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On Legacy, Bling, & Thank You Notes

By October 9, 2015 No Comments

It’s been years & sometimes it feels like forever and yesterday at the same time.  He was my son’s father and my husband for 22 years and we lost him too soon.

Memorial bench at Huron Meadows– photo credit: Bonnie Carpenter & Helen

Now that I’m clearing and resorting lots of things everything! in my life (hellooo empty nest) I’ve started to open and sort the boxes from his study – the ones I packed up and moved with me cross country. The ones I put in the back of the closet because even though I did a lot of hard and practical things when he died, these boxes were more than I could handle. (Grief is a tricksy thing, yeah?)

Closet full o' file boxes

Closet full o’ file boxes

Along with a bazillion photos of our son and their travels together (he loved being a dad more than anything, ever) — I expected to find stacks of medals, big trophies, newspaper clippings of award ceremonies. He was an accomplished and acclaimed athlete, coach, teacher — multiple times State Coach of the Year. But what I found instead?  – thank you notes. Piles and piles of thank-you notes tucked in 6 full file boxes.  Handwritten formal-on-stationary to scribbled backs of school photos — one was written around all around the edges of an end-of-year track banquet program.

“thanks for believing in me”

“thank you for all you’ve done for my son/daughter”

“you changed my life”

That’s what he had saved over the years – confirmation that he had made a difference, a contribution that mattered. His legacy.

Thank you noteSo that’s what I’m contemplating these days – what makes a difference, what makes a legacy. It sure as hell isn’t this wall full of medals and trophies (yep, bling is fun and I’m proud of my accomplishments – but enduring contribution? not so much).  Maybe this next part of life will have the answer, but in the meantime — I’ve got some thank-you notes to write.






Author Isabelle

Endurance athlete, writer, Chief Dog Smoocher

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