How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Have you ever thought about how you want to be remembered when you die?

I know it sounds dark and depressing. After attending a memorial service earlier this month for my Uncle Ron, I think differently about the question.

Sonny McLean's 12-24-11

The service was unlike any memorial I’ve attend. Instead of clergy, my husband officiated.  Several guests spoke including me, my mother (his sister), 2 of his kids and his 7 year old grandson. Because of my uncle’s service in Vietnam, the memorial ended with the presentation of the American flag by the Military Honor Guard. My heart filled as I looked around at all of the people who came to pay final respects to a man who had lived his life fully.

And that was perhaps the most beautiful part of the service. Each of us who spoke had a different perspective and experience with Uncle Ron as children, sister, niece and grandson. Yet the theme of what we had to say remained the same. My uncle lived his life to the fullest. He knew who he was and what he enjoyed – motorcycles, fast and classic cars, travel, family and sharing those experiences with others. We will remember him as a sharing, generous, and knowledgeable man with an adventurous (and mischievous!) spirit.

We all saw the same qualities in him. And isn’t that what leaving a legacy is all about?

I left the service feeling deeply touched and self-reflective. I wondered what will people say about me?  In a lot of ways I hope to live as my uncle did (though as much as I love an adventure, I can live without the motorcycles!).

In order for people to say those words you have to live that way. Thanks to my Uncle Ron, who passed before his time, I am inspired to live my life fully, to enrich the lives of others by sharing experiences, to lean into fear instead of resist it and to always make my best effort. I’m inspired to think more about how I want to be remembered and take action everyday to make that a reality. Most importantly I’m more inspired to make a difference in the lives of others while I can, however I can.

Thank you Uncle Ron. You shared a lot of yourself over the years and I am forever grateful. Love and miss you.

How about you? Have you ever given any thought to how you want to be remembered? Are you living your life that way every day?

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  • Lori Johnson

    I think of that often. Strive to live up to how I would like to be remembered – A positive leader, caring, compassionate, fun to be around, tons of friends, asset to the business community, help as many people as possible feel better about themselves, enjoy & appreciate life, never gives up, just to name a few of my thoughts.

  • Stacey Shipman

    Really makes you think, doesn’t it Lori? We can only hope by acting that way today! Thanks for commenting.

  • Gwen Morgan

    Hi Stacey, my condolences for the loss of your Uncle Ron, but I love that you are reminding your audience to think about their lives, and to give thought to how they want to be remembered. This is a huge part of my ‘What if … philosophy’: get your affairs together in one place, communicate that you have done so, and live your life fully, knowing that you have given your loved ones a special gift by making good decisions while well, and of sound mind and body. We only have 1 beautiful life to live, and we must honor ourselves by living it with meaning, purpose, and joy!

    I agree with you … I can do without the Harleys.

    • Stacey Shipman

      Hi Gwen! Thanks for the comment. I know that you get this! We rarely think with the end in mind – who wants to? But when affairs are in order we can live fully. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Stacey Shipman

    Hi Gwen! Thanks for the comment. I know that you get this! We rarely think with the end in mind – who wants to? But when affairs are in order we can live fully. Thank you for stopping by!

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