My understanding of inheritance has evolved over the last few years. This evolution began in July 2017 when I lost my mom and confidante to cancer. Soon after, my dear dad passed away, in November 2018. If that was not enough, I also lost my brother suddenly, on Jan. 1, 2020. With my recent life changes, inheritance has taken on a completely different, deeper meaning than ever before.

Before the recent deaths in my family, I viewed inheritance more as acquiring genetic traits and, to some extent, personality, but inheritance as it relates to receiving money or personal property was never something I thought about much. I guess, partly because it is an uncomfortable, unsettling topic. With inheritance as it relates to the latter comes the realization that my family structure has infinitely changed. The family dynamic as I have always known it to be is now very different.

No longer am I visiting or talking to my parents and brother. No longer will there be holiday gatherings at their home and summer get-togethers by the pool. My mom really loved spending time by the pool with her family and friends. We often had in-depth conversations while relaxing poolside, where we would hash out the current politics of the day, family and life in general.

Although inheritance has forced me to come face to face with the reality of death, also with it come some comforting advantages. My parents ultimately wanted to leave my brother and me something tangible in their death, but they gave us so much more than they probably ever realized.

Today, I sit by my own pool (thanks, Mom and Dad) with my children and grandchildren, discussing the politics of the day, family and life in general. My parents left this true inheritance to me. They taught me through example that the family bond and its importance here on earth is really the best gift and legacy that we could ever have received from them.

I want to thank my mom and dad for giving us this gift of family and everything it embodies. Even though I lost these very important people in my life in such a short amount of time, they left me with the value of having a strong family unit. I feel truly blessed and hope that I have instilled these same values in my own children. After all, to me this is what inheritance is actually all about!

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