The legacy of my parents

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

I lost my father last year. I buried my feelings deep, nobody knew at work what had happened. I cried at night, my kids did not see me mourn, either. This was the way I was taught to behave. ‘Do not show your feelings, because then your vulnerability is apparent.’ ‘A woman must be strong and endure anything, she has a family to care for so cannot afford to be frail.’ Messages women in my family kept alive and passed on to daughters for generations. Messages that served them well in world wars and unhealthy relationships.

But what do these messages have to do with me? Apparently, subconsciously I continue to act accordingly, but consciously I am on my way of trying to differentiate between behaviors stemming from my upbringing and my own choices.

Leaving my childhood of indiscriminate acceptance my first reaction to my parents’ messages was rebellion. Since my teenage years, I was rebelling against everything they passed on, many times deliberately doing the opposite of their advice. Looking back I also have to admit that they gave me a lot of freedom with regards to major decisions (which high school / university to go to, the guys I dated, living abroad alone at 16), and interfered only in minor issues (schedules to keep, cleaning my room, clothes I could wear). Still, I loathed every opinion, advice or idea they suggested.

Actually, after about 20 years of prolonged teenage revolt, the passing away of my father started to change my perspective. I wrote a list about the legacy of my parents in my life and now I am more able to appreciate their contribution without my quick and usual refusal. I believe that they are for a reason my parents and my contemplation (and writing!) on our relationship made me a more conscious person with regards to creating my own choices for the challenges in my life.

I started to list his teachings here, but I cannot, sorry. It is better to write your own answers, anyways.


If and while you can, share your findings with your parents letting them enjoy and see what a great person you have become.


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