By Ke’Ana Lampkins
My mother passed away on July 27, 12 years ago. I have felt the pain of this event every day of my life since then. I have to admit that my grieving took on a certain form of identity in my life where I felt kind of empty in my life if I didn’t straddle the fence of my grief. I didn’t know how else to honor her, and show how much she was loved and missed without holding on the pain of her not being here with me physically.
But recently I was listening to two of my favorite authors and speakers, Priscilla Shrier and Chrystal Evans Hurst, discuss their mother, whom they recently just lost. Though they are obviously devastated at the loss of their mother, they were able to focus on what she taught them and remember her legacy.
Her daughters recounted their favorite memories of her, the way she upheld herself, her favorite things like flowers and scarves. Friends were able to tell testimonies and stories about how she impacted their lives.
Though I’ve been living without my mother for more than a decade, it was revolutionary to me that, someone can live on through their legacy. Of course, this is more difficult to do when you lose someone when you are younger. Not only is your memory not as established, but your memories also start to fade away over time if you don’t set up measures to protect them (through photos, journaling, telling stories often, including them in your everyday life).
Immediately, I started writing down everything I could remember about my mother, everything she worked hard to instill inside of me. I wrote down my memories that I still had, vacations and trips. My favorite foods that she would cook, etc. How she helped people and provided all she could to support others in their relationships, careers, and raising their children. How she loved to do me and my sister’s hair and make us exercise and read the bible.
These are things that make up her legacy: her kindness, and giving spirit. Her ability to love others unconditionally, and point them towards God. As I reflect on her and all those who have left a legacy behind I am also being taught that for those of us who have been left behind that we too must live the legacy that we want to leave behind. What we want our loved ones to remember most about us. The print we want to leave on this earth.
A legacy isn’t built in a day. It’s who you are when no one is looking, and who you are with your loved ones, most consistently. It’s what they will remember when your body is no longer here. Things that were important to you and what you saught to teach others is what their minds will mingle on when they think of you and what you stood for. So be mindful sis, live the legacy that you want to leave behind. It matters, and you matter.
Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni