Legacy is a word I strain against. A word I don’t want to accept, or even face. She never took a breath, never opened her eyes, weighed so little in my arms: how could she have a legacy? I don’t expect my living children to do ‘great’ things; I only want them to grow and live and love and be happy. She can do none of those things and I don’t want her to ‘make a difference;’ I just want her to be here.
Stop being so resistant, I tell myself. Stop being such a grief curmudgeon. Maybe that’s not even what legacy means. What does legacy mean? Look it up. A bequest made to descendants, of property,or goods.
Ha. Well, when you never breathe, never open your eyes, weigh so little in my arms, you don’t have descendants, or property or goods to bequeath, either. Vindication.
Why am I so hostile to the idea of legacy? Of meaning? Of beauty that comes from the loss?
We went to Van Dusen Gardens today and I saw beauty everywhere: in the trees, the last remaining flowers, fallen leaves shaped like hearts. And each time, I thought of her. But it feels forced. I see something beautiful and I want to think: it’s because of her, or it’s part of her, or I see more because she was here.
But I don’t know that that’s true. I don’t know if I see more, see better…or if I see sadder. I see a heart-shaped leaf and think of her, but it feels less like a gift and more like an unfulfilled wish.
I am not graceful in my grief, or generous.
Maybe I am just not ready for legacy.