Death and Life

The last several weeks have been a bit crazy for me and my family, so this is going to be a more personal post than some of my others. My Grandmother was unexpectedly diagnosed with acute leukemia. Having had a lifetime of health issues, I wasn’t completely surprised when she was diagnosed with an illness, but I was shocked at the speed with which it took her life. She’d been complaining for quite a while about pain and discomfort, inability to sleep, but she’d thought it was due to some other old and existing issues. Nope, stage 4 leukemia. She passed in a week. Her death was both a horrible surprise and a reminder of how quickly things can change. Life is fragile.

The good part is that I know that she is no longer suffering. I know that she is resting and perfectly at peace with Jesus. Being a believer in the Giver of Life ensures that I also have that peace on this side of Glory. I’m sad that my Grandmother won’t get the chance to see my son grow up – she loved him so. But I’m joyful that we will have eternity with her in heaven. I can no longer hold her hand here, but someday I will. Short-term loss comforted by forever gained.

Loss always makes me re-evaluate and turn introspective.  What do I want to leave as my legacy when I die? My Grandmother was 80; she had a lot of time. We’re not guaranteed any amount of time. I have lost friends and loved ones in their 60’s, 50’s, 40’s and earlier, and I bet you have too. I hope that I have a lot more days in front of me – I want to live to be a hundred. But whether I do or I don’t, I want to live a life that has purpose and meaning.  What about you?

I’m forever wordsmithing my life’s manifesto and trying to cast vision for myself. (Is anyone else like this?!) Here are some of the keys that I know about myself and my needs that inform my goals for my legacy:

  • I want to share Jesus with others. Through my actions, my words, and my writing, I want people to know the transformative power of Jesus in their lives. Jesus Saves. He doesn’t take away all of the pain in our lives or difficult circumstances, but He empowers us to have joy in spite of the inevitable pains of living. He changes us from the inside out. He gives us purpose and makes a way in the darkness. Loving Jesus and being loved by Him has been the greatest joy of my life and I want others to know that joy.
  • My family comes first and I want to give them my best. Juggling multiple priorities – work, volunteering, friendships, and my hobbies – can make it so hard to be sure that they know they’re first. And it can make me cranky and impatient. But I keep trying. I’m working to order my life with family at the top, just below God. Of all of the things I spend time doing, when I die I’m sure that I will wish I had spent more time with the most important people in my life – especially my husband and my son.
  • I’m striving to live a wholehearted life. If you haven’t read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, I highly recommend it. She talks about the importance of being present and honest and open – and brave. I want this in my life and in my relationships. I want this in my work and in all aspects of my walking through this world. Being the same who-I-am everywhere I go – the good, the bent, and the ugly – is one of my major aspirations. It can be hard, because not
    everyone always wants to deal with a work in progress, I promise – even the work in progress herself. But it’s too hard to pretend to be perfect.
  • I believe in the power of good food. That means food that is good for the body and good for the soul. Food can bring people together like nothing else. I love the opportunity to teach people about food; to cook alongside them; and watch the light come on as they learn a new technique, taste a new flavor, and understand the connection between food and their health.And I love the opportunity to feed the people I care about when they are in need – whether it’s physical, spiritual, or emotional hunger, a good meal and good company nourishes.

Beyond that, I have some personality quirks that need a little work too. Trust me, I don’t always have it together! Some “growth opportunities”, as my hubs likes to call them.  I need to learn to be more flexible. I want to laugh more and not be so serious so much of the time. Smelling the flowers, painting and playing and not just checking the boxes needs to make it to my to-do list much more often. I need to slow down. These are hard things for me. If they are easy for you, count your lucky stars!

So what about you? Do you think about your legacy? What you want to leave behind when you die? Pretty much the world is one-for-one and we’re all on borrowed time. This can be a really encouraging and empowering thing if you let it. Knowing we’re on borrowed time, what do you need to do to engage with your life in a new way? What chances do you want to take? Death is a given. Life, especially an inspired life, that’s a choice.


  1. I am sorry for your loss. Losing someone close is always challenging and a spiritual process. I can totally relate to trying to be less serious and laughing more often. I wish you well in your next step.

    • Thanks, Kristin! As with all of life, it’s one day at a time, right? I appreciate your kind response. Let’s both commit to laughing more, shall we?! =)

  2. Liz

    Wow- this is such a wonderfully thought provoking post. I am so sorry for your loss. My dad’s mother died 4 years go in 3 months after a sudden diagnosis with leukemia, she was always a healthy lady which always seemed so strange she was taken so quickly. Anyways, I know definitely I need to work on the “not checking boxes” and enjoying the moment more, Switzerland will be a great test from the Big guy on how I can learn patience, trust and faith more so now than ever. Thank you for writing this and being so open!

  3. Judy

    Hi Sherry,

    Really sorry about your grandmother! I stumbled upon this post after clicking on your link in your email this morning. I often think about what legacy I’d like to leave as well and fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.


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