Your legacy can be so much more than money or property left in a will...
Fathima shares her story about the priceless legacy she received and passes on to her loved ones.
Some are fortunate to have a dad who is loving and doting. While others never learn the love of a father. I am one of the few who was lucky to have two fathers whose lives provided shining examples to live by.
My dad, Shafeeq, and my father-in-law, Younus, inspired me in different ways. Their deaths, in 2017 and 2021, respectively, left a gaping hole in my life but also gave me time to reflect on their purpose in life.
As different as my dads were, they were both extroverts, people-pleasers, and generous. Theirs were lives well-lived.
Dad Shafeeq was not a rich man and placed no value on a person’s status or objects, making friends with bus drivers, car guards, and politicians alike. His friendships were pure and true.
His generosity drove our family nuts. Sometimes, we scolded him when we brought him a special gift, and he re-gifted it. He would give away his last long johns because “So and so needed it more than I did.”
It was not until he died that I learnt why he was so giving. He left me a priceless gift, a letter in which he recounted his life story, and I could still hear his voice as I read it.
He spoke of losing his mum when he was six, being raised in an extended family and always sharing his belongings with siblings and cousins. That’s when I realised why he parted with his possessions so easily.
“He left me a priceless gift, a letter in which he recounted his life story, and I could still hear his voice as I read it."
When my Dad Shafeeq passed away, and I was drowning in sorrow, my second dad stepped up to the plate. He made sure my kids and I remembered the good times we had shared with Dad Shafeeq, and in that way, he kept him alive in our minds.
I did not realise the void Dad Younus filled so effortlessly until the day I lost him too!
My father-in-law was small in stature, but his personality and persona were gigantic. When he passed away, those who knew him cried as much, if not more than us, his family.
He had made it his duty to visit all his family members (and phone those overseas), check up on widows and orphans, see what they needed, and make a plan to provide for their needs. He kept the entire family connected, and he was the go-to person if you needed to know someone’s whereabouts, health, or catch up on their family.
He enlisted my daughter’s help to draw up a family tree, painstakingly recording deaths, births, and marriages, telling her that this tree would keep us connected when he wasn’t around. Which 20-year-old today can tell you their family’s history for the last five generations? My third-born child can.
Dad Younus entrusted us with the huge responsibility of maintaining family ties. And following Dad Shafeeq’s example, I have adopted a new outlook and have trained myself to give something I love away whenever I buy something new.
Filling either of my dads’ shoes is impossible, but I hope they will be proud as I try to be less self-absorbed and more giving. They taught me to live life with a purpose and how pleasing others can make me happy. I can’t ask for a better legacy!
Please take time to live in the present, appreciate what and who you have, and give without thinking of what you will get in return.
Meet Fathima S Meer
Fathima S Meer is a ghostwriter, blogger, editor, proofreader, and a full-time mum to four delightful daughters with a passion for life, travel, and politics.
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