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Living Legacy

Jan Don Rosie c1948It’s that time of the year when we remember those who have passed or gone before us.  With Halloween yesterday, el Dia de los Muertos and All Saints Day it’s a time to stop and reflect.  While we remember that those loved ones have died or are gone, that’s not really the significance.  We remember them because of how they lived and the lives they touched.

We recently lost a loved one.  My husband’s mom and children’s grandmother, Jan, passed away on August 30.  She lost her battle with cancer and while we were relieved that she was free from her pain there was still plenty of sadness and mourning.

There are many qualities I appreciate about Jan and great reminders of how I should live my life.  She was one of the hardest working people I know.  Inheriting an unshakeable determination to do her job well and completely, something she learned from her father, she worked many long days as a loan officer and underwriter making sure that people of all walks of life could qualify for home loans.  She regularly worked 12 hour days and on weekends.  When I see my son working diligently on homework, sports or other tasks, I’m reminded of her work ethic.

She was a talented artist.  When our kids were little, she babysat often for us.  We would come home to a family of paper dolls with the likeness of our children or cooperative artwork created on the easel.  Her drawings and sketches were effortless, but captured the complex beauty of my children and their world.  When my oldest daughter lovingly creates craft projects and drawings, I’m reminded of her beautiful artistry.

Much like my husband, there are few people in Omaha that Jan did not know.  She could easily strike up a conversation with anyone who crossed her path.  By the end, they would be friends, finding some commonality or interest.  She took great care to create tradition and connection with the friends she held dear.  Special birthday outings or trips to the casino with her closest of friends were a common occurrence.  When I catch my youngest daughter chatting and linking arms with her girlfriends, I’m reminded of her social nature.

IMG_5459Halloween 2009

I am also reminded that she made family a priority, her passion for the perfect gift, and willingness to get involved.  Jan has touched our lives in countless ways, and I’m most thankful for the living legacy she has left.  I see it clearly in the actions and lives of my husband and children.  I’m sure those who knew her see it as well in their lives.

On this day of remembering those who have passed, it sounds trite, but remember how they lived.  Focus on the living legacy they’ve passed to you on your journey in this life.  Make a conscious decision today to create a legacy of your own.


(This blog was originally posted on lotushouseofyoga.wordpress.com.)

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