When it comes time to think about the legacy you’ll be leaving your family, most people think of the assets and property you own. But the memories you’ve made together with your loved ones are just as valuable and precious as any possession you will pass down.
As you begin collecting and writing down these memories, be sure to save them somewhere secure and accessible. Most importantly, make sure someone knows where they’re stored!
There are times when the written word is easier than the spoken one. A final letter is not only a beautiful legacy that family and friends can read over and over again, it’s also a healthy way to convey words and emotions you’ve held in your entire life.
Make each letter as short or as long as you want. Whether it’s regret about not mending fences, pride in your children’s accomplishments, or gratitude for having this person in your life, just be sure you say everything you want to say.
The combination of smell and taste
evoke some of our strongest memories. It could be your grandmother cooking at the stove, a particularly festive Christmas dinner, or the first time you tasted your mom’s favorite dish.
Your recipes are not only an irreplaceable legacy, they’re also a way for your family and friends to be close to you after you’ve left. Every time they gather to cook your dish, they’re triggering emotions and memories of you.
When’s the last time you looked through your mom’s photo album and realized you couldn’t remember who was who? Imagine how much more difficult it will be for your children or their children after you’ve left.
Adding context to your most memorable photos gives them an amazing amount of color. It’s could be as simple as identifying your vacation spot or the names of the people in your photo. Personalizing your album gives the next generation a much clearer picture of who you were and how you lived your life.
Your family tree is much more than simply a collection of dates and names. As you begin gathering information about your family and its branches, you’ll start to develop a more lifelike picture of your relatives and your family history.
Understanding your family history isn’t simply about the past, either. Knowing your family medical history and even your heritage can have significant health applications. Certain diseases can be passed down while other health conditions can indicate a genetic predisposition.
Remember the time the car broke down on the way to Disneyland? Or the Caribbean cruise your youngest learned how to swim? Regardless of whether it’s the journey or the destination, a memorable family vacation is an important part of your history and your family’s legacy.
Additionally, these vacations can often be much more vivid for you than your children. A written account of the trip is not only something your loved ones can pass along, it’s also a unique way to paint a picture of the trip from your perspective.
Your Love Story
Do you remember how your own parents met and fell in love? You might recall the place and time and maybe even the details, but what about their first date or how they got engaged? Being able to stitch together your full story into a tapestry is much more impactful than a couple of events here and there.
Writing down your own love story not only preserves these memories, it also gives you the chance to describe to your children the emotions you felt at that time. It could be a valuable lesson for them in the future.
Event TV has largely become a thing of the past, but some of you still remember that one show the entire family gathered around the TV to watch every single week. Or maybe your family went to the neighborhood park every Thanksgiving after the big lunch.
Family traditions like these create indelible memories, but what’s memorable for you isn’t necessarily the same for your children. Writing down your family traditions not only preserves them, it also lets you explain their significance for the next generation and beyond.
Do you still remember your grandmother’s honey remedy
for hay fever or using a hard boiled egg
to get rid of a bruise? They might seem old school in today’s tech-savvy world, but it’s the warm memory of being treated that stands out.
Think back to your most important days of the year. It could be your wedding anniversary or the day your child graduated from college. You’d be surprised how often those dates become important dates for your children and their families as well.
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