Posted by: Robin~AllThingsHeartandHome | January 6, 2009

The trip to the grocery store that changed my life (by making me aware of Living My Legacy)

Thirteen or more years ago on a cold January afternoon, a trip to the grocery store changed my life.

The pressure of juggling the schedules of four teenagers was pressing in on my last nerve. Truth be told, something was always pressing on my last nerve. That day I still needed to grocery shop and do a mountain of laundry.

I left the kids at home and headed to the grocery store. 


Inside the store, I pushed the cart up and down the isles trying not to mow down the huge display of spam. Who  eats spam any more? How old is that stuff anyway?  My mind was racing with nonsense when my buggy nearly hit the back of his heel.

I gasped and the gray haired man turned around.

Hello, neighbor” he grinned.

Standing there, in a dark blue suit, crisp white shirt and a shinny red tie my neighbor Robert, looked completely put together.


“And how are you this fine day Robin?” He sounded surprisingly chipper for a man who’d just six months before lost his wife of thirty years.


“I’m okay Robert, how are you doing?” My voice dripped with pity.  “I’m so sorry for your loss.”


Thank you” he said looking down and stuffing his hands in his pants pockets. “ It was hard at the end. She put up a fight though.”

Suddenly, he looked right into my eyes. “It’ll probably sound terrible to you, but I’m kind of excited about starting over.”


Pregnant pause. What the heck do I say to that?


Well, that’s good.” I stumbled. “So is there anyone in particular?”

No, no, no. Not at all. I just know what I’m looking for this time. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but it would be someone exactly opposite of Sheila.”


Dear Father in heaven, could this GET any more awkward?


I mean, I loved her” he added quickly, “but she and I had a rocky thirty years. She was, I guess you’d say, a little difficult.”

He forced a laugh. “She’d say the same about me. Anyway, next time, I want less drama. More peace. And more laughing.”


Time stopped. My chest felt heavy. I couldn’t breathe. This was a God Thing…

 We said our good byes. I felt so sad. For Sheila and Robert.


But I also felt sad for my husband, Mike and for me.

The lights in the store were too bright. I looked at my feet. The floor was too shiny.


That’s how Mike would feel if I died tomorrow…

It was true and I knew it.

Uptight. That was me. Life as a rule overwhelmed me. Some days I went from drama to drama.

Finally getting to my car, shivering, I put my head in my hands and wept. Slowly the heater started to warm the cold air around me as I heard a clear message from God’s heart to mine.

If I die before Mike, I don’t want him to look for someone opposite of me. Like Sheila, I needed, less drama. More laughter. More peace.

 That very day I came home and wrote down what I wanted Mike to say about me when I was gone…this is it…

*She loved God

*She loved me and the kids

*We always knew she was praying for us

*She made our house a home. Peaceful and safe.

*She supported me and encouraged me constantly.

*She was my best friend.

That list has become my standard. How do you want people to remember you?



  1. Robin, I can’t tell you in a little comment box how much this touched me this morning. I read it slowly–so it would last and tried not to race to the end. I probably moved my lips while reading. Every word was well-chosen. Nothing here that’s not needed.

    This has everything. Transparency. Heart. Takes us right to the scene with you. Universal take away. Life changing.

    I’m honored to be one of your readers and friends.

    Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.

    My love,

  2. This was a great story. Tears in the eyes…I’m going to work it into my life. Thank you for sharing this. Your writing is amazing.

  3. So eloquently written. I too am deeply touched. And then to read Julie’s comment… girl you got it exactly right… I too slowed way down to get every single word because they were all just right!

    These words will stay with me too. LOVE IT! Thank you Robin. Love to you and your mad writing chops:)

  4. Wow. You have such a beautiful heart… one that listens to all the ways God speaks.

  5. i so needed to read this… i can tend to be a bit uptight at times and worry about the most insignificant stuff!!!! i so wished you lived closer to me, you’re always so encouraging and uplifting to me.

  6. This m’lady is a fantastic post! Great reminder of what and how others see us.

  7. See, I told you! Always inspiring! This was as good as if I read it right off of one of Maya Angelou’s pages. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  8. Well It isn’t Really Ruthie, It is Really Keithy.
    Well written, well said, well thought out. I would really say I would want Ruth to marry again but the way you said it makes me ponder if she would look for 180 degrees? I guess I better ask her. Good job.

  9. Oh, what to say to that! Robin that is very touching and has made me think..I know I need to give this alot more thought, because there are days that I am just an unhappy and sad person, no one would want to be with. I don’t want to wear Brad’s death as a label, but I think I have let it become “my label”. Thanks.

