One of the largest pieces of my childlessness grief is the loss of legacy.
I wanted to leave legacies like passing on family heirlooms to the next generation. Things like jewellery, ornaments and prized possessions. I wanted to impart a love of books and music, such as Winnie-the-Pooh and classic rock bands of the 60s.
But the legacy grief runs deeper than that. I wanted to encourage values and beliefs held dear to me. With my husband and I both being Christians, we had planned and hoped to share Jesus with our kids. I had pictured our two little ones running around singing kids’ praise songs to God.
Much as I used to do as a child.
We had hoped to share Jesus with our kids.
These hopes and dreams were a big part of my wanting children. I was never the super-maternal kind of woman, the kind that went weak at the knees at the sight of babies. But raising my own children to know and love God, as I had been raised? That was a big yes for me.
My childlessness inevitably raised a pertinent question. How do I leave a legacy, in the absence of children?
Most people want to leave a legacy in this world. They want to make a difference. They want someone or something to be better because of them. They do not want to be forgotten when they die. It gives our lives a sense of meaning.
It occurs to me there are many ways to make a difference beyond having children. Many childless people are making their mark in business, political and activist arenas. They are serving others through a vocation or ministry. They are pursuing dreams and new skills and passions.
There are many ways to make a difference beyond having children.
One of my passions is music. I love singing and playing the piano. I love stringing lyrics and melodies together to produce a song. I love it so much I decided, a few years ago, to do something about it. Now I publish songs with lyric videos online. That is a legacy.
I also love writing. I love toying around with fiction ideas and sci-fi themes. I love putting my beliefs and opinions on paper for others to read. I love putting blogs out there. I love reaching out to others in difficult situations through my nonfiction books. That is a legacy.
I do not expect any of my songs or blogs or books to change the world. God may choose to use my music and writing to reach people, but that is his business, not mine. My mission is to put my heart into words and music and share them with others.
That is a legacy worth hoping for.
I believe my legacy will be a small one. Maybe a song will touch someone’s heart at exactly the right moment. Maybe someone will pick up one of my books and read something encouraging just when they need it most. That is a legacy worth hoping for.
It’s no Winnie-the-Pooh. But it is a legacy I can leave this world, a legacy about which I am passionate, a mission that will take a lifetime to achieve.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.