Keeping the Legacy Alive Through Podcasting

Jesse Kahat

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Success is a funny concept, not only does everyone have a different definition of success, your personal definition of success can change at any point in time. If you would have asked me at 18 years old what my definition of success was, I would have said being a Broadway star. If you would have asked me at 25 years, it would have been ballroom dance champion. If you had asked me at 30, it would have been VP of Sales at a multi-million dollar company.

My definition of success (and everything else for that matter) was permanently altered following a phone call on a November’s day in 2014. I’ll never forget the tone of my mom’s voice-it was soft and vulnerable which was a departure from her normal chipper and witty tone. My mom was the strongest person I knew, she was the person I called on for everything; advice, emotional support, laughs, strength, EVERYTHING and it was strange to hear her voice shake as she told me the doctors ran some tests and that she was most likely in for the worst news, cancer. The next couple of weeks were a blur of tests, tears, praying, pleading, hope and despair. I thought if anyone could fight and beat cancer’s ass, it would be my mom. Unfortunately, the fight wasn’t a fair one and it was revealed that she was in a terminal stage with 6 to 24 months to live. Damn. Double Damn.

From that moment forward, the only thing that mattered was showing my mom how much she was loved and how much of an impact she made on this world. She was so well loved and respected by everyone she interacted with on a regular basis and gave so much of herself to so many people. I started to try and imagine how I could possibly go on without her guidance, wisdom, love and support. More often than not, I would find myself thinking this would be impossible. I was terrified that once she was gone I would lose my memories of her, my kids would forget about their grandma, and she would fade away-erasing everything she had accomplished.

On my first visit home since hearing the news, my mom sat my sister and I down at my sister’s dining room table and started talking about special things she wanted my sister and I to have after she passed away. If you have never had this conversation before, it is harder than you can possibly imagine. She mentioned a special necklace that she wanted me to have and a few items for the kids. She said she wasn’t sure what to do with her beautiful pearl necklace and I told her I didn’t want her pearls, just her pearls of wisdom. THAT was my lightning strike moment, my mom’s pearls of wisdom were how I would be able to keep her legacy alive.

My mom was always spouting off little sayings and pearls of wisdom and these were gems I didn’t want to forget. Little tidbits of advice that would lead to me being my best self and living my best life, these would be my key to keeping my connection with the woman who meant everything to me. I started by painting mini versions that were visual representations of my favorite pearls of wisdom from her. This was a really therapeutic outlet for me to express my feelings in a creative way. It helped me get through her passing away 8 months into her treatment and I wanted to share these with close friends and family to help them remember her too. Since my sister and I live thousands of miles apart and in different countries, a blog was the easiest way for me to share these with the world.

Alas, blogging was hard for me to keep up with consistently because it is very one sided. What I really wanted was a way to unite other people who had lost their mom and want to share her wisdom. After becoming obsessed with listening to podcasts, I started to wonder if this was a medium that would allow me to connect with others and share their stories. I decided to take the plunge and set a launch date for August 18th, 2017 which would have been my mom’s 68th birthday. When I set out to create a podcast I had no idea if I would be able to find anyone to be a guest or if anyone would want to listen but it didn’t matter. I saw my podcast as a way for me to share my mom’s legacy with the world and even if no one listened, it would be fun and therapeutic for me.

I am happy to say that people did want to be guests and people do want to listen. Through podcasting I have managed to forge those connections I was longing for and met some really incredible people in the process. By talking about her and sharing her pearls of wisdom with others, I feel as though my mother lives on through me which makes me happier than I could have thought possible. I do miss her every single day but knowing that I still have a relationship with her even though she is gone is everything I needed. I feel like I am creating something that will live on even after I am gone which is important for me to do for my kids. I encourage everyone to create something to leave behind for your loved ones and as I say on the Pearls From My Mom podcast, keep sharing to keep the legacy alive.