The word "legacy" can be applied to several areas. One of them is that history which creates us, as who we are. Our culture and traditions passed on to us by those who came before, leaving a definite imprint on our lives. What happens when this continuing line is broken? Those who follow the break point lose much.
I have often thought about the concept contained in the word “legacy”. Those of you who have read these entries from the beginning know that, outside the occasional meandering, my thoughts tend to focus on events of a lifetime. Many come from those memories which make growing up possible. In the full sense of the phrase. Times which despite all the issues lived or, perhaps because of them, have deeply etched a life story into the psyche; in other words, what makes one whatever one is today.
What makes me think this? It is neither depression nor the beginning of a bout of melancholy. The cultural story-line of a family should not end with any one individual, especially when there are children who follow. No matter what circumstances may be, that line should be continued with each generation being able to add its own chapter and leaving the door open for the following ones. In my case, my belief is that this continuous line will, sadly, end with me. If circumstances had been different and on a more normal plane, this would not be the case. We (family) would most likely be in Cuba, my children having gone to the same schools to which I went, and through the same cultural learning; also enjoying the guidance of grandparents, uncles, aunts and the company of many cousins and friends who would have been, themselves, the sons and daughters of my and their mother's (whomever she may have been) friends, thus continuing the story while having a chance to create their own as part of this ongoing line.
Whenever there is the need, I can think back and am able to surround myself with my family's stories and memories, and these have an anchoring effect on me. They are a reminder that regardless where I may physically or inimically be, or what I may be living through at the time, my mind and a heart can reach back more than 4 generations and benefit from this accumulation and wealth of emotions, thoughts, teachings, and just plain living and survival.
For many of those who come to this country, there is a feeling that many of our customs and cultural basis become eroded within a system and structure which demands that all be set aside in the pursuit of an ever increasing income requirement. Our children become less interested in the family history and in the “old country”; for them, it is more important to pursue their own issues within their own circles and thus, begin a new “story line”. When these differences are greatly enhanced by a divorce or parental separation, then they become more defined and underlined. There is an additional incentive not to become overly concerned with the family history of the parent who became separated from the unit. In my case, this has come to be so. Interestingly, the mother of my three younger children is herself born in Cuba. She was, however, educated within a restrictive and very judgmental system and this gave her the wrong impression that her beginnings had to be denied. So, no help from that quarter. The sad part is that her own family goes back several generations in Cuba, and many rich traditions were lost in this exchange.
My First Born (I don't think she took too kindly to being labeled "Oldest Daughter"...) is, on the other hand, very interested in the family history and whatever bits of information can be passed on to her. She tells me she has read every post and enjoys doing so. Especially when these relate to my earlier life and to any type of stories relating to the family.
In a way I believe that these posts along with a couple of other projects which I am (too) slowly developing, will become a sort of legacy. Perhaps these will allow my own children to get to know more about their roots and yes, about their father as well. Each generation will indeed write their own story line, this is the way it should be; however, it is my belief that when this is done within a continuum, it will make more overall sense.
What do you think?
Be Well... Be Back!!