What Will You Leave Behind?

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Two weeks ago, I lost my precious Dad.  I really am struggling to process that he is gone; even though we’ve known for the last month that the end was near.  I’m here in New Mexico with my Momma for a few weeks at the home place where I was raised, and I’m so thankful for the time together.

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Mom and Dad in front of the old adobe ranch house

We had the funeral just a few miles from the Ranch where my mother was born and raised and where, since my Dad retired 35 years ago, he and Mom have spent several days each week ranching and relaxing in the old adobe house that my mother was raised in.  It was a beautiful funeral, all of it outside with the mountains in the distance.  It was a hot day, but the men set up canopies with 150 chairs underneath, so everyone had shade.  It was so perfect.  I really have no words to describe what it meant to all of us to be there in the dusty New Mexico ranch land that he loved so much.

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One of the cards mom received this week

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I have so many things I want to share about Dad.  But today in this blog post I’d like to ask you a question:

What do you want to leave behind when your life on this earth is over? 

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Do you want to be remembered for your great accomplishments?  For an amazing sense of humor?  For wealth or possessions?  Maybe an incredible life-long career?

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As my Mom and I sit outside off and on throughout the days these last two weeks, we have this conversation and ask ourselves this question.   My Dad was an incredible man.  He had so many redeeming qualities that all of us in the family love to share and talk about.  And Dad would never want us to sit and discuss all his amazing qualities because humble could’ve been his middle name!

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But here is the thing.  Every card we’ve received in the last two weeks (SO MANY CARDS) and every conversation with people that call, stop in to visit, or were at the funeral and dinner afterwards have mentioned a constant word in sharing their memories of Dad.  Every.single.time.

That word is KIND

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This is obviously no surprise to me of my siblings.  We knew the kindness of our Dad.  We felt it our entire life, we witnessed it in how he treated our mother and how he treated others.  But to hear that word over and over and over… we are in awe of the fact that literally EVERYONE not only felt kindness from our Dad, but it hugely impacted their lives.

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He knew how to hold his ground if something wasn’t honest or upright.  He raised us kids with firm discipline, but incredible kindness in that discipline.  He stood for truth always.  He taught us amazing values, work ethics and honesty.  He was never, ever afraid to stand for what was right.  But in it all, kindness was key.

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So, the question comes to me so many times throughout the day, usually followed by tears.

“What will I leave behind”?

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If there is one word that others will say about me, what would I want it to be?  I want to learn from my dear sweet Daddy, what kindness really means.  Sometimes it is going to mean being kind in hard experiences, standing true for what I believe is right, holding steady an example of faith, always in kindness.   I want to dig deep inside my soul where I know kindness dwells and let it become the thing that I leave behind.

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My Dad gave the best hugs

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And he had the absolute best smile!

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So… dear farmgirl friends, tell me.  What will you leave behind?  Please share by leaving me a comment!  After thinking on this for so many days, I’m eager to hear what your thoughts are!

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My sweet Mom and Dad about six months ago. 

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Oh how I miss my Dad.

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori 

 

Leave a comment 18 Comments

  1. Bonnie I says:

    Kind is a nice adjective to strive for. Fair, honest, caring and loving would also be a nice way to be remembered.
    So sorry for your loss! God be with you.

  2. Deborah says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost your dad. It sounds like he was a wonderful man, and had a wonderful life. What a great testament to hear that everyone he knew described him as kind!

  3. Kim Reineke says:

    Wonderful post, as always. My sympathies for the loss of your dad.

  4. shawna says:

    So sorry for your loss!
    My dad stepped into heaven a year ago August 1. At his memorial service the thing that people mentioned to us the most was my dad’s servant heart. He was always trying to help & always volunteering for anything he could. That is what I want to be remembered for is always being willing to help others. I think that is the best way to honor my dad by following in his footsteps of service.

