By Stephanie Holland
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “legacy” today. It seems so incredible to me that we could be talking about Ethan – someone I knew – someone’s child, grandchild, nephew, brother – someone the same age as Josh – in terms of his “legacy” already.
I’ve been scouring the internet to try to find something that made sense to me. The first thing that jumped out at me was this quote.
“as you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that’s your legacy.”
That I can understand. As human beings we all have an effect on the world and people around us. Ethan was no different. Looking through old photographs I’m reminded how he left a “little footprint” on my life and Josh’s. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have one of my best friends. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have known where to go for support and understanding when Josh was born. Our lives would be different, less, if we hadn’t met Ethan. He certainly didn’t plan that, but I’m grateful for the little footprints he made for us to follow.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
Of course, most of the stuff out there on the internet about legacy applies to people who work at building a legacy, or have money to create a legacy. I think this quote from one of Ethan’s favorites puts the word in a better context.
Ethan’s legacy is one of positive change. He changed the people who knew him – and so many that he never met. Thanks to the brave efforts of his family, Ethan’s footprints have created a path for advocacy and social change. But, it’s hard for me to think of the shy little blonde -haired kid I used to know in those terms.
So today I toast what Ethan’s memory means to me:
*Here’s to Ethan and the little footprints he left us to follow.
May we always remember to show those we love how we feel,
Stand up for what is right,
And be grateful for the people who love and understand us no matter what.
Thank you Ethan. *