While talking with Allen's great-Aunt Kathy she passed along this gem to me. She said that they were good parents and that "they helped us do what was good and not do what was bad." I wanted to share her remark because it struck me as about the most perfect legacy a person can have in this life - to encourage good and discourage evil. These were hardscrabble farmers who lived on Sand Mountain in rural Alabama before and during the depression years. An after school treat for Aunt Kathy and Mamaw was a baked sweet potato. They didn't have much that anyone would care to covet, but these great-grandparents of Allen raised two of the lovingest, cheerfullest, most alive women I ever met. One of them, the week she died, was out fixing fences on the farm where she'd lived alone for 20 years after her husband died. The other woman is living in a nursing home where most every capacity is failing her - sight, hearing, mobility- but she's content to be there befriending and helping the people around her. These are people whose hearts have never failed. They live to the last moment. Though sometimes sad or confused or lonely or afraid, I've seen them time and time again turn and look for the next task God has assigned -being full of faith that the best way through hard times is also the way through God's heart. After Mamaw's death I've found myself scrambling to remember phrases and stories, but most of what I remember is her saying "I love you," and "That is so good." She loved people completely and was genuinely glad for any good thing. Her love of God and her faith in God's goodness wound themselves together so that you couldn't see one without the other. Gratitude shone from her eyes, and she blessed people.
That also is a legacy worth having.