Leaving a Legacy

Some of you may know from my facebook page that we buried my papaw last week. It was a bittersweet time. Most of my happiest childhood memories involved my grandparents. And it’s tough saying “good-bye” to that. We already lost my mamaw almost 10 years ago. At the same time, his health declined rapidly after my mamaw’s death and we can rest in the knowledge that he is now free from the sorrows and pains of this world.

Neither of my grandparents were educated. I think my mamaw made it through the 8th grade, and I’m not sure about my papaw. They grew up in a time and place where there were things more pressing than education.

They weren’t wealthy people. My papaw worked hard and they had enough, but they weren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.

But my grandparents left a legacy. It wasn’t one of worldly success. In fact, but the world’s standards, my grandparents would have been average, at best.

It’s funny, because we always want to give our children the best things, things that will make them “happy.” Looking back through the years, I cannot remember one single material gift that my grandparents gave me. Don’t misunderstand, they did buy us gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and probably just because. But nothing extravagant. Nothing expensive. Nothing memorable.

Here’s what I do remember:

I remember playing Bible Trivia for hours with my Mamaw, and sliding down an old muddy hill with my cousins, papaw supervising.

I remember riding around the farm on the tractor, and joining in their nightly Bible reading and discussion when I spent the night there. I also remember that my Mamaw would read us stories at bedtime.

I remember Mamaw teaching me how to crochet a granny square (it was the easiest. I didn’t have the patience for much else), and playing our own made-up version of 20 questions while she cleaned up the kitchen.

I remember going to the Old Time Baptist church with them so many Sunday mornings.

I remember playing dress up with my Mamaw’s old party gowns (and wondering where she wore them!)

Looking back now, there are so many things I wish I’d thought to ask them, so many conversations I wish we could have and things I know I could learn from them now.

But in the midst of those regrets, there is a lesson to be learned for right now.  As I think on the kind of legacy I’m leaving in this life, and the kind of memories I’m building for my boys.

Many of my best memories as a child involve my Mamaw and Papaw, and they are all center around the same thing: time.

I pray that as I’m raising my children, I can keep this at the forefront and teach them the things I learned from my grandparents. They taught me about Jesus. They taught me about hard work, and simple living. And they taught me about making a person feel valued by giving the gift of time and attention.

In our world of “progress,” I fear that these simple things are being forgotten. But it’s what I want to teach my boys. I want them to learn about Jesus. I want them to learn about living for God and not yourself. I want to teach them about hard work and simple living—that “progress” doesn’t always mean better after all, and that connecting with someone is more than a button to push on facebook.


  1. jennirust says

    Crystal, this is why you blog. You are leaving a legacy of faith, family and the beauty of the written word. You made me cry! Beautiful words. =)

  2. says

    Oh praise God for this Blog. I have been thinking on my Nana all day… well alot lately. This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing and bringing a flood of emotions, All good!!!

    • Crystal says

      Doreen, you really blessed me with this comment! I’m praying for a blessing for you as well as you sift through memories of your own.

  3. says

    i am sorry for this great loss, and i hear you well after losing 3 special people in the last 3 months. blessings on you as you grieve and reflect on all the gifts that your family has left you …

    • Crystal says

      Thank you so much, Linda and I’m sorry that you have suffered loss of special people as well! Praying for comfort for you.

  4. says

    I am so sorry for your loss. I miss my grandparents all the time.

    for the questions that you didn't get to ask your grandparents, why nor ask your parents those questions and write the answers down for your kids. I am sure that they will have the same questions that you did.

    • Crystal says

      Yes, Meghan, I was so blessed! And I pray that I can teach those things to my children. Sometimes I know there is a gap between ideals and reality and I want that to get smaller.

  5. says

    And reliving these memories brings healing to your grieving heart, Crystal. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the legacy that your grandparents left you. It's an inspiring story that motivates us to be better spouses and parents as well. :)

  6. says

    Thank you for sharing! Such a great reminder and celebration of the importance of leaving a legacy that lasts with our children and families. So sorry for the loss of them, but so thankful that you had them for the time you did. blessings to you!

  7. says

    Your legacy is being written every day.
    What a beautiful tribute to such special folks in your life. I miss my Pap and Gram more than words can say. It’s hard to lose that connection to your past, and so hard to not have them there for one more day…

    Thanks for linking up at Homemakers Challenge today. I enjoyed visiting your blog!

    • Crystal says

      Thanks, Laurie! And thanks for hosting the homemakers challenge :) You’re right, our legacy is being written every day. The preacher at my papaw’s funeral said “You’re preaching your own funeral right now by how you live your life.” Definitely something to think about.

  8. Kristi Bartlett says

    What a good perspective! I hope I can leave a Christ-centered legacy for my children and grandchildren too.

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