Legacy | Teen Ink


March 6, 2009
By HayleyMarie BRONZE, Bellevue, Nebraska
HayleyMarie BRONZE, Bellevue, Nebraska
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

'I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough
to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
a child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
and leave that kind of legacy'
-Legacy by Nichole Nordeman

This is the chorus to one of my favorite songs. I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me. As I walk through the cemetery the names jump out at me. Who were these people? What were they like? What was their legacy?

Calm. That is the feeling in the air today. The breezes blow gently, making hair tickle my flushed cheeks. Squirrels and birds go about their daily business getting ready for winter. The trees sway and creek as the chilly wind catches in their boughs. As I approach the black rod iron gate of the cemetery the noises, and movements seem to disappear. An overwhelming stillness sets in. Taking a deep breath I enter through the rusted gate.

The only thing that can be heard is the crunching of gravel under my feet and the rustle of the jacket I am wearing. My body carries itself to the oldest grave in this place of eerie peace. It is just a pile of stone slabs stacked up in no particular order. This is the grave of a pioneer child who died on the Oregon Trail. I close my eyes and reflect about the little one who was buried here. What was the child's life like? How old was it? Boy or girl? Slowly a story comes to me. She is a child of 5 years, with light blond hair and big doe eyes. The dress she's wearing is a faded blue calico with tiny buttons in the front, covered in the dust of the trail. Her cheeks are flushed with fever. This little girl tells me about her life. How she loved her parents, her two brothers and one sister, about her favorite doll named Sarah who always wore a pink frilly dress no matter the weather, and about the trail. She chatters on about how she would have to stay in the wagon with her sibling while her parent drove the oxen, two of which she had named William and Josephine, because she thought they were pretty names. She goes on to tell me about her bedroom in heaven and how her parent and siblings had at last joined her. She says that all the young children played together and got piggy back rides form the angel.

My eyes open. I'm still standing in the cemetery in front of the pile of grey rocks. No one has visited me or anything, and I haven't had a 'supernatural' experience or something, but with my imagination I had just meet this little innocent child. I feel like I know her just a little bit better. The stones are no longer just a pile of rocks to me. They hold a new meaning, for they are a place where a long time ago sorrowful parents had to say good bye to their little sunshine, and know that they would never see her or be able to visit the grave again. They couldn't stop to mourn, but had to continue on the trail west.

Someday I know I will get to meet with her in heaven to learn the real story, because she was under the age of accountability. I will be able to learn about her life and that will be amazing.

I continue on in this fashion reading names and dates, while reflecting. I meet veteran dressed in military garb, carrying guns. They speak to me about the wars they were in. Soldiers tell me of the sweetheart, or the family they left behind. From them I learn about honor and integrity. The proud Indian braves and their Chief teach me about respecting nature, and how to hunt the buffalo. I meet an old couple. They are all wrinkled and withered, but in their eyes you can see just how much they adore each other. Their lesson is one of love and faithfulness. Young women who have died in child birth hold squirming infants, fawning over the babies they so love. The only thing they tell me is that it worth it no matter what. So many others I meet that day, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons, and daughters. They all have a legacy, thought not everyone knows what it is. They have been lost in time, but are still there if you look hard enough.

As I leave the cemetery the sounds fade back in around me. The animals are scampering again, and the icy wind picks back up. I continue down the street, back to my car, and onward toward my busy life. At the corner I stop, and look back into the little plot of land reserved for honoring the dead. I smile slightly to my self as I think of all the people I meet today. Than with that one last glance I leave.

This day made me think, will I leave a legacy? How will I be remembered? I a hundred years what will some other teen envision my life to be when they read my name, and the words beloved sister, daughter and what ever else I might become. More importantly though, how will I impact the people closest to me? Will I have lived my life to the fullest and for God? Will people be changed positively because me? I hope, and will strive that all these questions will be answered Yes I did, because I want to leave that kind of legacy.

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This article has 3 comments.

TSgtCapt said...
on Mar. 28 2009 at 9:58 pm
I love the way your story takes me back to days when I did the very same thing and thought similar thoughts. You express my thoughts well through your writing. Keep up the great expressions, Hayley.

Kabuki said...
on Mar. 24 2009 at 8:49 pm
Great story, full of descriptive language which draws the reader to picture your visit and your dreams of the type of legacy you might leave. Keep writing--you have a joy you'd like to share with others.

counselor62 said...
on Mar. 18 2009 at 3:15 pm
I liked this article!