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Remembering Loved Ones: Legacy Without Children or Grandchildren

November 3, 2017

The woman who was effectively my mother-in-law passed away on the 16th of October. This is a hard post to write because it brings up many feelings I wasn’t prepared to have.

For the first time in my adult life I wondered if I had made the right decision by not having children. Don’t get me wrong, I would have made a terrible mother. And having children because your mother-in-law wants you to is exactly the wrong reason to do so.


I believe she always wanted to be a grandmother. She stopped pressuring us pretty early on because she was an awesome woman. But, did I deny her an experience she should have had by not having children?


Of course, I know the answer intellectually. No, I didn’t deny her anything. She was a loving woman with room in her heart for many children. She was surrounded by extended family, the children of friends, and more. But reading her obituary that named her two sons and two daughters-in-law without reference to children made me wonder what other people thought about us.


Though, that’s the important part, right? We shouldn’t feel like having children is something we do for someone else. And since I never felt that it was something I wanted to do for myself, I chose not to do it at all.


Ultimately, I don’t regret that choice.




So how do we remember someone without the socially accepted legacy that results from children, grandchildren, and so on through the generations?