Just who am I anyways?
Recently, I have been challenging myself with this thought, it is coupled with the question, ” and what will I leave behind ? ” Oh sure, I know basically who I am, my likes, my dislikes, my goals, etc. With the death of my dad and my grandmother in the past 6 months, I have found myself going deeper. Their lives and their legacy have guided me to question my own life. Am I doing enough? What will I leave behind when I’m gone?
It has always been of great importance to me, that I leave behind something physical, something to prove without any doubt that I, Magdalene Belle, not only took breath but walked and loved. Movie stars have film and reviews, authors have books, chef’s have the legacy of amazing food that resonates from generation to the next, what will I leave? Is it a control factor? A way for my to TRY and control how much death takes away? Yes, undoubtedly it is. After all I am a bit of a control freak, which has been one of the greatest factors in my dealing with my father’s death. It was unexpected, my grandfather (my dad’s dad) lived well into his 80’s, so surely my dad would do the same. He was, unstoppable and bigger than life. Somewhere in my mind I planned for him to live forever. Then, he went and did the unexpected, something outside of my control and way outside of my comfort zone, He had the audacity to die on me, my mother, my brothers, his sister and certainly not least of them, his own mother. My mind that had formulated how this life would go, suddenly could not compute and I still find myself shaking my head and saying quietly to myself, “It doesn’t make any sense and this wasn’t supposed to happen this way.” Again, admission of how controlling I am and an example of how little control I actually have. So yes, my desire to leave a physical mark, is a way for me to try and control the uncontrollable.
However, over the past almost 7 months but specifically the last few weeks, I have been examining both my father’s and my Grandmother’s lives. They were as opposite as could be and in truth I am not so sure they cared for one another, but they had two things in common; one was a deep love for my mother and the other was this, they both were more than they thought they were.
I have spoken before about how my dad didn’t see how his life truly affected those around him, he didn’t see the beautiful qualities in himself that those around him saw so clearly. My Grandmother was much the same way. Both faced terrible times and mental scars that they would carry their entire life and never fully heal from. Though they had these things in their past, they still somehow chose to fight and move forward. And they were successful. No, they never made lots of money or became famous. There is no written record of theirs lives, save some journals and the oral stories we will pass down. They did leave however, an indelible mark on the lives around them. People worked harder for knowing them. People were more loving for knowing them, more understanding. I know they are my family and of course there is a partiality in me, but they truly touched the lives around them, I saw it in their life and I was reminded again of it in their death.They left behind something more precious than a book, they left a library of knowledge and love that I can learn from and pass on to my children, who will hopefully in turn, if I am successful, pass on again to their children and the people they meet.
So what do I want to leave behind? I wrote this the other night and after re-reading it, I think I am satisfied, for now, on this list:
‘To be more than I am. To leave a lasting impression on those around me,to leave behind a light that will continue to shine long after I am gone. To find a balance, to love and not judge too harshly. To again, find a balance and not focus on the fame or vanity of leaving an impression, but to focus on the impression itself, what kind will it be? To know my worth but not be arrogant. To love people, to be kind and thoughtful. To be a person of peace, to be a person of healing. To seek the face of God. To be a person of unity and not of division. To be me wholly and unapologetically with humility and love.’
To be more than I think I am.