What Piece Will You Leave Behind?

by Connie

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The local radio station was running a fundraiser, for the children’s hospital, all weekend. 

While running errands, I heard a mother describe her 5 year-old son, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I began listening, mid-interview, but I believe the boy’s name was Mattie. 

Mattie loved his pre-school teacher and was sad when he could no longer attend school. One day, he sent an envelope to his teacher, with one lone jigsaw puzzle piece inside. 

She was perplexed by its arrival and brought it home to show her daughter.  A few days later, another piece arrived for the teacher, and so on, and so on. 

The teacher continued bringing puzzle pieces home, sharing them with her family.  Her daughter assembled the pieces until the puzzle was complete. 

Once finished, the teacher and her daughter saw a colorfully decorated hand-drawn heart, on the front of the puzzle.  ‘I love you.  Mattie’ was scrawled, in children’s printing, on the backside. 

The day after the puzzle was complete, Mattie’s tired spirit left his body.

After Mattie crossed over, his mother and teacher were joined together in their grief and their loss.  To honor Mattie, they agreed to focus on the parts of him that were left behind; namely his love, thoughtfulness and caring for others.

Writing Your Energetic Eulogy

Hearing this got me thinking on a grander scale, ’What piece, of each of us, will we leave behind?’

What piece, of you, will you leave behind? 

It’s a very simple question, and yet a pretty profound one, at the same time.  How differently might you live your life, if you contemplated this question throughout your day? 

You, and everything around you, are composed of pure energy.  That energy includes your actions, and the emotions they create, within you as well as others. 

That energy never dies.  It never crosses over. 

It simply is. 

Forever and ever, Amen. 

What you leave behind becomes your energetic eulogy, if you will. 

It’s your eternal epitaph; for better or worse, imprinted on all those you’ve ever interacted with and leave behind. 

How Differently Might You Live Your Life?

Would you change the way you treat yourself, your family, friends and acquaintances if you consciously thought about leaving your eternal legacy, in and on this world? 

The frontal lobe of our brain gives us the ability to understand the future consequences of our current actions.  It also plays an important part in the retention of long-term remembrances; those most frequently associated with our emotions and memories. 

Would you treat people, differently, if this question, ‘What piece, of you, will you leave behind?’ was at the forefront of your frontal lobe? 

Do you think you would be more patient with others?  Would you, perhaps, be more generous in sharing your time? 

When thinking about the time spent with you, will your children or grandchildren recall you sending them off to watch television?  Or, will they fondly remember going on walks, exploring the wonders of the neighborhood, together? 

Will they recall baking brownies or playing under a fort made from couch cushions, end tables and old blankets, with you?  What are you leaving behind? 

Are your known for cheer-leading your friends; always encouraging and recognizing them and their accomplishments?  Do you do the same, for yourself? 

Will others remember you because of your position and title at work, or because when grilling hamburgers for the family, each was served-up, just right? 

Would you be remembered for going out-of-your-way for another, no matter the cost to you?  Are you one who would help a stranger jump a car battery in the rain, even if it made you late for an appointment? 

Will you be known for being kind and forgiving towards others?   Would you be known for being kind and forgiving of yourself, as well? 

I’ve not had the honor of meeting Mattie, or his family.  I certainly couldn’t pick him out of the many smiling faces of his pre-school class photo. 

Since hearing his mother share the story of Mattie that day, I can honestly say, not a day has gone by, when I haven’t thought of the essence of Mattie; the pieces that he left behind, to share with all of us. 

Relationships Are The Connections We Have The Courage To Create

Years ago, I was blessed with a life-threatening diagnosisThe dis-ease brought me many gifts.  Among the gifts I still cherish most is clarity. 

I’ve always understood the true meaning of life was relationships; the connections we have the courage to create with one another. 

Once diagnosed, my lucidity about this point became enhanced.  I understand the significance of our interactions on a cellular level.  It’s one of the gifts from that life lesson that has retained its impact with me. 

Teilhard de Chardin, the French geologist and Jesuit priest, said: 

‘The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of ones self, to others.’

I find it interesting that although Mattie was born 50 years after de Chardin crossed over, they both understood and shared the same message with us. 

This leaves me to ask you:

‘What piece of you, are you, leaving behind?’ 

After all, the choice is yours.

I’d be honored if you’d share your answer to the question, ‘What piece of you, will you leave behind?’, using the form, below.

This post was originally written by me, as a guest post for The Dreamer, an on-line magazine.  I liked it so much, I wanted to share it with all of you.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Krystyna Domagala November 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

This post nearly made me cry. It reminded me of a story I heart once about a mother who was dying of cancer when her daughter was just an infant. Instead of wallowing in depression, (which is probably what I would have done) she wrote letters to her daughter to open on significant events. So she had a letter for graduating, for her major birthdays, for getting married and so on. Its so touching to know that even though that little girl lost her mother without having any memories of her, her mother did everything to make sure that her loving, positive essence was left behind long after she was gone.

I don’t know what I’ll leave behind if I were to go, but I do know that I think about this a lot. I make sure never to leave without a hug and a kiss, I try my hardest never to go to bed mad at someone, and I try to end a phone conversation positively. You never know what will happen to someone. You could die in a car accident right after a fight, and the last thing you said would have been negative. I know that if I was mean to someone the last time I saw them, I would regret it terribly; even if I was nice to them every other time.


Connie December 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm


Thanks for sharing the touching story of the mother and daughter. It’s my belief that the we never really leave. I’ve experienced the presence of those who’ve passed, throughout my Life. I find that very comforting.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve made it a habit to give hugs and kisses when you leave and to never go to bed mad.

We all have our bad days and none of us is perfect, but it’s a good thing to put into practice, none the less. I, too, try my best to do the same thing.



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