Ordinary Legacy

If truth is going to have a definition, then one must start with the ultimate truth: We are all going to die. I am going to die.

Hell of a way to start a story, I know.

You don’t know how many times I said those words out loud as an expression of exasperation of my once-upon-a-time situation, never grasping the literal meaning. It was not until the irony became clear that my truth came crashing in on me.

I thought my truth was in holding fast to my marriage vows in the midst of my husband’s 18-year cocaine addiction. I thought my truth was insuring that, when he finally realized life was worth living sober, he would have a solid life to return to; good credit, a home, family and friends all preserved. I worked hard at what I thought my truth was until, finally, I truly thought I would die.

I found my truth in the ironic realization that none of what I was doing had anything to do with me; I found my truth when he got sober and I was still alone. Everyone had moved on. He did have a home, good credit, family and friends and a legacy he could step into. The word “legacy” resonated so strongly with me because I knew I didn’t have one. I had given it away and I needed to establish one based on my life – because we are all going to die.

I am going to die.

It bears repeating because I’ve discovered so many of us are obsessed with trying to live forever and accumulate wealth and things that we never concentrate on the ordinary moments in time that are rushing past.

When my focus moved off of only one person and moved out to many people, myself included, I noticed all the stories, the moments, the people living and leaving ordinary legacies all around me. I felt compelled to do the same. The lessons I learned about leaving an ordinary legacy are powerful.

Be that person, the go-to, someone’s first call, without losing yourself and without losing your truth. This means creating boundaries and life rules and self care. It means being a safe place through wisdom and compassion for yourself and those you care about.

Serve others when you can; even the smallest efforts are impactful. Do this without expectation of any reward, other than the knowledge that you did something good.

Be kind to yourself and others. You can’t begin to know what another is going through. I know no one could begin to know what I was going through.

Embrace the ordinary; it’s truly where legacy resides. So many of the legacy moments I noticed were small gestures, kitchen table wisdom, natural and not manufactured. They were impromptu dinners or walks or phone calls or rain showers or cool evenings.

Never defend your truth. Listen, understand, and learn, but never defend. I’ve been criticized for what I gave up, I’ve been pitied for the way things turned out, but I have no malice. It’s all part of my story, all part of the choices I made, all part of what has made me what I am today.

I began writing “Ordinary Legacy” with the hope that people would see that everyone is leaving a legacy and that you can nurture it, you have control of it, you can live your life the way you want your story told. I continue to write “Ordinary Legacy” because I know that I am not going to live forever. I am going to die, but I want to leave behind something ordinary yet significant that will live on.

I want so very much to help others do the same through story seeking and telling. There are so many stories to be told and preserved through words and images and the touch of a hand. I’d love to tell as many as I can in the time I’ve been given. I don’t know how much time that will be, nor does anyone, but wasting it on the pursuit of anything but truth just doesn’t seem an option. I hope you’ll join me in doing the same.

About the Author | Sandi LoConti

Sandi LoConti is a writer, story seeker and preservationist, accidental photographer and lover of all things ordinary. She is the curator of ordinarylegacy.com dedicated to gathering and preserving the ordinary stories that make up extraordinary legacies. She believes in food for thought and moments in time. She is living her life the way she wants her story told happily on Stowe Lane. Find Sandi’s work at www.ordinarylegacy.com.

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7 comments to "Ordinary Legacy"

  • Terri

    That was a beautiful story. So are the many others you have written which i have eagerly read and sometimes been a part of. Your words are your truth and your wisdom is hard won. Keep leaving your legacy. We all will reap the benefits of your journey to a life well lived.

  • Beverlee King

    This touches my heart. Yes, “It’s all part of my story, all part of the choices I made, all part of what has made me what I am today”. That is what I have tried to share with my daughters..no regrets.

  • Patricia

    I enjoyed that. You always give me a lot to think about. I just finished reading Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan. One of the things that struck me was when the author, as a young girl, thought that life happens when you leave the house to have adventures. With maturity, she realized that plenty of life happens at home. Good stuff.

  • Muriel

    “Be that person, the go-to, someone’s first call…” That you are and I am forever grateful!
    Your journey has made you one of the best in my book xoxoxoxox

  • Jackie McD

    I so needed this today. Give yourself credit for helping one more soul. The entire theme of Ordinary Legacy has given me a conformation, a clarity I have been looking for. Three days ago my mother passed away and reunited in spirit with my father fifteen years after he had a freak accident that led to his death at 72.. For eleven of those years I was responsible for managing her care after she moved to my town. She lived in her own home until three years ago when she required an assisted living environment.

    As her oldest daughter the role of family matriarch has now been passed to me. The role of being the family glue in simple ordinary ways as my mother has since my father’s death. None of my three siblings live close so it’s just been Mom and me most of the time. We enjoyed ordinary things as well as many a crisis that she pulled out of with me by her side. She called me her “Go to Girl”. I confirmed that as I whispered in her ear as she was taking her last breaths. I let her know that the family she and Dad created was in good hands. Maybe not in so many words, but I know she knew.

    My mother wasn’t a career woman. Her career was her family. Her life was full of simple and ordinary things like creating things with her hands, growing her beautiful garden, decorating her home, displaying photos of her family anywhere there was space. This is the ordinary legacy she leaves to me. It shows me that I can continue to make a difference in this world and in our family one loving conversation at a time. Sharing my intuition and experiences in love and family to help someone else.

    I am grateful to live by my mother’s example of having an ordinary legacy.

  • Kyle

    Brava, Cara! Your writing never ceases to amaze, amuse, enlighten and delight me. (and so many others, too).

  • loriass😉

    Well told Sandi. I have learned so much from this writing and now understand #ordinarylegacy. You are an inspiration.