Presidents, senators, doctors, lawyers, and various other prominent people tend to worry about their legacies. Sometimes to the extent that they’re more worried about how history will remember them than they are about doing the right thing or even just doing their jobs.
Obviously, regular folks don’t really worry about “legacy“ because our spheres of influence are not that wide. Have you ever sat around and reminisced, “Do you remember when Great-Grandma used to…?” There are usually quirky traits that made that person unique and interesting. Sometimes I like to take that idea of legacy down to a normal-people level and wonder what others will remember about me when I’m gone.
A great example of this would be the fact that my mom hates to have any cabinet doors or drawers left open in the house. Sometimes it feels like when I’m in the kitchen, she is walking behind me closing everything I leave open. I think she banged her head on an open door one time and that one time was enough. However, I’m too short for open doors to affect me so I tend to leave them open.
Mom hates it so much that when we are staying over, we will set an alarm for the middle of the night, get up and literally open every single drawer and door in the entire house. It’s so much fun to see her reaction in the morning. And although I miss her reaction, if I’m on my way through town and know that Mom is not at home, I will stop and disturb everything just for the heck of it.
Other than saying I was a total pest on many levels, I know what people will say about me. Can you believe how many pieces of paper she had? All over the house, tucked in drawers, or pinned to walls, taped to monitors, I have snippets: quotes, lists, interesting or funky words like: haecceity - the property of being a unique or individual thing. Sockdolager - an exceptional person or thing. Apricity - the warmth of sunshine in the winter. Aposiopesis - the breaking off in the middle of a sentence because you can’t remember what you were saying. There are many many more. I also have paragraphs here and there about things that occurred or struck my fancy.
I used to include a note in Madi‘s lunchbox every day with a quote on it. Toward the end of her time in high school, she told me that her lunch buddies would pull up a seat and wait to see what the quote of the day was. It’s not exactly worthy of a presidential library, but I was kind of thrilled by it.
Not long ago a fellow word-nerd sent this to me: hiraeth – homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home, which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief, for the lost places of your past.
The beauty of that word. I have felt that way before, but didn’t know there was a word for it. There are so many words to convey intricate, beautiful sentiments. So when I am gone and my belongings are being sorted and given or thrown away, I am sure they will categorize me as a crazy old woman, but I hope they don’t miss that treasure trove of words. However, that’s enough omphaloskepsis (navel-gazing) for now. Can you believe there’s a word for that too???