Got Legacy?

Last weekend, I took my daughter and her best friend to Charleston. One of our favorite things is visiting old cemeteries. I know it may seem morbid, but the ones in Charleston are awesome. As we stood, reading epitaphs from the 1700’s, one caught my eye. It had the standard name, date of birth and death and then simply read “Beloved Aunt of Edward.”

I laughed, wondering if Edward was the author of the eloquent epitaph. I mean, really? Is that all she was known for? But then again, if she wasn’t married, had no children of her own and poured her life into Edward, maybe she would have wanted this to be her legacy.  Who am I to judge? Perhaps it was a wonderful and fulfilling life.

Over the years, I’ve attended numerous conferences about grief counseling. It never fails. We always have to write our own epitaph and obituary . . .  my favorite group activity . . . NOT!! The first time I had to do this, I was in my mid -twenties and was horrified. The epitaph . . . not so bad, but to be expected to write the full obituary including place and year of death, cause of death, who was present and then the eulogy. That’s morbid, even for me!

I can’t remember what I wrote then. I wish I would have saved it, but I know each time I was forced to participate in such a morose activity, I got a little more comfortable with it. And, of course, that’s the point. To be a good grief counselor one has to be comfortable with one’s own mortality.

Now that I’m older and bolder (maybe a little more defiant), I refuse to write about the details of my death. I know that’s in God’s hands, and it’s pointless to imagine all the possible scenarios. What I do like to focus on is the legacy, my "dash".
Years ago, I read a beautiful poem, The Dash by Linda Ellis.The gist of the poem is that the year of birth and death doesn’t matter. It’s what we do with the dash between that counts.

Some days, I imagine my epitaph might read, “A bit of a slug, horrible cook, mediocre friend, pretty good mom . . . “ Thankfully, I’m reminded that my identity, my legacy, shouldn’t be about me at all. Ever heard Big Daddy’s Weave’s song "Audience of One"? Love the line, “And as the love song of my life is played, I have one desire, to bring glory to your name.” Isn’t it freeing to know nothing else matters?

I think I want my epitaph to simply read, “Daughter of God, Covered in Grace, Finally at home with Him.”


  1. I like your epitath, those are the most important things aren't they

  2. I love this post.....a great reminder that I need to concentrate on what God is doing and not what I am doing...after all He is the focus I am just the follower.

    One of the activities in our weekend retreats is to hike up the mountain where there is a very old cemetery and each person is to ponder what would be written about them.....Your point is great. It should be about what God has done and bringing glory to His name. I will definitely include this in the next retreat.

    Have a great day sweet friend....

  3. I haven't thought about my epitath in a while. Since I'm getting older (haha) I need to have it more clear in my mind.
    And as for the comment on my blog: the tortoise is home. He is mine!!! He just isn't supposed to come in the house!

  4. I love that poem The Dash. A neighbor introduced me to it as it was her favorite. Less than a year later her dash came to an end when she died from brain cancer. Whenever I hear of it I remember her and the beautiful dash she lived.

    I always tell my kids to put "Gone home" on my tombstone. Haven't thought much about what I'd like my life to be remembered for other than loving God and my family.

  5. Thank you for coming over and becoming a follower! You cracked me up when I read your bio and saw what language you were fluent in:) I love people who make me laugh!

    You are in one of the most wonderful professions, this tells me you also have a big, compassionate heart!

    It is very nice to "meet you". I just became your next follower:)

  6. I simply love this post. Thank you for sharing. We love visiting cemeteries too. I love reading about people and their legacy.

    I came this way from Christian Mommy Bloggers. I'd love to have you visit me at

  7. I don't think I want an epitaph at all. Find a small pine box, bury my ashes or scatter them, have a party and then get on living life. It's the living, not the dying that should make the impact - so, onward ho until I can't no mo. I never was good at playing along at conferences or meetings. lol :-)

  8. Hi Susan,

    This is lovely, and a reminder that our life here is not all there is; because our hope is in Christ we can look forward to a fuller and more meaningful eternal life!
    It definitely is what we do with the dash between; we must choose to be all that He saved us for and wants us to be. :)

    You are an inspiration, and I love your heart!