Leaving a Legacy of Love

August 23rd, 2015

IMG_2540 2The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.

This is very true for me right now. I have shared every joy and crisis in my life with my mum, until this one.

This is the first grief I am doing without her.

My mum was small in size but had a massive impact on so many people. I want to share her legacy, so I made this video. It’s not meant to be a eulogy, just some things I will always appreciate and remember.

I made the video just hours after Mum died, so bear with me if it feels raw or jumbled in any way. I hope it inspires you. Go and hug the people you love. Tell them you love them. Spend your time doing things that matter. Don’t waste time or energy on trivia. Life is too short.

RIP Margaret Lawton. Love always x


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  1. Patti Baldus says:

    Lovely tribute to your Mum, Ian. She and your family have been very much on our minds and in our conversations today……many people mentioned how much they enjoyed her company, how they felt she had become a friend, and how she genuinely liked being in this odd place called West Michigan…..all of us at C3 feel your loss, and we know that her legacy will live on in you, Meg, and your children. Peace.

  2. David Bradley says:

    Such a deeply moving tribute Ian; both to a remarkable person, and equally so to the love and fire with which and for which she lived.I’ve got to admit that such was the raw emotional power of your words that several times I had to stop and take a few moments before continuing to listen, but that’s only made the strength of your message sink deeper, and made me more determined to follow her example in a legacy of love.Thank you for sharing this, and know all our thoughts & love are with you & your beloveds.  

  3. Joy Campbell says:

    What a beautiful tribute Ian. I never met your mother but I feel as if I knew her through your words. How blessed we would all be if our legacy to our children was as your mum’s has been to you. Yes, life can change in a flash. We learn that through the years. Life is too short to bear grudges or sweat the small stuff.  As you say, we must treasure every minute with our loved ones. I’m sure the memorories of your mother will only grow richer over time and console and inspire you all in the days and years ahead. Much love to you all. Xx

  4. Betty Van Till says:

    Ian,Your  words about your Mum are sooooo true.  We feel privileged to have known her, to have spent numerous dinners absorbing her happy spirit, her love, her feisty spirit, her tenderness.  She is one that all anyone could do is love her.We are thinking of all of you as you go through these days of processing her loss.  The only good part is that you and she had so much love for one another and no one can take any of those memories from you.  Know that we care and hold you and Bill in our hearts as you walk these days without her presence.  When  I recall the dinners we have had with Bill  and Margaret, I smile, knowing even before they arrived that we would have a wonderful evening.  We always did.  I do not know how many had written letters she ever wrote, but I have one, which I have saved, that she sent us for Christmas 2 years ago.  It was not an email, but a wonderful long letter written by her on real paper with a real pen! I cherish that so much, because many people do not write on paper anymore.  I will always keep it.  And like you have said, it is filled with activities with family  and friends and the good times she was having.What a wonderful legacy, as you have described, so well.  Thanks for making the video.  She came alive again through your words!!Betty Van till 

  5. ian says:

    hi Betty, thank you for sharing your love and memories. Mum had a spring in her step before, during and after she spent time with you. You and she have much in common, your fierce love for your families, your honesty, your sense of fun, love of laughter. Thank you for being a good friend to mum. Much love to you and Howard

  6. ian says:

    thank you Joy, you are a kind and compassionate woman. You would have loved mum and been great friends if you’d had the chance to meet. Kindred spirits for sure, much love

  7. ian says:

    thanks David, I appreciate your friendship and support so much. You get my mum, as well as getting my sense of loss. Thank you

  8. ian says:

    As you know Patti, Mum loved C3, everything about it; the values, the people, the gatherings, the discussions. I’m so glad she got to experience it, and you all got to experience her. Love to all

  9. Marie Havenga says:

    Thinking of you and your family, Ian… Such a beautiful legacy she, and you, are leaving. A heartfelt hug to all of you as you embrace this meaningful transition in your lives, ironically, through death. 

  10. Roberta says:

    Dear Ian,Thanks for sharing your raw emotions with us. Marg was such an encourager to me and my family for over 40 years. As you know Bill and Marg loved to give Irving the ultimate Australian holiday day at Avoca; even though he  swam at Bondi. We share in your grief and happy memories. Much love to you all. 

  11. Amylyn Robbins says:

    Ian, we are so sorry to hear of the passing of your mum. There is very few challenges more difficult than losing a parent. Its so so true how as children and adults, we all lean on our parents for guidance, support, a smile, a ‘ok’ nod, or even just a ear to listen. May your mums memory live on and on. Our thoughts are with you and the family. All the very best to you.

  12. Dear Ian, sending big hugs and so much love to you all.  Go gently dear hearts, surrounded and carried by the sweet blossom of all the love seeds that you have helped to flourish continue to sow so tenderly.  

  13. Debra says:

    Dearest Ian,My heavy heart goes out to you and your family.  Having met your dear mother I can relate to your words of reflection and love as you share her beautiful and impactful legacy.Margaret’s gift to so so many of us is the son that she bore and shaped into a man whose loving reach continues.  Today I grieve her passing while being filled with gratitude for the amazing gift of you.  I hope your heart can begin to heal with the support of beautiful Meg with your family and friends. Much love, Debrap.s. Margaret was my mother’s name too . . .

