I fear death. Not because I am afraid it will be painful or even really of what happens after it, not before I fear more of what I will leave behind.
For mind, the idea of leaving two children behind, with a Mother having to do it all by herself is both painful to think about and terrifying at the same time.
My two children are at an age that if I die today – I will be forgotten. Their little minds would not know any better and soon enough I would become an absent void. Photos would serve as ways of recreating what they once had, but not tying memories to emotion. That would have disappeared forever. My wife would remember me but no doubt that would be clouded by the pain of loss long before the laughs come of what I would hope would of been great memories.
There are a lot of quotes out there about living and dying — of legacy. I asked my self what legacy really means, what it means for me, rather than to me;
For the two-to-three generations that preceded me, a lot happened. A book in and of itself could have been written. Much of it good but equally much of it not so good. In the two-to-three generations that proceed after me I ponder what will be remembered, what will be forgotten and what will it all mean. I’d be lying to you if I said I am not almost entirely obsessed about living out a life worthy of creating enough legacy to not be forgotten.
When I look back upon photographs of my previous generations I know only of what I can see in the crinkled black and whites, faded sepias and stories that have been passed down, in snippets… fragments. Part of it out of naiveté I’m sure. Before that I have no idea of who they were or what they did. I’m fascinated to know and I often ask.
But what is it like when one doesn’t have to ask these questions because the world already knows the answers? Because of a legacy tattooed upon the human race, irrespective of culture, generation, nationality, religion, gender. When the name of an individual speaks stories and movements that have shaped mankind forever.
I fear being forgotten in three generations from now and it deeply saddens me. Right now in this moment my life has so much meaning. My kids do. My wife does. The moments have meaning. The things that happen have meaning. The feelings I have – they all have meaning. The thought that all of this won’t even be remembered by anyone in three generations from now is almost paralysing.
Part of me knows why I blog here, why I create videos and articles, why I am obsessed with putting out content online. I have a clear vision for the materialistic and secure life I want for my family and I have no quarrels in saying I have every intention monetising all that I do to fulfil that very purpose. But then there is the deeper reason. The reason that each day I feel more and more compelled to keep going – even when I don’t get paid yet to do all that I do here. Legacy.
A part of me puts faith in a belief that if I tear the fabric of time enough, in small stages, with different people, at a large enough scale but also an equally and small enough one that something big may come of it. Big enough to last forever. To be remembered. Not remembered for a small moment where I existed in the lime light or in a picture packed away in an album. Rather, because of where collective moments of lives were transformed, touched or impacted, where industries were shifted, where I shaped society or I changed some part of the world.
Everyone I’m sure has a humble intention to do these things. I wonder though what differentiates those that actually do it and those that become a fragment.
To me, the only way to stay remembered, to not be truly forgotten is to create and leave a legacy that the world will always remember. We won’t be around to experience or feel it. The legacy wont be for me or you to feel, to enjoy, to observe and reflect on. Legacy is manifested via emotion and in honour of the actual emotions themselves, my intentional hope is that someone else can experience them someday again. That someone else can live out the emotions when I’m gone. I guess that’s how we can last forever. Indirectly anyway.
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Image linked courtesy of Snopes.com.