  10. wow is right. julie said it best. That is very honest, not only from you, but from the neighbor that shared it. It makes me wonder if he ever found the love he was looking for. I like to think I have found it with Clay, and I have thought about that before, what would my kids remember about me, nagging and harassing them about homework, or truly loving them deeply…

  11. Great story telling. Great message to me. I really want to examine all my relationships and ask this questions. What would my husband, kids, relatives, co-workers and friends say given the choice, would they choose me?

  12. Wow! You can’t imagine how timely this is for a lot of us who are gearing up for a new year and hoping for change. I will remember your thoughts in many of my challenges that I encounter daily. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope your neighbor found what he was looking for.

  13. Wow, another amazing post. I love hearing how God uses others’ to speak to us right where we are. This is such a good thing to think about. This is exactly why you are my blog Robin! 🙂

  14. great story and an important reminder for us all and how we interact with one another!

  15. Good Gravy Robin! I came to your blog today expecting to find a cool craft idea or one of your sweet blogs that make me giggle… today I am kicked in the gut, in the best way possible:) You have made me cry and consider. i so want those things too! However it is so easy for me to become flustered, crinkled and cranky, especially with my little boys. I want them to experience the best of me, not the tired mommy they see so often. I am trying but exactly how do I make that happen? Continue this post with a series please of how you have made this part of your life perhaps? How do we do this, especially as moms with little ones?

  16. […] Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 2:43 pm Sorry to get all up in your grill but the Lord used this post to get all up in mine so I thought I would share the blessing!  Robin is an awesome lady I met at […]

  17. I felt like I was reading a story about myself… THANK you for blessing me today….and being a tool God has used to speak to MY heart… I’m going now to make MY list

  18. I am a first time reader. I got sent over by a follower of mine, Vicky. I love this post. I am going to link it on my blog if you don’t mind. I am writing the post now and want to send my readers over here to read this.

    Beautiful story.

  19. OH my goodness Robin. This was priceless. You are some kind of woman, do you know that? Not only do you have a tender heart and a great thinker, you are an incredibly gifted writer. Thank you for sharing this.

  20. […] you legacy  After my post last week on the Grocery store trip that changed my life, Erica said this: “…could you continue this post with a series please of how you have made this […]

  21. Robin I’m SOOO glad you found me on twitter and sent me to your blog! This post moved me SOO much! Like all of the other comments say, you wrote ever word so perfectly, I had tears in my eyes. Sometimes we get SO wrapped up in the “every day” of life, we forget to LIVE our life and ENJOY!! Luckily I too had noticed this about myself not long ago, and your post was a GREAT reminder!!!

    Thank you SO much for sharing!!


  22. […] have my next legacy post written and ready.  (If you’re new, the Legacy posts started Here) It’s: Making my House a Home by: Creating a place of comfort.  But when I got ready to schedule […]

  23. What a “God moment.” Thank you for opening your heart and sharing this with us. I know God will bless you and you seek these. Blessings, Susan

  24. I found your site today from the Living a Beautiful Life linky party at The Inspired Room.

    I didn’t expect to find anything so beautiful, so touching, and so profound.

    My mother passed away almost 4 years ago. My dad has since found someone else, and although he doesn’t come right out and say it, it’s clear that he looked for someone totally opposite to my mom.

    I’ve given a lot of thought to that (it hurts) and I’ve talked to my husband about it. I try to live every day being the kind of wife that makes him happy. We’ve been together for over 30 years. I don’t want him to look back on the greater part of his life and regret it.

    Thank you for sharing this. You are an amazing writer and I’m sure, an amazing woman too.

  25. […] to my next post on Living My Legacy! This series started here and in my Category Section at the very bottom of this page click on All Things Legacy to see all of […]

  26. […] to my next post on Living My Legacy! This series started here and in my Category Section at the very bottom of this page click on All Things Legacy to see all of […]

  27. […] “Legacy” series started with a simple “Trip to the Grocery Store”. I believe that all of us are living our legacy every single day and I’m determined to live […]

  28. I cannot tell you how wonderful your posting is — it needs to be shared with so many women! And I’m going to do my part to do that! Grins and blessings!

  29. Robin,
    I was directed here from Vanessa’s blog. Wow. What a truly thought provoking post!! You have really caused me to stop and think. I busy myself with chores to make our home organized and beautiful, but am I making my house a HOME?? Less drama, more peace… MORE LAUGHTER!! You’ve given me a new prayer!! THANKS!!!

  30. […] series started here. And all the Legacy posts are under All Things Legacy. Love to you […]

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