This is a letter to my nephews and the siblings that may follow.
Life and the world that sustains it is a new experience for you, full of wonder and discovery. Lucky for you, it is also one full of love, protection and outright devotion. As those that surround you get older, weaker, and further away; that love will never whither.
Life is a mystery full of contradictions and may at times seem unfair; but these worries are for you to wrestle with as you get older. What would also be unfair is to pretend that the world you have been brought into is perfect. For every loving gesture you will witness one of hate, and for every joyful event you will suffer heartbreak or a loss. However, as a wise man once said, “there would be no joy without pain, and no rain without the sun.”
Your maternal grand-father, who you will never meet, was a man whose time came to an end but whose legacy will live through your mothers and your uncle. He will live through the stories that we share, whilst his appearance will be known to you by looking at the photos that we all keep on our walls or bed side tables. He also lives through the ink that your uncle had tattooed on him all these years back. If you wish to keep your Nana happy, I would keep your tattoos in a hidden place.
This abuelo of yours, a name he lived with for far too short a time, is in a way a perfect representation of life. An example of the importance that your actions have in shaping your legacy. It is about this legacy, my legacy too, that I write this letter to you.
Your abuelo was a complicated man, and in itself, that is a simple description. So complicated, that your mothers and I will have very different memories of him. But why your abuelo is important in this letter, is because he has taught me, through his actions, how important legacy is.
Your legacy is what stays behind when your presence is gone; sometimes it can be a material legacy, such as inheritance, or land, perhaps a house or even furniture. With your abuelo, though there are certainly some material legacies, the one that really matters is the legacy of his memory. It is the things that he did, and didn’t do, that have made us who we are, and who will play a small part in shaping who you will become. You may share some of his physical traits, or inherit a personality trait. Just as your mothers and I have.