Legacy For The Celebrations Of The Spring Season
Along with the cherry and magnolia blossoms, and the jonquils and tulips heralding spring comes the time to prepare for the events and occasions celebrated in May and June: graduations, confirmations, and weddings, to cite a few.
I remember overhearing two women discussing an upcoming wedding in one of their families as I sat with my back to them; we were all having our nails painted for spring. One of the women asked the other about the bride’s grandmother who lived in Denver (the wedding was being celebrated in Maryland). The mother of the bride said offhandedly, “Oh, she can’t travel; she’s ninety-four” and they moved on to another topic.
It took all my strength not to turn around and say to them (though of course it was not my business, but I felt so sad that the aged grandmother would not be included in this significant family celebration.)
How simple it would have been to suggest to the grandmother that she write a blessing for her granddaughter, who was beginning a new stage in her life. Not only would the grandmother have felt included writing a blessing, but her granddaughter would likely remember the simple gesture long after her wedding, when her grandmother was gone.
I recently heard about a similar situation; in this case the bride’s mother was dying of cancer and hoping beyond hope that she would be alive for the wedding. But in case not, she prepared a blessing for her only daughter. She made it to the wedding, standing to read the blessing as part of the ceremony. It would not be a cliché to say that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“To write is to sow and reap at the same time.”
– Ruth Brin
A legacy blessing or a one-page legacy letter is more powerful than we think. It can deepen the bond among family members, link the past with the present and future, express gratitude for the special occasion, as well as honor those who can’t attend in person (we know that so well in this past year of COVID) but our sincere words of caring go a long way to keep us connected
- Make a list of family and friends celebrating some occasion this season.
- Choose one to begin thinking about an appropriate blessing for him/her that takes into account the occasion and your favorite stories about them, preferably from a time when they were children or adolescents.
- If you have a difficult time beginning, I suggest that you might write: ”May you….” or “May God grant you …” (or whatever name you give the All-powerful Source of Being). You may find that beginning this way, you’ll find your pen racing across the page with ideas of what you hope and wish for them.
- The blessing will likely take you no more than 3-5 minutes to write. Then you can go back and edit as much as you please. My ideas about editing include: reading the blessing aloud to yourself to see if it sounds like you and if it says what you mean to say. You may wish for a different word that you can’t think of – great use for a Thesaurus or a dictionary (both available online).
- This is not an occasion to give instructions. They come out of our heads, while blessings come out of our hearts.
- Once you have completed the draft, set it aside for a day or two. When you return to it with fresh eyes and ears, you may want to make further changes, add or subtract something. When you’re ready… I suggest buying a beautiful blank card and writing your blessing in your own hand. It will add to the treasure you are offering.
- Take a look at your list (Number 1 above) and go on to the next…and enjoy how your heart feels as you write.
May your blessings link you to the celebrant and may you experience being blessed yourself as you create these beautiful gifts for those you love.
– Rachael Freed
Rachael Freed, LICSW, senior fellow, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota, is the author of Your Legacy Matters, Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies: Passing Your Beliefs & Blessings to Future Generations and Heartmates: A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient. Rachael can be found at [email protected] and www.life-legacies.com.