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Leaving a Legacy


Sara posted last week about losing her grandmother. As I read the post, tears sprung immediately to my eyes. My grandmother passed away late last summer and it’s still fresh. It wasn’t unexpected, she was nearly 100, but we all hoped we’d get to sing her happy birthday and welcome in her 100th year. She was amazing. We were crushed.

Similar to Sara, I was fortunate to have a little buffer in my budget and dropped everything to drive 7 hours to her funeral. All 6 of my siblings came from across the country to remember her legacy. My siblings and I struggled with the tone of the funeral. It was formal and stuffy, very un-grandma. In one of the quiet moments, the woman in front of us farted long and loudly. My brother leaned over to whisper, “Leave it to grandma. She’s making fart jokes from heaven” and we giggled the rest of the funeral.

I returned home and the following months were sad. We had spent the previous Christmas together and I couldn’t help but feel down about the upcoming holidays. Out of the blue, I received a letter from her in the mail. Her shaky writing had carefully printed my name and address, her perfect little return address sticker in the corner. It’s a weird feeling to receive mail from someone after they die. For a moment, you forget they died and feel excitement. You want to run to call them to say thanks for the letter and then remember you can’t and feel sadness all over again.

The letter was sweet. It shared her love for me and told me to never forget it. It also had a check for $1,000. ‘Waste this money sweetheart. Spend it on something stupid.’

I fell apart.

For the last 6 or so years (3 paying off the debt and 3 working on staying debt free), my grandmother was a huge cheerleader. She was frugal and was a wiz at finances. She loved that I was making a better future for myself. Every Christmas and birthday, she’d send me a little check and a card. I always sent her long handwritten thank you cards and would tell her exactly how I spent the money. For the first few years it was ‘Thank you so much for the check! I made an extra payment on my student loan! Yay! Getting so close!’ and the last few years, ‘Added to the emergency fund! Thanks to that fund, I can take risks at work! I took on a huge project because I’m less afraid of failure.’ She knew I never wasted a dime of the money she gave me.

I read her words and knew immediately what I would buy. I have a degree in film (shocking… I don’t use it professionally despite the fact it cost me $104K. I need to write a post about college choice and majors. What a racket!) and I create little movies for my kids of our camping adventures. I have wanted a drone to film them while we hiked but drones with tracking features and good film quality are expensive. It was a dream, but I could never justify that purchase.

I ordered a $900 drone the same day I got her check. I spent the other $100 on a ring that I wear daily.

I love her legacy. I love that in the end, she was still able to have the last laugh. She was able to bless others even after she was gone. She knew exactly what to say to set me free with that money.

When I grow up… I want to be her.

I love you grandma. Thank you for the pictures.


  • Reply shanna |

    That is really beautiful! My dad just died and he asked that my mom do something frivolous and fun for all the grandkids (new snowboards, concert tickets, etc) and I loved that thought. Your grandma was a wise woman!!

  • Reply Laura |

    Please be sure to check the rules of the parks you visit before using the drone. Almost all national parks and many state parks ban drones. I’d hate for this to lead to a fine that turns into an unnecessary expense.

    • Reply Beks |

      Good call! We learned the hard way when we showed up at a campground and it was printed in bold on the campsite map. Thankfully we didn’t fly it!
      Fortunately we camped at a small private campground in Big Sur over Christmas and were able to get some great footage. The picture is from that campground.

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