She was only 74. Drank and smoked heavily. Not her whole life, mostly after her husband of 40 years passed away from cancer. Then, despite her three wonderful children, she just didn’t care anymore.
So the legacy she left behind was a smoky bar full of drinking friends. Her kids say she left a long time ago and they were ready for her to go and tired of watching her kill herself over the last 15 years. That’s what she really left behind.
I think about what I’ll leave behind, probably more than I should. I always have.
My grandmother died in her 60’s. An overdose of her daughters morphine and wine. My favorite aunt died at 45, vodka and anorexia. My real father, paralyzed during the Vietnam war in his twenty’s, later died of a mixed cocktail of Budweiser and pain pills, or so I’ve been told. I could go on. Entire generations killing themselves off with some form of self-medication or another.
Death is just right there around the corner waiting for us to do something stupid. Or to continue to do a whole lot of somethings stupid.
I’d like to change what I leave behind, for myself and for my children and their children. I’m perplexed by how stupidly difficult it is.