The confusion in her memory let me know how deeply she has deteriorated. She shared about her children as if they were young.
Here is the thing about legacies and how we want others to perceive us. We are always trying to leave deep-seated footprints for others to follow. We want to know that we have mattered at the end of life. This is one of the things most people think about as they wait for death. We want to know that their existence has been valuable. And, to me, this woman has been the crown of a long line of love and lessons. I keep seeing it with her family. They know how to love wholeheartedly and accept everything. They extend their humanity to anyone and everyone. I’ve never experienced another tight-knit group as this. This is all on her. She has been a healer for a huge part of her life. She has changed so many with her faith and unconditional love. She IS love. She is compassion. She is acceptance. She is radiance in divine light. She has been the foundation to a huge family that continues to return to the source…to her!
Her hands were cold but so soft. I mentioned her lovely hands to her and she held tighter. I reminded her that those hands have loved, touched, healed, caressed, forgiven, mended, worked, raised children, and experienced so much life. I took that hand and opened it up for her to see it clearly. I said, “I am so fortunate to have the experience of having you hold my hands on several occasions. Thank you, darling. Thank you for the love you have bestowed unconditionally on me and endless others out there.”
Then we sat in silence. She laid there in full gratitude for the visit while I promised I would return soon. I wouldn’t let so much time go by. I was ashamed of myself without saying it to her. I also noticed the sadness in her…the grief. Grief does not change you. It reveals the innermost part of your spirit.
To watch a loved one diminish and suffer is hell here on earth. There is no relief in that. The comfort is finally breathing and understanding that we are not immortal. We come here momentarily to love, learn and experience life. In the sadness of loss comes the joy of celebrating a life fully lived. So often we mourn the death instead of rejoicing the life and what that soul offered us in our journey. But, her life isn’t over yet. She is hanging on and, hopefully, allowing those parts of her soul to heal and release while she continues to shed light into the hearts of so many.
I kissed her head. I told her I would return next week. She smiled and thanked me for the visit. I shared that she had gifted me so much in that visit. “You continue to woo me with your magnificent radiance. You continue to show me what compassion is…thank you!”
We are here passing through: for learning, accumulating, and exercising the greatness of our existence. There is no real secret to life. That’s perhaps the secret. We all want to know that we’ve mattered. We have. I have. You have. We are here in this melting pot together making our way home. Every day I am gifted favorable circumstances. I get opportunities of love (giving and receiving), forgiveness (for mistakes and misunderstandings), learning (beyond my means), dreaming (manifesting all my desires), kindness, and compassion (without them I am not human) so that my spiritual, physical and emotional bodies can evolve into greatness. This greatness is called life. Make each moment count with joy, surrendering abandonment for the past, miracles for the future, and appreciation for being present at all times. Laugh at the silliness, forgive the hurt, love those who you never thought you could. Allow these opportunities to map out the journey. You got this! No one else can do it for you. Create the greatest story of YOU! That’s your legacy.