The legacy a father leaves behind is his family along with his record of love, generosity and integrity.
This is a holiday flashback tribute to the first dad we honored in our magazine, Bob Bugg, a local lawyer, mediator and family man. It was our first holiday issue and we took a big risk by putting Mr. Bugg and his family on our holiday cover. See, instead of defaulting the usual visuals associated with a happy Christmas, we used a photo of a dying man.
GoodLiving is a magazine that has a purpose. We seek to make a positive difference in a meaningful way, and so we wanted something different, something that would remind us why we celebrate Christmas. So why not enter into people’s holiday season with a story of true love? After all, the holiday season is a celebration of life, love, family and renewal.
Mr. Bugg had a wise story to tell from his end-of-life point of view. His message, “TREAT YOUR FAMILY AS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT LEGACY” is below as it was written then. We thank his family for allowing us to share his thoughts as an inspiration to others because indeed his legacy lives on.
My Story, by Bob Bugg
I’m Bob Bugg. I was a civil trial attorney until approximately 10 years ago, when I became a full time mediator. In my “spare time” I loved teaching – Bible study classes at church, a non-denominational men’s Bible study, and courses as an adjunct law professor at Stetson Law School.
But if you really want to know me, you need to know that 38 years ago, I married my high school sweetheart, Patra. We have 3 children who have blessed us with 4 grandchildren.
(Two more will arrive in 2011!) Children (and grandchildren) are a gift from God, entrusted to us for a short time. We made a decision early in our marriage that, after our faith in God, our family would be our priority.
It is critically important for fathers to establish the priority their family will have in their lives. Many things compete for our attention and often the family ranks below our jobs, making money, or recreational pursuits. Children are an investment and the time invested in my children was the best investment I ever made.
It is good to be successful at work and important to balance work with good recreational activities, but only when a father makes an intentional decision to put his family first, that he finds real success.
Even young children understand where they stand in your priorities. From the time my children were young, they knew, and my office knew, that I was to be interrupted anytime they called. They never abused the privilege but knew they were the priority of my life.
Do your children know they are the priority of your life? If not, tell them and then show them. Do it now, don’t wait. You never know what the future holds. Trust me, I know. My life changed quickly and dramatically in September 2009. My ankles were swollen. “Mr. Bugg, your kidney biopsy shows that you have a very rare blood cell disease – amyloidosis.” There is no cure for amyloidosis and treatment options are very limited.
In early 2010, I was hospitalized at Moffitt Cancer Center for a bone marrow transplant. The bone marrow transplant was not successful and I started chemotherapy.
To date, my treatments have not been effective. Three things have sustained me through this difficult journey – my faith, my family, and my friends. I was raised in a Christian home and at an early age, I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. During the most difficult days of my transplant, scripture and hymns (some learned as a young child) would come to my mind and bring peace and comfort. I regret the impact my illness has had on Patra and our children. Their faith has been strengthened. The investment we made in our children is already paying dividends. They are displaying the character traits that any parent would be proud of. We are confident our grandchildren will be raised in Christian homes where God is honored.
We have wonderful friends who have supported us in many ways and they are amazing prayer partners. I have a win-win guarantee as I fight this battle. If God heals me, I win. If a miracle does not occur, I still win. The moment I take my last breath here on earth, I will be transported into the very presence of God. God is in control. I want to live each day in a manner pleasing to Him so that He will be glorified. I’m proud of my accomplishments as an attorney, a mediator, a teacher. But MY LEGACY is my family.