This is a tough one for me.
My dear Nan
I am sitting drafting this blog in my lovely old Nan’s room at the care home. My Nan has been there for me my entire life, and always treated me like a prince. I mean that in a good way, not a precocious way. Sadly, I’m sat here today, as we are expecting this wonderful lady to pass sometime very soon.
I sit here reflecting on her 98 year wonderful life. She was born at the end of the first world war, had an impoverished childhood, lived through the second world war, in which her husband (my Granddad) saw active service, had my Dad shortly after, saw the iconic decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In her long life she has seen so much, yet expected so little.
As a child she was a very talented dancer, and as a teenager had the opportunity to to be taken to London by her dance instructor to be on the West End stage. But sadly, her very strict mother forbid it. Having said that, if she had gone, its pretty certain I wouldn’t be sitting here right no writing this note. After the war, her and Granddad moved into a new council house, after most of Great Yarmouth town was destroyed in the blitz. There she lived, raising my Dad, whilst my Granddad worked for the “Corporation”, looking after the maintenance on all the other houses on the estate. She then became the warden of the old peoples’ shelters bungalows next door to her house. The house itself was basic. Despite Granddad being a plumber, until the day he died, she still had to light a fire to get some hot water. They were happy with this, and as a child I remember the cold nights on a sleepover, wrapping up in extra blankets and warm milk before bed. The garden was their pride and joy, with fruits, veg and wonderful flowers. Granddad had an allotment too for even more lovely veg, which they delivered to us every Saturday in the Wartburg (that’s a strange car that makes a Mark 1 Skoda look normal, Granddad had one of those too!).
It’s been very sad to watch this strong lady gradually grow weaker and weaker over the last few years. The lady that used to bake cakes for us every Saturday, cook lunch for me every Monday, and make me hot milk before bed when I slept over as a child.
I sit here reflecting on her legacy. In the modern world we talk about legacy and its often about fame and notoriety. For Nan her legacy is right here. Her strong family values and selflessness have shape our whole family to what we are today. From humble beginnings Dad has made a great success of his life and had a wonderful impact on so many. Mum joined the family from her rather more difficult upbringing, and Nan welcomed her in, and helped her unlock her potential as one of the most selfless people you could ever meet, always looking out for others. And then there was my brother Graham and I. Of course a lot of our values and beliefs come from Mum and Dad, but so much also comes from Nan. Someone I never saw argue with anyone, who never really smoked or drank, who ate wholesome foods and enjoyed outdoor living. An example indeed to set anyone on the modern world.
My wonderful Mentor Phil
A few weeks ago, one of my long-term mentors, Phil Gunn, also passed. He had supported our whole family from he first knew us, when was just a toddler. Although at his funeral, his son Kevin said he spoke about Graham and I as if we were Kevin’s brothers, full of pride for our acheivement, we were not the only ones Phil helped along the way. He helped many many people, from young students to the church to our family. He never talked about himself or his world, just always interested in you and what your endeveours and challenges were. He was instrumental in helping me set up Yellow Brick Road, and has been there for anytime I needed advice. I could go a year or two before giving him a call, and he would be there in an instant to support me. Phil’s legacy was of course all the lives he touched and the difference he made in every single interaction he had. I know right now with some serious business decisions coming up, I’d almost certainyl be giving Phil a call for his advice. I know my brother Graham worked very closely with him right until he passed.
What’s your legacy?
I often get my cleints to reflect on their legacy with one particular exercise I use being very close to the mark for me right now. Indeed, I’ve written a blog on it in the past, and Gracie made this lovely video;
Bronnie Ware, and Australian palliative care nurse, captured the the regrets of the dying a few years ago, and found the top 5 regrets were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I urge you to read the full article here.
Who know’s how long my Nan has left, but I know she will be happy with her legacy.
I urge you to spend some time now reflecting on what you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be rememebered for? Think where you are right now and if you are really on course to deliver your legacy?
Ian Hacon, Founder of Yellow Brick Road, Co-founder of Bite the Cherry and loving Grandson of Violet May Hacon, aged 98 and still fighting