Imprinting

Recently, at the inaugural MBC Legacy Workshop with SurvivingBreastCancer.org, as we were discussing our definitions of legacy, one of the participants suggested that we could think of our influence on those around us as “imprinting.” I immediately got distracted thinking of geese and ducks, which I know aren’t the only animals who are influenced by imprinting, but then it hit me.

Imprinting is for life.

Imprinting becomes a part of who you are and how you see yourself.

As I’ve written before, when I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) in 2017, I was legitimately worried that my children might not remember me as a whole person, that their memories would be from other people rather than their own. Those worries have somewhat dissipated over the last five (5) years; at the same time, I think about it a lot. I try to think back to their ages and what I remember from that time period.

As my dear friend, Rod Ritchie, keeps reminding me, children do remember their moms, even if they don’t have decades and decades to spend together. Rod can speak intelligently about that since he lost his mom to MBC and it’s comforting to see people like Rod and Dr. Andrew Silver, both of whom lost their moms to MBC, and perhaps envision some of what my children’s impact will be.

There’s another word that we discussed at the Legacy Workshop — impact. The context of this label was much more when talking about the wider impact on extended family and society, more than children, but the thought process is the same. As we measure our impact on those we love and the world, it is important to think about who we are impacting.

As I’ve thought about legacy and impact and now, imprinting, I find myself taking more time and focusing my intentions on this process. Sometimes, who we are and who we want to be are not aligned; and that process of improving or adjusting is a lesson I’ve tried to live out in front of my kids. I remember that saying, more is caught than taught; which can be awfully tough to live up to. Those closest to us see all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

12 thoughts on “Imprinting

  1. Your legacy is assured, dear Abigail, not only with your family and friends, but also in the breast cancer social media community where your impact has been huge.

    I just love the concept of imprinting, and I now accept that even though I only had my mom around for 12 years, her very being was indelibly imprinted in me. This has been a great comfort, even though six decades have elapsed since her passing. And you know what, this isn’t just about sadness, it’s about joy and a feeling of gratitude for what mom imbued in me.

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  2. Thank you for this and thank you for the opportunity to experience the workshop. I have pages of ideas and notes! Imprinting struck a chord with me as well. I need to be more intentional with that. I am paying it forward by writing notes to people who have left their imprint on my life. Thanks again for leaving an imprint on me!

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  3. I think that as a human being we all have “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly🥴👵🏻! As I am now 71 years old, my children have reminded me of all of those parts of my life. I have come to the conclusion that a lot of forgiveness must come with the decisions a parent must make. I am a mother of five! Even after Bethany died from MBC. I am still the mother of 5!!! It is always important that we all realize that we are all of the parts!! We must love, more than hate, forgive more that selfishly hold the grudge, and lastly do unto others as we would have them do unto us!!

    I think the best speech given by the FIU chaplain about my daughter was that our Bethany loved people! And thus that is her legacy!! Her short life lives on in her children ages 9 and 6 as I see so many reflections of her every time I am with them!!

    My daughter was a researcher and every time I would say something, she would ask,”Are you sure that is true?” Well the last time Eli, her nine year old was over and I said something and he remarked,”Gramma,” ARE YOU SURE THAT IS TRUE????❤️🥴👵🏻“ I had to smile and tell him I ❤️ You!! That is her legacy!! You are living and this is your legacy!!! You fill it with love for family and others and my dearest Abigail!! To me THAT IS YOUR LEGACY!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  4. Your legacy is assured, dear Abigail, not only with your family and friends, but also in the breast cancer social media community where your impact has been huge.

    I just love the concept of imprinting, and I now accept that even though I only had my mom around for 12 years, her very being was indelibly imprinted in me. This has been a great comfort to me even though six decades have elapsed since her passing. And you know what, this isn’t just about sadness, it’s about joy and a feeling of gratitude for what mom imbued in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Know what? Not only will they remember you by this age, but even those who didn’t get a chance get to know their parents even after they’re gone, and not really from other people, but from other people making them realize when they look like you, have an expression like yours, say something you’d say… I watch my daughter light up when she is reminded how much she is like her dad. It’s like she gets a piece of him back.

    The imprints are there. Even without having spent much time together in the physical self. It blows my mind every day how much I see of my late husband in so much of my daughter! ❤️

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