Survivorship Tips: Enhancing Your Legacy

Survivorship Tips: Enhancing Your Legacy

Speaker: Sharsheret’s Clinical Supervisor Shera Dubitsky, MEd, MA

Living with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer may trigger you to think about your legacy. You may be asking yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?”  or “What do I want to leave behind to others?”

Legacies are created both purposefully and unintentionally. Some of you may feel pressure to create memories. It’s important to keep in mind that we can’t control every aspect of how we are going to be remembered. Take a moment to think about your childhoods. Perhaps your parents would be dismayed at the things you forgot and the things you remember.  Many of your memories are about moments that were spontaneous, rather than experiences that required the most planning and the most financial investment. With this in mind, much of your legacy has already been established.

There is legacy work that can be purposeful and mindful. It can be concrete, something tangible, or perhaps more existential. It can mean getting your personal, financial and legal affairs in order.  The process may include grieving losses. Legacy work can include your family stories and history, connecting the generations. It can be a reflective experience with someone you love, focusing on events and people who shaped your life, thinking about how you see yourself, reviewing your values, and contemplating the mark you have left in this world. Your legacy can be shared directly with friends and family or you can consider letter writing or videotaping.  It can take any form you want and you can assign it whatever meaning you choose. Your life story can be an heirloom that your loved ones can cherish.

It’s important to keep in mind that legacy work is not about death and dying. It’s about your life and connecting with people you love.

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