Have you ever wondered what kind of legacy you will leave behind?
A challenging diagnosis often leads people to think about their legacy, what and who they will eventually leave behind. People often think of their financial situation, but almost always, there is the shift to our relationships. We think about what people mean to us, what we want to share with them, what we hope for them.
Unfortunately, all too often, these thoughts stay thoughts and aren’t actually put into motion or shared.
“Legacy work” is the process of transforming these thoughts into action. It’s the act of sitting down and taking time to purposefully create something for the people you love and care about. It is a way to capture life stories, lessons, sentiments, memories, and traditions. Legacies can convey what we want remaining and future generations to know and understand about our life experiences. They help us to remember and heal as we carry on important traditions.
Just remember, the wonderful thing about legacy work is that it can be done anywhere and can use any amount of time or energy you can give to it. It doesn’t even have to be you doing the work. If writing is a challenge for you, try doing a video or dictate your thoughts to someone who can write. And if fatigue is a concern, ask a loved one for help. There are endless ideas for Legacy Projects.
The wonderful thing about legacy projects is that it’s yours. It takes whatever form you give it and it carries whatever meaning you instill in it. It is for you, and if you wish, for your loved ones.
Start out by reading the list below:
- A scrapbook (with pictures/keepsakes related to a particular time in your life, a loved one, a favorite vacation destination, etc.)
- A collection of your favorite recipes
- A blanket made out of your favorite T-shirts or other fabric items
- A life review worksheet
- Handprints of you and/or your loved ones in plaster
- A video montage (of your best advice, your most cherished memories, stories about your family history, etc.)
- Cards written or gifts purchased for a future birthday, holiday or special occasion
- A poem or a song created specifically for your loved one(s)
- A memory box filled with special items
- A detailed Family Tree, with notes about important information (medical history, marriages, births, deaths, stories, etc)
- Family History Recording (written, audio, or video recordings of stories and memories of past and current generations)
- Interviews you do with others in your family! You can video or audio record these.
- A collection of music which is very dear to you
- Planting a tree, special flower bed, or building a fish pond
Next, focus on what YOU are interested in sharing
Your legacy project could take ANY form. Elaborate or simple – all are meaningful. The most important part of Legacy Making Projects is that it is a way to communicate something you love to people you love. So, envision a project, and simply begin. As you work on your project, involve others that can assist you.
We have found that talking with others and enlisting their help can really make legacy projects a wonderful experience. If you would like to talk with someone in the Supportive Care Team about your ideas and project, please contact us! WE are here to listen and help support you. Just remember, Legacy work isn’t about death and dying, it’s about life and living. It’s about making connections and sharing precious moments with the special people in your life.