In a recent on camera interview I was posed a question I never saw coming. As the words came out, one by one, forming the sentence and posing the question, the hair on the back of my neck rose. My pulse quickened and my chest got tight.
Shit! I thought. Fight. Fight back the tears.
Coming off a few sleepless nights with two of my three children sick and not enough cover up to hide the bags under my eyes, I knew tears would certainly not improve my on camera appearance.
An interview about my journey with my brain tumor, diagnosis, perspective, surgical treatment, lessons learned, how our lives have changed, my view on what hope looks like.
One of the last questions posed was about my legacy. Specifically, if the birth of our daughter Harper is not the ultimate lasting legacy of hope on our brain tumor journey.
Just typing this, makes me cry. Damn. These producers know what screws to turn. I’m complimentary, they’re good at their jobs for sure.
Legacy. A word with depth. A question asked with a deeply personal and complex response.
I’d never considered my legacy and yet, here I was, sitting in a conference room, face to face with a producer, camera and lights in my face being asked what my legacy is and will be. Ready, set, go! Panic!
So, I’ve been processing this question, my response and ultimately what this means. It’s a little unnerving that my response on camera likely shows the unraveling of my emotions clearly visible on my face and recorded on film for posterity. So it is. That’s life lived out loud with honesty.
So what will my legacy be?
I suppose I can only say what I hope it will be.
First and foremost, I don’t want my children to feel burdened to carry my legacy. I hope they’ll each grow to create their own legacy and leave their own mark on the world.
I’ll be honest. Too many references are made that Harper represents my legacy of hope. That my children collectively represent my legacy of hope and perseverance. They do, but not because of my brain tumor. An important distinction. My legacy will certainly been shaped by my journey with my brain tumor, but my legacy as a whole is not defined by it.
My life is more than my brain tumor, as am I as an individual.
I hope my children don’t feel expected to carry the legacy I eventually leave as their own. The legacy I’ll leave them will likely be a legacy born out of deep challenge and deep pain yet filled with hope, perseverance and perspective. A legacy with a foundation of strength, spirit, humor and honesty.
A legacy of facing challenges and never backing down or giving up. A legacy of respect and individuality. A legacy of courage and giving back and of course philanthropy.
My legacy will I hope, be something just like that. It will be my own.
I hope the legacy I leave behind one day is taken, planted like a seed in the souls of my children, nurtured and grown into three individual and unique legacies. A legacy they each create for themselves. Their own, not mine, to live, lead by and leave one day.
Here’s hoping that’s the message I conveyed on camera amid my exhaustion and fighting tears and emotions. If not, at least the message is here.