Alfred is a wealthy inventor and businessman. He has built a fortune thanks to his inventions. But he is also a tormented man. His inventions have been used for good and, unfortunately, for evil actions too. It’s 1888, no Internet or television yet. News travels a lot slower than now. Alfred has just lost his brother Ludvig in a tragic accident in Cannes. You can imagine his surprise when he read the obituary in a French newspaper.
“Dr Alfred Nobel, who made his fortune by finding a way to kill the most people as ever before in the shortest time possible, died yesterday”
They mistook the death of his brother for his. The title of the obituary was even harsher.
“Le marchand de la mort est mort”
They called him the merchant of death. Probably this is the reason why he established the famous Noble prize. He wanted his legacy to be about something good and positive, not about death.
This made me think of my father. He passed away unexpectedly in 2013. He was a good man. A man of strong integrity and with a big heart. He was also a little stubborn, but in that good way that makes you achieve your goals. Most of all he was my dad. I knew him mainly for our relation inside the family boundaries. A relation with its highs and lows, like any father and son relation. He was also active in the local community so I was aware that the whole small town was touched by his departure. What I didn’t expect was the hundreds and hundreds of people that came to his funeral. There wasn’t enough space in the church for everyone. Most of the people had to stay outside. They blocked the road, and we had to place loudspeakers outside. It was overwhelming. During the weeks after the funeral, I met countless people who told me how their life had been touched by my father. I didn’t know. He wasn’t just my dad. He was much more.
Both these stories speak about legacy. About the impact our lives can have on others and how they’re going to remind us.
In the months after I lost my father, I started thinking about my life, about what I was doing. What I was becoming. I started my inner journey to understand what I want to achieve, who I want to grow into and what is my purpose. I’m still traveling and for now, I have gathered questions more than answers. But I always prefer a good tough question to an easy answer.
One of those questions is “How do I want to be remembered?”.
I want to be remembered as a man who left his world a bit better than how he found it.
Like my father did.