Recently my husband's 100 year old Grandmother died. She had an incredible impact on my life. She filled a grandma void I didn't know I needed filled. Both my grandmothers died either before I was born or when I was very young. When I married my husband 24 year ago I inherited this incredibly sweet, positive compassionate grandma and over the years we have become very close. I feel very blessed to have had her influence in my life. Grandma had 10 children, 54 grandchildren and 151 great grandchildren. Her reach was far and wide in this world. She left an amazing legacy.
My sister in law shared this quote recently in regards to Grandma and it has stayed with me and caused me to think deeply. I have incredibly talented sisters who make gorgeous quilts and give them to their children and grandchildren. I can imagine in many years their great grandchildren wrapped up in those quilts feeling the love of their grandmother. I have family members who are musicians and authors whose music and words will last far beyond their earthly life and bless their posterity and many others for years to come. Some leave their kids a monetary inheritance and help provide some financial stability. I am not a quilter, a talented musician or wealthy. I dabble in writing and would love to pen a children's book someday, but even if I do that, what truly is my legacy going to be? Is my legacy about my accomplishments and what I do, or is it more than that?
Grandmother Layton's legacy was leaving everyone she came into contact better than she found them. Her sweetness, love and compassion touched all she had influence on. My 5 children had a sweet relationship with her (how many kids truly know their great grandma? such a gift she lived so long) and all believe they are her favorite. I too think I'm one of her favorites....however here's the thing. All 10 children, 54 grandchildren and 151 greats, her friends and neighbors believe the same thing. How did she do it? How did everyone she came into contact with believe they are her favorites?
When you had time with her she focused on you, she truly listened, she wasn't distracted. She would tell you over and over how honored she was you would come see her. She remembered my kids names and what they were interested in, even up until age 97/98 (her memory started to slip a little after that, but she still made you feel like a million bucks). She sent hand written birthday cards to each of her great grandchildren until the last year (remember she has 151!). She didn't buy fancy gifts or have the latest home decor. She didn't do anything fancy....she sat on her couch and listened. She held your hand, she looked you in the eye, she smiled and laughed. She built you up and told you how wonderful you were. She almost always shared her testimony of Jesus as well. THIS is her legacy. Now I know she wasn't always perfect at this, she changed and grew and became who she was at 100, this is about becoming and the journey, not perfection.
I want to be like Grandma. I want my legacy to be everyone who comes into contact with me feels better about themselves. I want them to feel compassion and acceptance no matter their mistakes or choices. I want them to feel the love of Jesus. I want them to know they have divine and infinite worth and they are loved by their Heavenly Parents. I don't need money or talent or worldly things to leave this type of legacy. All I need is love and time. All I need is to put my phone and other distractions away and give my loved ones my undivided attention, look them in the eye and let them know how important they are to me. Grandmother Layton, thank you for your indelible impact on my life, I am changed for the good because I knew you.