Legacy lives in the little things
Published 7:04 pm Monday, April 24, 2006
We thought it might be just the six of us, a quiet goodbye from family on a warm Florida day.
But as we gathered for my grandmother's funeral recently, good friends from her nearly two decades in the sunshine state trickled in to say their farewells.
These were ladies who recognized me not only because I share my grandmother's strong chin but also because they saw me grow up in framed school photos in my grandmother's house.
I could see the whole of my grandmother's life in those few moments with that handful of ladies.
More than wife, mother, grandmother, Eleanor Whipple was also a good friend, a faithful volunteer for hospice, a founder of Port Orange Presbyterian Church.
In the years since her two “boys” had grown up, she and my grandfather fashioned a much-deserved life in retirement in Florida.
But my grandmother didn't stop at leisure, spending many hours volunteering and working for her church, even after my grandfather's death.
Life never stopped for her; perhaps that's why her death, just a few months shy of her 90th birthday, was such a shock.
Often we go about our daily lives not realizing the impact we leave behind.
But the little things we do - sharing a laugh with a friend, taking time to volunteer in the community, sending letters just to catch up - build our legacy.
Our grandparents love us unconditionally because of who we are.
If we are lucky, we get to know them not just as older versions of our parents but as real people, as so much more than people who send birthday cards and take us to Disney World.
My grandmother left me with fond memories of her infectious giggle and the type-written notes she would send to say hello.
But she has also left me with the legacy of a woman - wife, mother, grandmother, friend - I can try hard, for the rest of my life, to emulate.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at email@example.com.