20 Jan 2019

Where was it that I was reading about that very thing yesterday, legacy? The writer had lamented that no one outside the family sphere would remember him when he died, and that THAT would only be until further generations of the family supplanted him and his memory.

Legacy, what is left behind.

During a two hour walk recently, my sister and I had returned to a well-worn topic in our family: our father. Whilst an eminent man in his field, who will be remembered for his contributions to science, we have always considered it very hard being his children, something our brother agrees with entirely too. The man was tyrannical, impossible (our mother's adjective to describe him!) and harsh on us all. He did not understand confidence-giving, preferring to find fault and deride. We felt he drove our mother to an early grave. And that's a terrible admission to make.

This may simply be our way of seeing things, but there we are. I have never met any one else so contrary, so clever and yet so merciless to those you'd think would matter most. I wondered then, and I wonder now: is that what is called flawed genius? If so, we were the fallout at the epicentre of the larva flow. His gain, in terms of scientific legacy, was our loss, in purely psychological terms. A friend once commented that it was a wonder we children had actually turned out so sane, subjected to the fatherly tyranny and wrath we undoubtedly were for many decades. She failed to detect the emotional scars beneath the façade of normality! For whilst it may be true that " What doesn't kill you strengthens you, " in our case, it has come at great cost.

Three individuals and their mother each deeply affected by the taint of genius, the unrelenting search for perfection which was carried over to the personal. Reins only to be held by The Head of The Family.

Legacy? For my part, an enduring interest in what makes people tick, as well as a desire to promote the sort of kindness which was in short supply when he was at home. Ironically, that's probably his greatest legacy to me: The desire not to be like him! Sad, or what!!

At the risk of sounding maudlin , what would you like your legacy to be?

Apologies to those of you not in your seventh decade of life!!


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