What Legacy Will You Leave?
We all want to be remembered for doing and being something great when we pass on. We all want to feel as though we have contributed in some meaningful way to the world and made an impact on others. What we leave behind when we die is our legacy. In honor of What Will Be Your Legacy Month this August, we propose you look inward to think about your legacy. If it needs work, now is the time to start building it up. If your loved one is in hospice in San Francisco and elsewhere, talk with them about their legacy and what they hope to be remembered for. It’s a time for deep reflection, a process that can be extremely hopeful and uplifting, even in a time of uncertainty and stress.
Many people are driven to achieve amazing accomplishments, dedicating themselves to great causes in the name of legacy. Others live quiet lives and are committed to simply being a kind person and raising good human beings. Many of us perform selfless deeds and fight the good fight every single day. And it’s probably safe to say that most of us would like the values we stand for to live on in future generations. It’s not just about money or material things, although financial legacies are certainly helpful. It’s more about the memories we leave behind that will live on in the hearts and minds of the next generations to come.
Creating a legacy affects how you spend your time, how you treat people and how you treat yourself, points out The Huffington Post.
So, what is your legacy? What matters to you?
Creating Special Memories in the Final Journey
Facing hospice gives people a sense of urgency when it comes to making the most of the days, weeks or months that are left. Just like we plan for any trip we take, it’s important to make preparations for that final voyage of life. From patients to caregivers, this is an opportunity to honor beautiful memories and share the remaining time we have with those we love.
If health allows, individuals, can participate in calming activities such as swimming, yoga or dance to express feelings and relieve anxiety. Spiritual comfort can be found through prayer, meditation, massage, chatting with friends, or going to support group meetings. Creative self-expression such as arts and crafts or painting can also be helpful. You can work with your loved one to make a quilt from comforting clothing, or compile a DVD of home movies to watch together.
You could create a memory book to record cherished past events. Include photographs, mosaics from several old photos, ticket stubs, passport stamps, personal notes, menus from special nights out, favorite recipes, souvenirs and other mementos. Write captions for each entry together as you reminisce.
Writing a journal together can also be a healing experience as you get down into words what comprised your loved one’s life. Jot down stories, thoughts, feelings, and recollections as a fun way to share memories. Help your parent or other loved one write letters to those they love, as a way to express affection, offer advice or just share thoughts. Record personalized messages for each loved one in digital format for a long-lasting memento.
Create a shadow box, including treasured pieces that span yours or your loved one’s life. This will provide invaluable insight into your interests, hobbies, and passions. Create a family history and tree online together, working to explore your roots and solidify your part on that tree, says Forbes.
If time allows, take a trip with friends and family to visit destinations you’ve always dreamed of going. If time, health and finances don’t allow for this, take a virtual tour of the destination. Have others come up with photos of the location and create a slideshow. You can even make meals indicative of that culture to share, and decorate the home to embody the feel of that culture.
Memory gardens can craft a living memorial of life, reminding loved ones of your legacy long after you are gone. They will think of you as they watch the flowers grow and bloom every year. For caregivers, ask others to donate seed packets of your loved one’s favorite flowers at a memorial service as a way of honoring their life.
As you set about creating special memories on this final journey, just keep in mind there is no right or wrong way to do it. No one really knows how to take this journey. One thing is for sure: your story is unique to YOU.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Discovering your legacy and realizing the impact it will leave behind is an important part of the end of life process. The team at Pathways Home Health and Hospice is here to help caregivers remember their loved ones, such as through memorial gardens, group walks, healing workshops, support groups and more. Please contact us at 888-755-7855 to learn more about how we can honor your loved one.