Legacy after Death: The Stories We Leave Behind

I knew him as Rocky or Coon. I didn’t know his name was really “Walker” until I was looking at the IV bags hanging by his ICU bed. Now, his legacy after death, consists in children and stories.

Legacy after deathWhen I told a friend about Coon being ill, I called him my “third father”. I grew up visiting his house often and playing with his kids. His daughter and my brother are madly in love and have a little boy together.

When Coon died, he left behind three children and ten grandchildren. He also left behind stories about his crazy antics and those times when he welcomed people into his home and life with open arms. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a lot better than most people I know.

Leaving a Legacy After Death

A couple of days ago, I answered an author interview. One of the questions was, “What do you fear the most as a writer?”

It was the easiest question to answer. Ever since Coon’s memorial service, legacy had been weighing on my mind. My answer was: being forgotten.

I don’t need to be famous. Fame isn’t everything that it’s dreamed to be. There is a lot of anxiety and responsibility and expectations. And I wonder how many famous people are known as they truly are and not what people imagine them to be. Fame can cloud art and meaning.

What I fear, exactly, is that my books fade away. No one ever reads them again because I’m no longer alive to push them. What I fear, exactly, is that a person won’t walk into a library or bookstore, see one of my books, and take it off the shelf. I fear that my books will no longer inspire or open new worlds.

I want my legacy after death to be my stories. Coon will live on not only through his progeny but also because of the stories he leaves behind. He wasn’t a writer but he did live. (Perhaps a bit harder than he should have.) I am a writer, though, and I live through my stories. I want them to be my legacy after death.

I know this post is shorter than usual but it’s all I could think to write. Hopefully, it’ll give you something to think about. What legacy would you like to leave behind? Also, there’s a new excerpt of Clara’s Return. Read it now!

Also published on Medium.

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