Our founder, Kristen Milligan, left a profound legacy with her family and the families we serve. As we approach the second anniversary of her death, we showcase members of our Inheritance of Hope family and what legacy means to them.
Jacey Lawler has volunteered at 17 Legacy Retreats®! She is a favorite of the kids, parents, other volunteers, and staff — everyone!
In May 2013, I officially became “grandparent-less” with the passing of my last grandparent. They were all gone. This fact really hit me hard, and I knew life would be different. Instead of their physical presence, I was left with their memory. Happily, because of my many experiences volunteering with Inheritance of Hope, I knew the power and importance of legacies.
My grandparents played an important role in my life, and I loved them dearly. Both my PopPop and Nana (my dad’s parents) passed away early in my high school years from cancer. My Grandma and Grandpa (my mom’s parents) passed away from illnesses last year, my senior year of college. All of my grandparents came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior at varying points in their lives. For this I am beyond thankful, because it truly shaped the aspects of their legacies that I most value.
I will describe one trait of each grandparent that I especially value as part of their legacy. My Grandpa was tenacious. He worked hard as a sheet metal worker in NYC, on buildings like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Persisting in hardships and providing for his family were important to him. While he did not express his emotions or love very well, I definitely value his tenacity.
What my Grandpa lacked in gentleness, my Grandma made up for with her overflowing sweetness. Watching her, I learned to never underestimate the importance of a caring word or sweet smile. Being compassionate to those hard to love is key. She left a legacy of sympathetic consideration that I value.
My Nana’s spunky and unique personality is something I will forever cherish. I admire a person who is not afraid to speak her mind and can be herself no matter the situation. A grandparent who proudly shows her neighbors her rainbow colored fingernails that her young granddaughter painted defines spunk in my book. It’s ok to be zany.
A legacy of laughter characterizes my comedic PopPop. His quick wit and appreciation of comedy were a joy to see in action. Making others happy is such a precious gift. He did this naturally and in a nonabrasive way that I try to follow.
Remembering and emulating these legacies of my grandparents is a personal goal of mine as a granddaughter. Volunteering for Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreats® is the perfect way to put them into action. My Grandpa’s tenacity makes me appreciate and want to support the fighters in this world … especially the fighters of life-threatening illnesses. Even though it gets tough, I am determined to persevere and encourage others to persevere. A gentle attitude and calming presence is key for expressing genuine compassion. I think of my Grandma when I console someone or provide support. I try to remember how she utilized her gentle spirit to quietly encourage those around her.
Legacy Retreats® have diverse families with unique family members, and I imitate my Nana’s spunky attitude to be outgoing and welcoming. Lastly, laughter is frequent at retreats despite the participants’ hardships. A joyful spirit helps cheer on others who are struggling. So we laugh and joke! My PopPop would appreciate the amount of smiles and giggles that occur because of Inheritance of Hope.
I plan to continue these legacies from my grandparents while I seek to honor God and help others through their trying times.
We want to hear from you! What does legacy mean to you? What legacy has influenced you? What legacy do you want to leave? Send your words, images, videos, or other creative expressions to Eric@InheritanceOfHope.org for a chance to be featured in our legacy series in October!