Webster defines the word legacy as a gift of property, especially personal property and anything handed down from the past from an ancestor.
My dad has been gone six months now. All summer I’ve been doing exactly what I knew I would be after his death….nickel and dime-ing away his legacy of property.
The pictures say it all. Three storage units full to the brim, stacked precariously , dusty and dirty from time and neglect. My dad loved garage sales and auctions. He never purchased antiques or items of value. Instead, he was the guy who took home the boxes of mystery contents for ten bucks! And in March, I became the heir of all those mystery boxes.
Almost every Saturday this summer I have slowly rolled out of bed to a five a.m. alarm, made my coffee, dusted on some make-up, donned work clothes and gloves and semi-organized the mystery boxes for their eight a.m. debut to curious, bargain hunting, avid garage sale-ers.
Each sale as Gary and I sent my dad’s treasures off to new homes, unexpected story-lines began to emerge. As we told our story of what we were doing and why, people opened their hearts and their lives to share their own stories of loss and heartache. Sometimes their eyes would tear up and there would be that catch in their voice as they spoke of the hard, disease-laden, suffering filled journeys of their loved ones. Saddest of all, though, were the tragedies of how families were ripped apart and estranged over the material belongings of the deceased parent or grandparent.
My summer of garage sale-ing has caused me to pause and ponder what I want my legacy to be for my loved ones and friends. What do I want to be remembered for? What deposits will I leave in the hearts of those whose lives intersected with mine? What about you? What legacy do you want to leave for your own family? What stories will they tell about you at holidays and family gatherings?
I pray you do some soul-searching along with me and create a legacy that is a gift of the heart…
My dad, my son and my first-born grandchild….creating a legacy of the heart…