  5. Ellen M Andersen says:

    Dori, I’m so sorry about your Dad. I miss my Mom and Dad so very much. I’ve found something that helps with the grief and loss…..
    On clear starry nights, I look at the stars and find the two that (for me) are Mom and Dad….I talk to them and I feel that they hear me. Sometimes there are tears but there is always a warm feeling in my heart when I say goodnight and head inside.
    I hope that you can find something like that to help, too. I am in the Blueridge mountains of West Virginia where the night skies are clear. Your beautiful ranch will have a sky like that with stars you could almost reach out and touch.

  6. Colleen says:

    My prayer is that I leave “peace” in the hearts of my loved ones.

    The familiar “God’s Peace” greeting in our lives has always felt so special. Whether times were good, hard, painful, or challenging . . . the simple hello (or goodbye) of “God’s Peace” seems to make everything right.

    I hope that my friends and family, my children, especially, will remember me with a feeling of peace in their hearts

  7. Tenia Griggers says:

    You got me to thinking about my own left behind sentiments

    For you- you are a wonderful blogger that makes an impact in-mine and others lives

    God bless you

  8. Laurie Lasala-Tuttle says:

    I’m so sorry Dori, much love for you and your momma. Kindness, patience, honesty, trying to uplift others. Not just one quality, but kindness has always been the most important to me.

  9. Debbie Fischer says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Dori. What a wonderful way to be remembered, for being Kind. You Dad sounds like a great man.
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  10. Lisa says:

    the passing of your dear father. He sounds like an incredible man. How blessed are you to have him as your dad.

    Your question of what do I want to leave behind really has me thinking and rethinking how I move through this life. Kindness is the ultimate goal but for me, I need to work on patience and grace first.

    Thank you for this thought provoking post. Praying for God’s comfort, peace, and healing in your time of grief.

  11. Beth says:

    Dear Dori, I pray God’s comfort for you and your family and friends on the passing of your dad. I’m also the daughter of a dad (who passed in 2001) who was known for his kindness, generosity, honesty, and love of people. We’re so blessed. And, better yet, we know we’ll see our dads again. God’s peace, love.

  12. Jeanie says:

    I have had the amazing experience of meeting 3 people in my life who truly exuded kindness, and every time it rocked me and made such an impression on my soul. Kindness flowing in all its glory is truly an amazing and impacting thing of beauty. I think it shines so brightly to us because this world is so in need of this gift. Yes, I want to be one of the kind ones.
    Thanks for the reminder, and I pray peace for you and your family as you go through this season of loss.

  13. Brenda Grossie says:

    Dori,

    Like you, my dad was know for his patience and kindness. I have spent my life trying to be known for the patience and kindness he taught me.

    May God be with you on this new journey and may He bring you peace as you follow his lead.

  14. Marilyn says:

    Sorry about your Dad. Hope you can take comfort in your treasured memories. May he rest in peace. I want to be remembered as a kind and gentle lady.
    Marilyn

  15. E. Burke says:

    Dear Dori,
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. You can be so proud to be his daughter, as it is evident he taught you his many virtues: kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, sincerity and many more attributes you share with so many people through your blog!
    My sincere condolences to you, your Ma and family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    I’m here for you, if you ever need to talk.
    Love,
    Eileen B.

  16. Marcie says:

    Dori, my heart goes out to you and your family on the loss of your Dad. Treasure the memories of your hero.

    I never knew my real dad but my father-in-law was the father I never had and I told him so, many times; he always called me his daughter, too. He was the kindest man I ever knew.

    The legacy I hope to leave behind is in the name of nature, in all the things my husband and I have done over the past 30 + years and are still doing, from creating a nature club on the Texas Gulf Coast to helping preserve an endangered species habitat to building our own little sanctuary in our yard, and providing shelter, food, water and habitat for the little creatures of Mother Nature.

  17. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. So difficult to lost parents. They have always been there for you and know you better than anyone else in the world. Kindness is a wonderful attribute and obviously your dad touched many people in his life with being kind. that is a beautiful legacy. I miss my parents every day and am thankful God gave me a caring Mom and Dad to guide me in life.

  18. Tammie Novak says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your dear daddy…he LOOKS like he was very kind…it shows in his smile! What an amazing legacy he left behind…truly a wonderful reminder of the attributes we should strive for in this life. God’s blessings to you and your family!

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