Above picture is my mother at 19 years old.
When my mother died, I took her clothes, cut them up and made lap blankets for my siblings and myself. It was my way of trying to pass down a sort of legacy. Something that was hers, that we all could see and remember our mother in the clothes she wore. Yet, it is nothing compared to the individual memories each of us have of her.
She left each of us individual legacies. Things she taught us. Things we remember. It is easy for me to see what the legacies she left each one of her children. My one brother got her determination/strength. My other brother got her blue eyes and her tenderness. My sister got her playfulness, and I, I got my desire for reading and writing from her. An appreciation of Classical music. Along with enjoying crafts. Sewing. Learning to pray at an early age, Bible stories she read to me, and an absolute desire to question everything and not follow the crowd.
My mother was blessed with a long life. The last few years of her life were full of sickness, but she remained feisty and determined. I saw God at work in her many times.
Before she died, I thanked her for the special things she passed down to me. We both knew she was not going to be around much longer and I wanted to express my gratitude for all she had given and taught me through the years. My mother was a stoic woman, strong in her emotions. So, she had very little to say when it came to emotional things and even would tell me, “I don’t remember that” when telling her it was because of her I liked sewing. The story is: When I was 15, I wore a pair of jeans to school that she told me not to wear because they were kind of worn out with this big patch I put on the rear-end. Being rebellious, I wore them anyway. I came home from school, walked through the door, she saw me and said not a word. I rebelliously thought to myself, “I guess I showed her,” and went on back to my room feeling pretty smug. The next morning I got up to go to school and laying on the kitchen table was my jeans. Neatly laid out with one of the legs cut off! Haha! SHE showed me! I knew better to say a word, so I said nothing. I learned after that not to wear something to school if she told me not to. Some time went by (I don’t know how long) but she asked me if I wanted to learn to sew and make my own clothes. I said, “yeah, I guess.” She took me to the store and told me I could pick out any kind of material and pattern I wanted and make me a shirt. I chose a paisley print with long flowing sleeves. We went home and I had no idea where to start. She began to teach me, telling me, “I will show you, but I will not do it for you.” I did it, with her instructions and never was I so pleased with anything I wore. My mother was a very wise woman! From then on, even though she would tell me if something was appropriate or not, she still allowed me to express my individualism, whether through my music or apparel. I had learned to respect her.
It has been 4 years ago this month that she passed on. I still think of her every day of my life. I still miss her. Every time I sit down to sew, I think of that time, four decades ago, where my mother taught me, it is ok to be who you are, but still there are standards. The standard in my case at the time, was my mother’s, beings I was under her roof. She had every right to have certain expectations of me.
Years ago, there was a conversation I had with a few other people. We were asking what we wanted best to be remembered about ourselves. One said, “being a servant.” Another said, “being funny.” I said, “loving Jesus.” I would change that now to “loving Jesus and being a truth lover.”
The video below is not a so-called Christian one. But I use it, anyway. This woman, Eva Cassidy had a beautiful voice. Her life was cut short at the age of 33. She barely got started in the music scene before she was diagnosed with Cancer, giving her three months to live. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Still, her music, her beautiful voice, still lives on. It is a legacy she has left upon the earth. Only God knows how many people her voice has touched in ways that has soothed pain and brought comfort.
What will be your legacy?