What is a legacy? How do you define it? What is yours?
Carrying on my dad’s legacy is very important to me. For years, I misunderstood what carrying on his legacy actually meant. I was bitter at my sister for selling my dad’s company to a man who would bankrupt it a few years later. I was originally supposed to inherit the company, but a complicated estate battle led to a different outcome and a broken spirit.
I perceived this as the only opportunity I had to carry on my dad’s legacy. It was almost like losing him all over again. Through the years, I would beat myself up for failing to be the incredible man he was. I often grasped at straws to try and prove to myself that I was a worthy son in his eyes, which is ridiculous because that’s not the kind of my father or man dad was. He never looked down on anybody, if anything he was always there to build them back up. My dad was always proud of me, no matter what, but I couldn’t see through the storms following his death.
With age comes wisdom and understanding. I see Dad through a different lens now. I see how he embraced vulnerability every day. He was the umbrella during the storm and the rainbow after it for many folks.
Dad’s strength didn’t come from years of hard labor, it came from his open heart. He was a generous man when it came to money, time, and love. He’d be the first one to crack an inappropriate joke to get a laugh out of you and the first pair of arms to wrap you in a bear hug as tears fell down your face. Man, I miss listening to that smooth, deep southern drawl telling me it’s going to be okay.
I realize now that this is my dad’s legacy. I had it wrong for years. Dad’s legacy can’t be measured by parking lots paved or transactions made. It’s measured in lives touched. And this is something I can and will proudly carry on.
I want my legacy to be about making a difference in people’s lives. Like my dad, I want to be the umbrella during the storm and the rainbow after it. I’ve gone through my fair of storms and I want to take that experience to do good. That’s why I launched this blog, published Starving for Survival, and travel the country speaking with individuals who need to know it's okay to not be okay. His legacy lives on within me and the work I do.