What We Leave Behind

Tranquility

I used to think that it was important to leave something behind in life as a legacy for others to acknowledge my existence. For most of my life I kept journals, poetry books, albums and all sorts of pasted memory books documenting my journey here. Several years ago I stopped. I was losing myself in trying to leave a life behind while not being presently available now. I was tired of leaving a token of my existence for others to find. I decided I was going to touch more, love harder, and be present with those in my life.

What better legacy but time?

We are always trying to leave footprints behind for others to find. Sometime ago during a visit from one of my sons we were sitting around discussing legacies. He asked me what I would like to leave behind as a remembrance of my life.

I said, “My laughter. I want people to think of me and think that I was fun. I want to believe that I touched someone through my sense of humor.”

His eyes watered with that simple answer. He was expecting me to say something of greatness or about love. But, I believe that joy is the catalyst to other emotions. Joy and laughter open up love, empathy, compassion, and kindness.

What carries on after death?

The lessons, mistakes, triumphs, and achievements are not so much of importance in the past as they will be in the future. We take for granted what must be learned rather than learn what we take for granted because of worrying about the future. It is the present moment that emphasis must be placed upon in order to correct anything else in our path.

Legacies are moments. Moments consist of time.

Death is a state of consciousness. It is one of the many stages through the infinite. I witnessed this first hand in January of 2014 when I had a near death experience. At that moment of leaving the physical body I was not a bit concerned with my legacy. I didn’t think about the things I should have done. I didn’t ponder or cry about the things I didn’t get to do. My only thought was, “Where will this light take me? There’s nothing like this. There never was.”

We are here passing through: learning, accumulating, and exercising the greatness of our existence. There is no real secret to life. Perhaps…. 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.

“Inside of all of us there is the need and the desire to be heard, to have our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires expressed for others to hear, to see and to understand. We all want to matter to someone, to leave a mark. Writers just take those thoughts, feelings and desires and express them in such a way that the reader not only reads them but feels them as well.” ~ Vicktor Alexander

The Love of One

holding-hands

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.

Going Home

This morning I am at a loss.  A dear friend committed suicide Sunday night.  A beautiful soul with so much light and love moved on as her spirit was yearning to go home.  We spoke that same morning and I asked her to come visit this weekend for energy work, girl’s time and to be in nature.  She was excited and told me she would let me know during the week.  I had witnessed through her writing the past few months a spiraling downward of hurt, faithless moments of pulling away, and agony for the unknown in this life.  With pure desperation she tried to hang on.  It was too much.  I am saddened by this news.  She will be missed immensely.

She and I never met in person.  She came here last May while I was at a friend’s wedding in San Francisco.  Immediately she reached out on Facebook.  We would write to each other personal messages of inspiration, discussing spirituality and lessons.  We would exchange sites on something that moved us to grow and expand our minds.  In Christmas she sent me a beautiful book by Mark Nepo called The Book of Awakening which I will cherish every day as I read the meditations.  She was an extraordinary woman who got lost in the dark corners of her mind.  But, even with such façade of being upbeat the underlining terror remained.  This is why I reached out to her to visit soon.  I feared the worst.

I, too, have been at that point of hopeless desperation watching the ripple effect of decisions all turning to darkness.  I know everything affects everything.  My checking out would mean I would leave a terror of psychological disturbances for my children, family and friends.  It has been many years since I felt this on my bathroom floor at 3AM.  I understand the need to find peace and consolation.  There are no easy answers. Every person is their own universe trying to explore new terrains, getting lost, and finding a place to land firmly for a while.

Dying is not courageous.  Living is courageous.  The minute we take our first breath it is a journey towards death.  It takes bravery, faith, and desire to remain here.  Often times our spirits have had enough.  This woman knew this as she had a near death experience several years ago in a car accident.  She understood the peace that happens once your soul lets go.  She wasn’t afraid of moving on.  She was exhausted in hanging on.   One of her last messages mentioned how she just didn’t fit here anymore.  I sent her a message of hope.  She thanked me and told me to pray for her.  My spirit somehow knew she was letting go, my humanness couldn’t really grasp it.  Her honesty reminded me of some dead-end moments in my distant past.  On Sunday she seemed better, hopeful, faithful in her words of encouragement.  I will never know what happened during that evening.

Her death has awakened many from the coma of oblivion.  We move through life with our own dramas, twisted plots and characters.  I hope that if anyone is at this place of giving up to please reach out to someone.  My heart expanded last night to her two children.  Her son left a beautiful and powerful message on her Facebook wall.  It touched me with such depth because she left in him the same spirituality she carried within her.  In honoring his mother he will find strength to mold a life of substance and purpose.  I believe it strongly.  She was an amazing mother.

There are moments we look at our reflection and wonder if this is all there is.  Where is youth?  What will happen tomorrow?  What’s the purpose of this terrifying struggle?  What is the meaning and purpose of my life? We have so many questions.  Sometimes the questions are much more relevant than having the answers.  In questioning motifs, decisions, choices, past experiences, and the complexities of our stories we reach a level of growth and understanding.  There are moments we find clarity and moments where there is no light.  Regardless of religious beliefs or spiritual practice we are still humans.  Doubts arise.  The terror of living in continuous pain is too much to swallow.   In our own convictions we turn to God and believe that He will have mercy on us in whatever way we choose to exist…here on earth or in the afterlife.

We will never know the answers to her desperation.  My only wish is that she finds the safety and warmth of Divine light as she returns to the place of Source.  We cannot judge another for the decisions they make.  She will be missed by many.  Her soul was absolutely lovely.  As I return to my prayers this morning I hold her dearly in contemplation.  Rest in peace, my dear friend!  The legacy of your love and life will forever be remembered.  May you guide us to the light when our time arrives! We will be reunited one day….!

“To live in the hearts of others is never to die.”