What is a legacy? Webster’s defines legacy as “something transmitted by or received from a predecessor or from the past.” Opinions differ as to whether a legacy is monetary, achievement, or simply a life well lived.
Oftentimes a legacy is not considered until after someone has left us. My mother-in-law Judy Brackett valiantly and bravely faced cancer, a heart attack and subsequent surgery, and congenital health problems for years. Her condition and quality of life had deteriorated to the point that despite all of the best treatment, her body simply could not carry on any longer and she breathed her last breath surrounded by her family on the morning of July 10, 2019.
What then is her legacy? Judy loved pretty things. She collected dolls, figurines, antiques, and could tell you a story behind each and every thing in her home. She loved nice furniture, especially if it had a family significance and was always trying to get us to take things home that she thought we needed!
Judy loved the holidays. I tend to associate Thanksgiving with her because that is the main holiday that we spent with Trever’s family each year. And with Thanksgiving came decorating for Christmas. As her health continued to worsen, the Christmas decorations she put out became fewer each year but we would always help put a small tree and sit a few festive things around the house.
Judy loved genealogy, family history, and photographs. She became something of a genealogy expert and could tell you stories about anyone in the various photograph albums she had. She was always telling us we needed to write names and dates on photographs so that people would know who they were.
Judy loved to create. Before she became more seriously ill in the last few years, she always had a project. She repaired dolls and furniture, she painted and created elaborate decorative carousel horses, she could crochet and sew. She even wrote the manuscript for a book, a historical romance set in Kentucky that I always meant to read, and promised her before she left this world that I would.
Judy loved gardening. She was a Master Gardener and always had a beautiful yard with flowers and plants. She came and planted some things in our yard when we moved into a new house and I confess I envied her green thumb (mine is decidedly not).
Judy loved her dogs (and the occasional cat!)…there were many over the years….when I joined the family there was Charlotte the Scottish terrier and Callie the cat. Later there was Tassie, Dog (yes that was the name!), Gizmo, Fancy, Angel, and her beloved tiny yorkie Chloe. Zoie and Lucy hardly left her side this last week while her most recent addition, Annie – a beautiful papillon that she desperately wanted after her first round with cancer – proved to be a bit much to handle and had to keep her energies penned up because she was a bit of a fall hazard.
Finally and most importantly, Judy loved her family. Married to Stan for 56 years, she raised three sons and saw them go on to marry and have their own families. She loved nothing more than to have her family around her and really enjoyed playing cards and games, especially after holiday dinners. Whenever anyone would get ready to leave, the announcement was always met with a disappointed “aw!”
What then was her legacy? Although she worked in the public sector over the years before her health became poor and although she created and collected, I believe that her greatest legacy was love. She loved so many things, she loved her family, and she loved life. In remembering her, the verse from 1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind:
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Rest in love Judy.
“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”The World was Wide Enough – Hamilton
Karri Temple Brackett
July 11, 2019