WE SPEND MUCH of our life planning our future. In school, we plan our classes and educational future and perhaps what college we want to attend. Once we meet our partners, we plan weddings, births, vacations and hopefully many other simchas of life together. As professionals, we plan our financial future, where to live, and when to retire. However, we often spend very little time planning for our inevitable death and the planning we do usually centers on our finances or financial legacy rather than our personal life and legacy.
Every one of us has lived a life with hope and disappointment, love and loss, good times and bad times. Every one of us has something to teach and share with our families and future generations. All too often, we are so busy doing, we don’t take the time to stop and share until it is too late. One of the ways, we help families manage this process is through our pre-planning guide. It reminds us to take the time, and share one’s important stories, from work accomplishments, to philanthropic involvement to personal family stories. Anna, a 76-year-old grandmother of four shares the stories of preparing hundreds of fish balls for Rosh Hashanah. She describes the nachas she receives from cooking with her daughter and granddaughter and how she hopes it will continue from generation to generation. Anna makes sure to leave a printed copy of the recipe with her personal legacy. Basil describes the hard work of founding a shul in a new town and country. The trials and tribulations he experienced bring him back to his childhood and remind him that his father did the same as a young man in South Africa. He records for his family, “I guess we were both destined to wander but not from our faith just from our homeland.” Alongside his wise words, is a photo of him dedicating a torah and another photo of his father nailing in a mezuzah.
Is your personal legacy, one of faith, one of hard work, perseverance and commitment or perhaps one of dedication to your family? Ask yourself, if this was the last conversation I could have with my child or grandchild, what would I say, what do I want them to remember about me and how do I let them know how much I love them. The personal legacy is just that—your personal thoughts, feelings and hopes recorded for future generations to review, reflect and remember. Think of this as the antithesis to your baby book, your legacy book provides insight into your greatest accomplishments, your follies, your family and friends and your hopes and dreams for future generations.
Death is a natural part of living. Previous generations’ experience, love, decisions and preparation have made an impact on our lives, so one’s death will not be the end of one’s legacy. Actively plan your legacy whether it be a collection of recipes, a personal letter, a family tree passed down to the next generation or a compilation of your favorite songs. How, why and for what do you want to be remembered?
Basil Luck and Renay Teper are licensed to educate and provide pre-need services specializing in the Orange County area—specifically Pacific View and Harbor Lawn, through the Dignity Memorial® network, North America’s largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services. Families turn to them for compassionate and professional final arrangements. Dignity Memorial providers care for more than 300,000 families each year and understand the importance of thoughtful, personalized arrangements. For more information please contact Renay.Teper@dignitymemorial.com or call (949) 939-6751.