Weather Forecast


Actions make legacy

Jed Carlson / Superior High School senior Maddy Newman holds a photo of herself with her dad, Douglas, near his grave at Greenwood Cemetery in Superior. Newman, who will graduate from SHS on Saturday, lost her father to cancer 15 years ago.

It happened on the bus ride back from a soccer game in Eau Claire. We were all sprawled out in our seats, most with headphones on, scrolling through our phones. Out of the blue, a teammate burst into tears and we rushed to her aid, assuming the worst.

"I just realized that my parents will die one day and won't be there for me," she wailed through heavy sobs.

It will have been 15 years this Father's Day since my dad died, but with graduation approaching it seems like I'm learning more and more about him each day. There's photos of the two of us, me with my blonde ringlets and him with his bald head, playing cards in the hospital bed that was permanently situated in our living room for the last few months of his life. You can see my sleeping bag on the floor next to my mom's because I thought it was so fun to "camp out" each night next to dad instead of sleeping upstairs in my bed. While it's hard to look at those pictures, it gives me a way to connect with him and get to know the man who was my dad, because I never really got the chance.

The other day I found an old Walkman pressed into the back of a drawer with a tape labeled "Dad's letters to Spencer, MacKenzie, Maddy." Curiosity got the better of me, and I popped in new batteries and pressed play. There was a crackle and then my dad's voice floated in the air.

From the first syllable, it was like someone punched me in the gut. In a voice that seemed both familiar and foreign to me my dad told me that I was "the one I'm most concerned about not having any memories of me."

Sadly, he was right. I have very few memories of him. But one thing I do have is his legacy, something that even time can't take away from me. I see my dad with me every day when I look at the mirror and try to contain my wild curly hair that we were blessed with. I see his sense of humor, passion for the outdoors and compassion for others when I look at my siblings. Most of all, I see his strong faith reflected back when I look at my mom, friends and family.

In a few days, I'm graduating and if I could give one piece of advice, it would be to remember that life is fleeting and high school is just a small part of it. Take the time to treasure the people that love you. And let the people you love know it; say it to them. Memories will fade, but your actions will become a legacy that will stand the test of time.