discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love

Considering A Legacy

Soulgatherings.wordpress.com provides a daily quote that invariably touches me.  Sometimes it is the words themselves, other times it is a thought that adheres to my brain and requires my attention for hours at a time.  Either way, it’s all good.  Yesterday’s poem by Carol Adrienne is fresh in my mind –

“Our purpose, I believe

is not a thing, place, title or even a talent.

Our purpose is to be.

Our purpose is how we live life,

not what role we live.

Our purpose is found in each moment

as we make choices to be who we really are.”

I had the privilege of circling in Fran’s orbit for twenty-two years.  She was my brother-in-law’s mom – no true familial connection that I can trace, yet a connection that I felt deeply.  She passed away last week, quietly, without pain, turning her slumber into what I hope is a new chapter in a story none of us fully understand.  Her son is choosing to remember with happiness and grace, the amazing woman he loved so deeply.  Denial?  Perhaps.  I’m not judging, for it would be hubris to suggest how one grieves.  That said, I think he’s on to something.  It resonates when thinking about what Fran would want.

What was remarkable about Fran was her insistence that she was not at all remarkable.  She raised two children, worked side by side with her husband and loved unconditionally.  Her life may not have been perfect, but it was perfect in her eyes.  Her son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, niece – all human, all subject to the qualities that define our humanity (the good and the less-than-ideal) – could not be more marvelous, gifted, loving, generous.  She would not brook any complaints, whines, dissatisfactions – her purpose was to live with love.  Period.  Fran didn’t try to change your point of view to hers; she changed your mind because you would look at her face and see a sense of peace that few reflect so consistently.  And so you’d wonder what she had figured out that completely eluded you.  And you’d want to spend more time with her – if only to bask in the reflected light that she saw in everyone.  I can’t imagine how it must have felt to ever disappoint her and she would never tell you.  Fran left it up to you to figure it out.  How one human being treats another; how we show our love to those we ostensibly hold the closest.  She taught you by showing you, there were no words or reprimands or chilly shoulders.  She lived her love.

And though it’s been a while since Fran was at Thanksgiving, she will be remembered next Thursday with wine glasses raised and full hearts.  For to have known Fran was to be given a chance to see someone live her life with the highest purpose; to be loved by Fran was to have your heart opened to the incredible power of simple goodness.  Safe journey Fran and thank you for those many mornings all those years ago, when we watched the sunrise as your family slept, and wondered aloud at the fantastic serendipity that brought us to those two chairs by the sea.



45 thoughts on “Considering A Legacy”

  1. Your post left within me a desire to have counted Fran as a friend, dear Mimi. What a wonderful tribute. I would love to have known her and to have such words said about me at the end of my life.

    1. She counted everyone she met as a friend Russ – and my hunch is that you would have found a great deal in common with her. Most importantly though, I hope her family is comforted by the knowledge that she was a remarkable example of a life well – and truly – lived.

  2. What a beautiful send off, Mims, for what is clearly a beautiful human being. We should all be so fortunate to have a Fran in our midst to set such an example of what we are all capable of. What a gift you have given Fran, and your families, and all of those who got to bask in her warmth. A gift like no one else could do, especially at this fragile moment of loss. xox

    1. Oh BonBon, that was my hope – to do her justice and to give her family my heartfelt thoughts right now. Thank you so much for feeling what I intended..xox

  3. What a lovely paean to a clearly incredible soul, honey. You are blessed to have known her, and she you. I’m sure she cherished your times together equally. There are a handful of people that we meet in this journey who seem to have found the “secret sauce” that allows them to view every day as a wonder and a gift. It’s certainly something I aspire to. Thank you for sharing your friend. May she rest with the angels… Xox, l

    1. Hi lovely – she really was someone extremely special – underscoring the reality that the most remarkable among us are often those with whom we spend the most innocent of moments. She had the ‘secret sauce’ in bucketfuls. xox

  4. mimi – what a beautiful tribute to fran, she sounds like a very special person who touched everyone she met. i’m sorry for the loss of fran in your life but happy you carry her spirit with you ) beth

    1. Thank you – I carry many wonderful moments with Fran and yes, she touched everyone she met. As a result, I know there are many who were as gifted as I was. Most importantly though her love for her family and their love for her, was a beautiful dynamic to see, even if from the periphery..

  5. Wonderfully written words about a beautiful soul. She was pure kindness and love, and you have to respect and admire someone who could distill life down to those simple ingredients. Mimi, you did a great job of capturing Fran’s essence in your words.

  6. Sitting by your side as you received “the” phone call and having a front row seat to your brother-in-law’s strength, courage and love, it was no surprise to hear from you what a remarkable woman Fran was. The choice to celebrate her for what she’s left behind speaks deeply of who she was more than words. To impact so many, to choose to see the beauty in everyone and to leave behind a group of people who are talented and bright – and remember to see themselves as she saw them – now that’s a gift and a legacy to be proud of. Your words here, today, make me quite proud of you, too, my friend. Beautiful and understated; a fitting tribute to a woman loved by many for her positivity and kindness. As Andy said, you “captured her essence”. It is these words that make me feel I know her as I recognize the tremendous loss and send my condolences to all of you lucky enough to have been in her circle. May those memories help you all heal and put smiles on your faces as you sit around on Thanksgiving and celebrate a live well-lived.

    1. Thank you sweetie – I truly believe that her family saw her truly for the loving, kind woman she was. Her lessons were those of the forever kind and her family learned from a master. We will toast to her with full hearts next week.

      1. Please raise a glass for me. Your words made her very much alive and made the reader (me) feel the loss and realize what she left behind speaks volumes. Speaking with you and listening to your voice both whistful and full of admiration touched my soul.

    1. That’s really all that it’s about Jill – after spending all those years driven to achieve, I have learned that the only thing that matters to me is how well I have loved those that I love and whether I realized daily how flippin’ blessed I am. hugs, m

  7. “For to have known Fran was to be given a chance to see someone live her life with the highest purpose; to be loved by Fran was to have your heart opened to the incredible power of simple goodness.” – This brought tears…such beautiful goodness and love. Thank you for your words, Mimi.

    1. Thank you for being so touched by this small attempt to do Fran justice. She has left a legacy we would all be well served to try and replicate…hugs, m

  8. mimi..it is so hard to type when one’s eyes are dripping with tears and one is blowing their nose

    i was the lucky daughter in law that was gifted with fran..or nanny as we all called her. over the 33 years that i knew her, her wisdom and love were all consuming. we should all experience a loved one as a role model…her effect on me as a woman, wife and mother was profound.
    she was one of the most accepting people i’ve ever met and her love knew no boundaries. over the years i would write down and save her ‘nannyism’s” as i was always struck by the words of wisdom that flowed from her heart. the one that she gave to me recently which touches me beyond words is: ‘if you don’t live with your memories, you have nothing”….i am blessed that she knew how much i loved her.
    thank you for paying such a magnificent tribute to her. xoxo

    1. You were her beloved daughter-in-law Sus – and she loved you in a powerful, boundless way. I am grateful you had that in your life and will as a result, always have that awareness with you. And she know how loved she was – which is arguably the greatest gift one can give another. Sending you all my love …m

  9. It’s no wonder why Fran’s son is mourning with the same grace as his mother. He must have been paying attention to her all of his life and when the time came, applied her lessons when he needed her most. You described a beautiful life and she left a wonderful legacy. My condolences to the family. Xo Fran

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