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How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Posted Jul 11 2012 10:23am

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.

Uncle Ron, Christmas 2011

Uncle Ron, Christmas 2011


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.

Uncle Ron in his 1957 Corvette

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.

Sonny McLean's Santa Monica, CA

Sonny McLean’s, Santa Monica, Christmas 2011

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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