Love as a Legacy


My husband, Richard, and I went to see Rocketman this afternoon, the Elton John biopic. It’s actually described as “an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Sir Elton John’s breakthrough years.” It’s pretty epic, and it’s a musical in parts (which normally I can’t stand — yes, I know, you may unfriend me now — but it was perfect here), and it is a bit fantastical but in really tasteful and meaningful doses.

Elton John has been sober now for 28 years, but his journey there, as one may expect, was not easy. A lot roots back to self-hatred, or, maybe more basically, a lack of self-acceptance. And of course this is where a lot of addiction takes root. His parents were not loving and not accepting of him. That comes through pretty clearly in the movie.

After the movie, both Richard and I were left both perplexed and heartbroken at the notion of how many grown-up children are running around at this very moment suffering because they were not loved in the way that they needed to be loved when they were kids, and so they inflict the harm that can come from that kind of pain onto others and/or onto themselves.

And on it goes, the cycle of pain and unlove, inflicted onto the next generation unless it somehow gets broken by someone who has the strength to name what is going on, to heal themselves and forgive others, and to move beyond it.

Many of us are inspired to think about what kind of legacy we might leave — I know I am, anyway — what kind of difference we might make in the world. And I’m thinking now that the most beautiful legacy we can leave is to love well. To love those who count on us, in the way that they need it. What if all we did — as a beautiful, honourable, meaningful legacy — was to love our children wholly and completely, unconditionally and non-judgmentally, deeply and strongly. What if that was all we did, all that we got right in this world, all that we left as a legacy? How much future pain would we prevent? How much future harm? How much dysfunction and suffering?

Loads of it. Absolutely loads of it.

And if we have a bit of extra love in our stores, maybe we could direct that towards the ones around us who may not be getting the love that they need from their own family.

Love, baby. It is the key to everything.