My grandmother was 93. Sharp tongued, sharp minded, and stubborn. My grandfather passed away at 96. It puts a lot of things into perspective: life, heritage, and the legacies we inherit or leave behind.
I remember the last conversation I had with my grandfather. As we reminisced about my youth and infantile shenanigans, he brought up his daughter, my mother. She died of cancer at the age of 50, something that pained my grandfather.
He said, “A child is supposed to bury their parent, not the other way around.”
The thought of having outlived my mother overwhelmed him. But suddenly his sorrow turned to joy as he said, “My mind is at peace because I see and hear her in you.”
He didn’t say this because I have her eyes or the same weird laugh. He said this because just like her, I had devoted a big part of my life to standing up and fighting for others when I could have taken easier paths and careers in life because I was blessed with the intellect and drive to be anything.
He spoke of his upbringing—an oppressed, ethnically divided, and racially segregated existence in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. As I heard the compassion in his voice as he spoke of love, justice, and tolerance, it hit me, I could see a lot of my grandfather in me—or shall I say, I saw a lot of me in him.
I had an epiphany as I listened to my grandfather share his stories and experiences. You see, who we become as parents not only passes on to our children, but into our children’s children. How we raise them. What we expose them to. How we teach them. It all, to a great extent, defines who they are and will become for better or for worse. And those same traits will influence their offspring—your grandchildren. So the question I pose to you and to us as a generation is this, who are we as parents, and who do we want our children and the generations that follow to be?
Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon bestselling author whose books explore captivating musings and thought-provoking conversations about love, relationships, life and our human experience. You can find his book on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter @kwapiv or subscribe to his blog at kwapiv.com