Pass Heirlooms Down
Family heirlooms carry the weight of so many past lives lived and so many experiences had. When we decide to pass down personal items, such as jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other belongings, we are passing on the stories attached to these items. Entire family histories can be encompassed in something as small as a ring. Even passing down something that carries sentimental value rather than monetary value can make a huge impact: stories of love, loss and triumph can be captured in an antique photograph. Some people worry that passing down personal items like photos, recipes, and other keepsakes might be burdensome to those who receive it, but if it matters to you, it will matter to your loved one. If you are passing down a particular piece that is important to you, but that others might not fully comprehend, we suggest taking the time to write down what makes it so special to you. If you have the time, doing this for all of your heirlooms has the power to connect you to generations of your family for decades to come.
Tell Your Stories
Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to physically write down the history of your belongings. You can verbally tell stories to your loved ones, asking that they remember them and repeat them when you are gone. After all, this is how stories were told before the alphabet was even created. The verbal history of a person’s life matters just as much as their written history. Just speaking our own experiences carries so much power. By sharing your stories with younger generations, you can also help them understand the unique part of history that you lived through. Every life lived is a time capsule for the history they experienced. Some parts of these stories may be painful to recollect or even outrageous to those listening, but when we share our past, we shine a light that guides people to better live in the present and future. Speak honestly and with compassion. And don’t forget the funny bits! Not every legacy needs to be serious. Sharing a laugh with someone can stay with them for a lifetime.
As time progresses, more and more people are turning their analog memories into digital treasures. Using a phone, computer, or scanner, your precious vintage photos can be uploaded and saved online forever. You’ll never need to worry about the image quality declining over time or losing an important memory in a box after a move. Many people have begun leaving video diaries for their families, as well. By recording your story and saving it to an online information cloud accessible from anywhere, your descendants will be able to get to know you, both from this generation and those beyond.
Keep On Giving
Many people define their life by the acts of service they offer to others. These services can continue, even once we’re gone. There are ways for your charitable contributions to continue to help people. For some people, we suggest starting a Foundation. This charitable organization can function like a business, employing others while continuing to do good work in your name. If that sounds a little daunting, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options, such as establishing a scholarship fund for others or requesting in your will that a certain amount of money be donated in your honor each month or year to a cause of your choice. You can also arrange for personal memorializations, such as donating a park bench or giving money towards a building renovation for an organization you’re passionate about. Generosity is a beautiful way to be remembered.
Choose A Final Resting Place
There’s some comfort in knowing that once we have passed, people can still visit us. Whether you decide to be interred in a mausoleum, buried in a cemetery, or scattered in a garden, our final resting place is a reminder to others that we were once living, laughing, loving beings. Perhaps you’ll choose to have a tree planted in your honor, or a columbarium niche decorated with your favorite flower. Even if your final resting place is scattered in the ocean, our loved ones will always associate us with where we choose to physically reside even as our essence departs.
Live Your Life To the Fullest
Perhaps the best way to ensure your legacy is to live a life worth remembering. You may be wondering how exactly to do that. While we may not have all of the answers, we do know that certain things can be universally true: Be kind. Stand up for what you believe in. Take things in your stride. Endeavor to forgive people, while holding them accountable. Laugh as much as you can. Hold space for others. Tell stories. Make mistakes, and learn from them. Accept that you’re not perfect, but do your best to be the best version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. Change can be a good thing, even if it’s scary to embrace. Try to set good examples for others, but don’t live your life in fear of what others think of you. Treat others how you wish to be treated…
In the end, your legacy is what you make it. We know that accomplishing all of these ideas may be easier said than done, but we offer them as a place to start. After all, you’ve got the rest of your life to work on it. We hope that you can find comfort and joy in finding ways to ensure your legacy lives on after you’re gone.
We want to help you make the best decisions for you and your family to celebrate the memory of a life lived. If you have any questions about our cemetery, funeral home or cremation services, please contact us or call Hollywood Forever on (323) 469-1181.