Monday, January 10, 2011

Legacies in Life

When I have had my hardest struggles with chronic illness I have often wondered what my children will learn from my life experiences. I wonder what legacies I am leaving them, and I hope they are learning good things. Hopefully things like strength in adversity, that it's okay to have moments of weakness and to cry, that one can still live a purposeful and meaning filled life with a weakened body, and that life in itself is to be cherished no matter what our physical state may be.

This past weekend we celebrated my Mum's 70th birthday in Kuala Lumpur. As I prepared for the gathering, I found my thoughts wandering... I wanted to make a little speech about some of my Mum's best qualities, and immediately several ideas came to me. In the end, I focussed on her generosity, hospitality and kindness. I realized that so many of us at her birthday dinner had experienced her love and kindness, had partaken of her lovingly prepared meals, had visited her home and found love and acceptance therein.

At the dinner, my children sat listening to my speech, and I knew that they would remember what I had said for some time. I knew also that the day would come when they might have to distill their own thoughts about me. I wondered what they would say, and I know that every day we live now is a process of building memories... some good, some inevitably not so good. Would my children perceive me as being chronically ill, or rising above illness? I want them to think of me as someone who fought the good fight, and who managed to survive no matter what life threw me.

My Mum had a hard life in many ways, but she's a survivor. God has blessed her. She always says her children are her best gifts from God, but I think she is the best gift God gave me. I don't always feel that way, but I know deep down in my heart that God knew the kind of Mum I needed, and blessed me with just the right one. I am truly grateful.

Mums and their children, children and their Mums.... a never ending cycle of relationships affecting each other through the generations. Inescapable and inexplicable. A real mystery. A bond physically severed at birth and yet never really severed ever. Two hearts intertwined, and lives forever bound even as one person, the child, seeks to break away, and the other person, the mother, learns to let go. Love and hurt. Joy and pain. All found, all bound, in that one relationship, a life time legacy of love.

Thank you, Mum, for your loving legacy... I like to think I inherited some of your generosity and hospitality, your kindness, and love for books. I do hope it all rubs off on my kids too. May they learn to give freely of themselves, and in so doing create more loving, living legacies to pass on to their own children.

I am blessed.

Thanks for reading.