  14. Kathleen Kleaveland says:

    Oh Ian!! I am so very very sorry and shocked. I can only imagine how much your heart hurts. Your video brought me to tears. I only encountered your Mum when she came to C3 but we did have lunch 3 or 4 times. She always made me feel special, like we were good friends and I loved her. She was one of the most warm, real, present, caring, compassionate people I know. She was very very special and I will miss knowing she is not in the world any longer. She will be my angel. Love to all of your family as you go through this very difficult time. Namaste. 

  15. Cindy says:

    Ian,  this is beautiful. Your mum would be so honored by this tribute.  She loved you fiercely and was so proud of you.  I saved listening to this until today, the day of her funeral.  I wish we were there with all of you.  I know  you and your entire family will honor her today with loving words and fitting tributes.  We are doing the same here in Michigan.  We will miss her so.  We are so thankful we knew her for awhile.  We will work hard to emulate her loving ways and astounding presence.  Hugs and love,  Cindy and Don

  16. Deb conoyer says:

    Ian: it’s clear you are who you are due to the fine character of your mum, Margaret.  Your pain and grief will lessen in time especially when you realize she hasn’t left you for a moment. Ask and you will eventually witness signs of her presence.  I’ve received many irrefutable signs through out the years from my mom who has passed away.  I so miss calling her when I need a good listener and loving advice. The good news is: you can still talk to her as she’ll still listen. Ask her a question and you will hear her respond in your heart. You will never lose her, Ian.Much Love and Peace for you and your precious family. ❤️Deb

  17. Tanya says:

    Dear IanYour wonderful mum Margaret has left a fantastic legacy of warmth and strength and happiness which I am sure you will carry forward for her.  you have already started doing this by making this video.  Losing someone as strong and positive as your mum is very difficult but she will help you through as you will always have memoriestake care

  18. Cindy Lear says:

    Amazing tribute Ian! I too sensed the specialness of your mother. May you have peace!

  19. Stacie Stevens-Venhuizen says:

    Dear Ian and Meg,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your mum. It was wonderful hearing your tribute to her and listening to the things that many people forget to think about . . . or become too busy in life to make time for their family. My father died when I was 20 (it was expected). My mother died when I was 26 (accidentally). While it was easier to deal with my father’s death as he was ailing, it was much harder to accept my mother’s death. No death is easy. But being reminded of those things e.g. listening, showing love, spending quality time with family are all great reminders that I need to put back into my life. Thank you for that.

    Please accept my deepest condolences. May she rest in peace.


  20. patricia says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. Will remember your family in prayer. Sr. Pat

  21. Sorry to hear of your loss, Ian.  I will pray for your family.  Sr. Pat

  22. Nashreen says:

    Ian and Meg, so sorry for your loss.  Our prayers for all of you to get through this difficult time.  Though never easy, I thank you for sharing your loss with us to help us cope during our times of loss.

  23. Ken Kuipers. says:

    Ian and Meg, Alida and I send you our love and suppoortive energy from Holland, MI. at this heavy time in your lives. Your words are an inspiration and an encouragement. You are missed here and we will carry you with us in the days ahead. Kind regards Ken

  24. Shereen says:

    Deeply saddened  by the news about your mum, please accept my condolences. 

  25. Norma Jean Barker says:

    Dear Ian,i am am truly sorry to hear of your mother Margaret’s death. You are so brave. Your video was very touching. Thank you for loving her so much. Your respect and delight for her presence in your life is evident to me and I am sure many others. I wish I had known her  and in a way I do because of you. Her presence helped shape you and your life as the wonderful man , husband, and father that you are. She will always live on because of the LOVE that flowed through her to her family and friends.  Love to you and your family, Norma Jean Barker.

  26. Sootie says:

    Hi Ian, Your Mum would be so proud of this.  And I bet that Mum & Margie both watched it together with their mothers so proud of you.  My Mum thought you were terrific.  I always agreed with her, she was always right.  Losing Mum has been the biggest pain I have experienced, and nothing else compares to that.  Losing Dad at seven, hurt me as a seven year old, but I wasn’t really aware of what death meant then.  I feel joy that I got to spend my birthday with her & Geoff with Mum having lunch outside.  Forty three years of beautiful memories. Love Sootie

  27. Karen Cotton says:

    Dear Ian, I, too, was very saddened to learn of your dear mother’s death. Finally was able to bring myself to listen to your wise and eloquent words, a wonderful tribute to Margaret. I am so glad I was able to meet and talk to her on a few occasions. I will do my best to attempt to model myself after her as I begin a new school year and make every student feel listened to and truly special. How fortunate you are to have had such an amazing human as your mum! Thank you for sharing her with the rest of us. Namaste

  28. ian says:

    Thank you Karen, Mum loved being in your home and meeting you. One of her favorite things was walking Millie in Duncan Woods. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Thanks for your kindness Karen. I’ve always thought your students are lucky to have you in their lives.

  29. Elise Dirkse says:

    Ian,This is beautiful.  I am continually grateful for you and your family.  You are brave, and loving, and living your legacy as well.  You are an inspiration, and your mum’s life is an inspiration.   Sending love,  Elise

  30. ian says:

    thank you Elise. Love back x

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