Niamh Ennis: ‘As a childless woman, I often think about how I’ll be remembered’
Thinking about how you want to remembered can be a powerful catalyst for change, writes Niamh Ennis
When we hear the word legacy we think of what we will leave behind.
When I hear this word, however, I think instantly of children. I always felt that having children guaranteed you a legacy.
When you die, leaving your children behind, they are your legacy and that’s got to be a good feeling, right? At least, you are pretty sure that someone will remember you, talk about you and carry you in their heart.
As someone who, to date, is childless (stop sniggering down the back, I’m only 51), this is something I think about probably far too often.
I wonder who will remember me, who will be sad for my leaving and who will keep me alive for generations to come, in the stories they can tell about me to their children and their children’s children.
And it is this thought that has me thinking not just about WHO will remember me when I’m gone but HOW they will remember me.
The truth of this is that we don’t have to leave relatives behind to be remembered. We can impact on the lives of many others in such ways that they won’t forget us even if they have never met us!
So how do I want to be remembered?
1. I want people to remember me and smile. Not laugh but just smile.
I’ve had far too many laughs at my own expense during my lifetime that I very much know the difference between the two. If someone smiles when they’re thinking of me, I want it to be simply because in that memory I’m making their heart sing.
I want it to be because I meant something to them. I remind them of something meaningful. Their memory of me is meaningful. How beautiful would that be?
I want to be remembered as I lived. I want how I am right now, at this juncture in my life, everything that I am doing, the people I am gathering around me, the impact I am creating, the words I am putting out there, the experiences I am sharing, I want them all to contribute towards my legacy.
2. l want to be remembered for having been dogged in finding out exactly just why I was put on this earth.
What was I supposed to do? What was my purpose?I want those close to me to remember those years when they worried about me.
They may even be ready to admit now that they thought I’d gone a little off the rails when I packed up my job and moved to Spain for that year out, then came home and moved to the countryside.
They can say that they were a little dubious when I started talking about healing, meditating, manifestation and growing. It didn’t sound like me for a while. Until it did.
They soon realised that in fact this was the real me and that I finally felt free enough and confident enough to let her out.
Those closest to me could see that I was stepping into my power and they were happy for me. The others just couldn’t really figure me out and that was okay too.
3. I want to be remembered as the person I was, in the second half of my life, as being the person I was always supposed to be
It was only then that I returned to my great passions of writing, healing and helping others not in a perfect, holier than thou sort of way, but in my own creative and honest way of expressing my thoughts and feelings with the aim of healing and inspiring others to do the same.
For so long in my early life I was placed in the position of being forced to keep secrets, some quite significant ones, that changed the course of my life.
I’m not trying to be deliberately all mysterious here, but sometimes when we ask someone or expect them to keep secrets, we don’t realise that we are forcing them to be someone they are not.
This was my experience and so I created a persona from which I believed I could not deviate.
It was one where being perfect was equal to being loved and therefore to be imperfect meant to be unlovable. This resulted in spending the first 30+ years of my life living my life as to how I felt others wanted me to.
I genuinely had no idea who, or what, I wanted to be and so I want to be remembered for discovering who that was and then just going after it. Unashamedly.
4. I want to be remembered for being kind. In the most boring, ordinary, bland interpretation of that word.
I want people to recall my excitement when someone else got good news, how I just wanted to see others discover and tune in to their own life purpose, I want to hear that my story inspired them to transform their lives and that I helped them along the way. Now that would be a legacy.
Through my work I want to leave a legacy of support and for all that I’ve written about my life’s experiences to be used, long after my time, and for them to assist others in practical, useful and meaningful ways. The books I have yet to write will be my legacy. That’s the dream.
5. Finally, I want everyone I loved while on this earth to remember the laughs, the loyalty and the love.
I want them to be glad that I knew they loved me and also that they had known I loved them too.
That we expressed this love not just by what we did and how we showed up for one another, but that we expressed that love to each other, often.
My husband, my friends, my family, my dog. I want them to be able to tap into that deep connection between us so that they will still talk to me even when I am gone.
My hope is that they will still see me in the trees, on the ocean’s waves, the butterflies in the summer, the robin redbreasts in the winter and that every white feather that drops in front of them they will know is a sign for me.
They will get lots of signs as I will never stop showing up for them in this life or the next. What a way to be remembered.
So over to you now, how do you want to be remembered? Then do that. Be that person. There’s still time.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading transformation coach, www.niamhennis.com, working with women who feel ready to make changes in their lives.
Her next workshop ‘How to change your relationship with money so that you can live the life you deserve’ takes place on Saturday 4th April, 2020 in The Calm Rooms, Monkstown, Dublin.
A limited number of tickets are available now by clicking here http://bit.ly/NEMMWORKSHOP