Watching my dad's face at this service where he got to see some childhood friends that were also in attendance - was so heartwarming to see. We were not sure who was going to be there, but not only did he get to see some longtime friends there, but we all learned that my great aunt was that same difference-maker for so many other people. That's just the way she was. This service left a huge impression on me in many areas. First, seeing my dad reconnect with people that he spent a large part of his formidable years with. We got to hear some funny and amazing stories. My mom and I got to see some areas of Keene Valley & Lake Placid that we never saw before, including the country club where my dad worked as a caddie for some of those summers there. I learned the importance of people & family & how they all looked out for one another and took my dad is as "one of their own" members of the community. The fact that what we do in life has a big affect on so many other people. My dad's legacy will be a special one. My mom's too, as she grew up in the Western New York area. We have always known a bit more more of her family's heritage, but not so much of my dad's. This trip helped with that.
It also taught me some valuable life lessons as I watched a bit more closely with having a lot of time with my parents - who are both in their 80's. My dad self-admitting that was probably his last time that he will visit this big part of his life. I also am thinking more and more now about my legacy - as the son of my parents, the grandchild of my grandparents, etc. What they have all gone through in their lives - the good, and the not so good - all have a direct connection to me, my wife and our kids. This experience makes me want to be better - for my family and anyone else I have a connection to. I have had that attitude as a teacher for my career - but now, even as I being "retirement", I know I want to simply keep getting better every day of my life that I have going forward. My advice? Find time to spend with your family. See where they grew up (if you can). Talk to them about things from their time growing up. Hope you can talk to some of their friends / family / people that knew them. Look to ask yourself - what more can I do to improve my legacy? And thereby, improving your families' too.