This week I got the chance to ponder this even more so than usual.
I was visiting my Grandmother in Sebring, Florida. She was celebrating her 88th birthday. She used to travel every September to Ohio to celebrate her birthday with us. Now that she is older the trip wears her out so I decided to visit her instead.
While I was there she brought out a box she called her "Dead People box." It was a brown file folder containing mementos from several family members who have passed away.
I read the speech that a daughter in law wrote and had read during the service. She described in detail things, about my great grandmother that I would have never known, had this page not been saved.
The box also contained the book from my great grandfathers funeral showing the guests that attended and their signatures. Being the family genealogist, I was in awe viewing the handwriting from the actual family members with whom I share DNA.
The small diary contained entries from a great cousin who wrote about his experiences in WWII and about the fellow drafted military members that shared his branch of service.
I exclaimed and oohh'd and ahh'd over the contents of that box describing how important each item was for me to see. She took the contents out and insisted I take them. Then she told me to write something pretty about her someday.
There you have it, faced with the reality that I will one day be faced with that situation, I panic.
What is there to say about a woman who ran through cotton fields in her bare feet and rode ponies to town bareback? She never lost her beauty and her life experiences left her wise. At 88 she still refers to her father as "daddy" and never forgets a face. She earned every wrinkle by being in the sun, living her life outside. How will I ever put to words the legacy she leaves for us, her future generations? Will I do her proud? Her having lived through the depression, wars, and all other man made problems. She has lost young loved ones and was still brave enough to remember every detail even if it hurts. She is strong and stubborn, both traits that have help preserve her well. I will write about her life for her, knowing that is the best legacy I can leave for my future generations.
When my time comes, I will discard my shoes and follow the trail made through the cotton....