We buried my father-in-law on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The body was flown from Florida to West Virginia via Sky med. My mother-in-law flew to a nearby city where she was met by her eldest daughter, Lynn. Lynn had already secured a motel room for them for the night and the next day they went to the funeral home (which had been contacted in advance) to pick out the casket and make the final arrangements.
The graveside service was held with a 21-gun salute, the playing of Taps, the folding of the flag and the presentation of it to my mother-in-law. Two of the sons were then asked to conduct the service. Scripture was read and a hymn was sung, but what caught my attention was the question asked of each of the five kids (now grown): What one thing do feel you learned from Dad? The answers were varied, but all were positive.
This is a family of five grown children with families of their own. There are 11 grandchildren and fourteen living great grandchildren. Another is on the way and some are already in heaven. The core family is Christian in their beliefs and lifestyles; yet there are many in the family who have not embraced this faith. Yet, there is NO ANIMOSITY, no jealousy, no bickering over who does the most to help care for parents or who does the least. Everyone does what they can, even from a distance.
The legacy my father-in-law left, the most important thing this quiet, humble man left his children, was the determination to do the best you can, as often as you can, think of others first and yourself last. It has left a lasting impression on this expanded family of 40 people. What legacy will you leave?