What do you want to be remembered by? It’s a heavy question to consider, but important to your personal legacy—both now and after you pass. After all, we all want to leave something behind for those we love.
Your legacy is defined by the small actions you take every day to influence those around you. But establishing what you want to be remembered for when you pass is easier said than done, as no one word can summarize your life.
Perhaps it’s your bright smile, contagious laugh or charitable acts. While people will shape their own memories of you over time, it’s important to address what you personally want to be remembered for by others.
As you consider how you want others to remember you, list out those items and share them with your family. Not only is this a bonding experience now, it also will help loved ones honor you in the most personal way after you pass. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some different qualities to consider.
1. By your unique personality.
As author Isabella Koldras once said, “Your personality is the only permanent thing in your, ultimately, temporary life… that’s all the more reason to cherish it.”
Your personality is entirely unique to you. When you reflect on your own personality, are you the kind of person to captivate an audience with your laughter and storytelling? Or perhaps you’re a more reserved person who people confide in and ask for advice.
Whatever it may be, you control the narrative of your life. So if you want to be remembered for your joyful outlook on life, your wise advice, or your generous spirit, be sure to have those conversations with your loved ones.
2. By your achievements.
Personal and professional achievements, such as reaching significant milestones with your partner, growing a happy and healthy family, or achieving certain levels of education or military service can be some of the most remembered traits among loved ones.
Take pride in your life’s accomplishments and consider writing down a timeline of your proudest moments. This will give your loved ones a great resource to look at how you want to be remembered.
3. By your contributions to your community.
Your contributions to your community are something to be proud of, no matter the size of the impact. While the vast majority of us aren’t recognized in museums with major awards for our accomplishments, it doesn’t make them any less worthy of celebration.
Consider a time you volunteered at a local shelter or made a difference during the holidays—what did you enjoy most about those moments? Were you a member of a community organization or civic club earlier in your life? Reflect on these memories and share these stories with your family.
4. By your involvement with your family.
When was a time you were proud of your family? Perhaps you remember teaching your child or grandchild how to ride a bike or swim. Were you a sports coach for a child or grandchild, advocating for them as they grew their skills? Or maybe you want to cherish a vacation you once took with the whole family.
Whatever it may be, these memories are important to you for a reason. Take time to record these memories in a journal or photo album, and explain why these memories matter to you.
Help Your Loved Ones Remember You the Right Way—Preplan
No matter what you want to be remembered for, sharing personal achievements and fond memories with your loved ones is important to the preplanning process. It provides your family emotional support by giving them something beautiful to look back on and remember you by in the weeks, months and years to come following services.
To get started with preplanning, we encourage you to download our free resource: The Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements. You’ll learn how preplanning can save you and your family time, money and worry.