Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Legacy.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis just over three years ago. It’s a devastating, very painful disease, with a five year mortality rate of about 5%. According to my gastrointestinal doctor, mine is progressing at a pace to fall within that window. So, barring some sort of miracle, I’ve got 1 ½ to 2 years left.

I’m not afraid to die. I have a deep, abiding faith in God and medical science. I’ve put my faith in Him and my medical team, hoping and praying for the best.

Staring death in the face changes a person. It’s caused me to re-evaluate what’s really important, and to think more about what I want to leave behind.

I’ve read somewhere that a person doesn’t truly die until the day comes that they’re no longer remembered. I’m a historian and genealogist. To read that really struck a nerve with me. I think of the number of people who have no idea who proceeded them beyond their parents and grandparents. I think of those who died on battlefields, defending flag and country and ideals. Those who died in man-made and natural disasters. Those who did great things that benefited mankind, and those who did even greater things that benefited friends and family.

I’ve done a lot of volunteer work over the years, mostly being involved in programs dealing with American history and family history. I don’t do as much as I used to thanks to this disease. Still, I’ve helped a lot of people find their ancestors and, in many instances, mark their long lost graves. I’ve helped organizations place monuments to Union and Confederate soldiers of the War Between The States. This is part of my legacy.

I hope to be remembered as a person with a big heart. I’ve always tried to be a giving person, even if it simply means giving someone a smile and ‘hello’ as we pass each other. I’ve worked with the elderly and children, giving them all a little love and comfort when they needed it.

I want to be remembered as a person who made people laugh. Remember me as a person who made fun of himself, and didn’t make fun of others. Remember my jokes, even the corny ones.

I want to be remembered as a loving husband, brother, and uncle. My wife is my rock, especially as we both take this journey. My nieces and nephews will, hopefully, remember me through the Christmas ornaments I send them every year.

I want to be remembered by my ‘brothers and sisters from other mothers.’ You know who you are, and I am truly blessed to have all of you in my life.

I want people to speak well of me, to laugh when they think about me. More than anything, I want people to say one thing about me when I’m gone.


“He was a good guy.”

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