Day 4: Legacy
“For you never had a voice, I will never silence mine.”
Carrying over from yesterday’s theme about myths, today we explore the idea of legacy. Yesterday I said that it is more of a myth when someone says to me “You are so brave”, when I feel that I would be no braver than you in the face of losing a child.
When I think of the word “legacy” I instead think of what I would have left behind for my son; an inheritance or as many of life’s lessons that I could teach him. I never thought that my own child would leave something behind for me.
Yet, here I am left with Leo’s Legacy. The idea that I won’t ever understand ‘Why?’ but that I still must continue forward living, because it’s what I would have counseled my son to do in the face of devastating loss. I would have told him to be brave. To have courage. To be thankful and seek joy in the smallest of things. I would have told him that the world owes us nothing and we should give of ourselves for the joy it brings.
The photograph I’m showing here was taken a little over a year ago. I was working with my team and we were doing a photo-shoot in San Francisco. I saw this message beautifully strewn across an old beat-up truck. I think back to those words now — “Trust Your Struggle” — and in moments of deep introspection, I find comfort in this process. I find myself feeling awash with grief at times, when in the next moment I feel the warmth of gratitude. I have shed tears in public spaces; my desk at work, the train during my commute, my car on the drive home or even the grocery store, should I end up in the diaper aisle.
Even as little as a year ago, I would have held back. I would have stopped myself from just feeling. I have learned to trust these feelings of struggle. To know that the tomorrows I had wished for with my son will no longer be. His legacy to me is a reminder that I do have a voice. I do have a way to express this process, and where others might be afraid to trust their struggle, I will be the voice of reassurance that it’s okay.
Leo left me with reminder that I am his Mother. A Lioness. And I have a lot of roar left.