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My Family’s Legacy

Once a year, my family (two daughters and my spouse) travel to Chicago to spend time with my parents. Inevitably during the stay, my father will insist that he pull out the old Kodak slide projector, set up the old white screen and sit everyone down so he can take us through literally hundreds of slides from his childhood to early adulthood.  

One would think that my daughters would be “checked-out” as he reminisced with my mom about their past, but that would be far from accurate.  All of us (my daughters included) are absolutely engaged, listening to the stories that accompany the slides; stories of distant relatives now deceased, of what was happening at the time in the world and country, laughing at themselves at the way they dressed to be “cool” and my parents enjoying the good-natured teasing of my daughters.  My kids would ask questions like “What first attracted you to each other?” “What was your first job?” “What did you do when your brothers went off to the war in Vietnam?” “What did you think of my mom when you first met her?” “What is the biggest lesson you learned in life?” “If you could do something in your life differently, what would you have done?”

Those times are precious and are rightfully to be cherished.  In those times my parents are able to reflect on their life well-lived, remember the blessings and the struggles, share about our family and cultural history and “pass on” that heritage; their legacy to their family.  Curiously, after those times my parents always thanked us for listening to them “ramble on” and expressed how much it meant to them to share their stories with family.  It seemed that through our listening they felt dignified and respected.

It has begun to dawn on me that there is a time coming when my parents won’t be around to share those stories anymore.  So I’ve decided that at our next visit, I’m going to set up a video camera and record them talking with their grandchildren because I want to capture their faces, laughter and tears as they remember both good and hard times. I want to do something that affirms that their lives and histories deserve dignity and respect. I want to preserve their legacy; my family’s legacy.

One of the reasons I am proud to work for PeopleCare Health Services is their core value of “Legacy.” We have the privilege of walking with clients, their families and those who provide care through difficult and trying times.  Driven by compassion, empathy and love, we are humbly invited into the lives of people at their most vulnerable.  For this reason, stay tuned about a new service we will offer called The Legacy Library that will seek to honor our clients and their loved ones by preserving through a video interview some of the history, stories and personality of those clients we’ve been privileged to know.