Not Just for Dead People: Vancouver ‘legacy guy’ launches self-published book

Robb Lucy, an ex-journalist and production company owner, is encouraging readers and his audience to write their own eulogy...

The cover of ex-journalist Robb Lucy's motivational book

“Do you have to be rich or famous (or dead) to leave a legacy?”

That’s the question at the heart of Legacies aren’t just for Dead People, a self-published guide to life – and making the most of it – from Vancouver-based author Robb Lucy. The answer is, of course, ‘No.’

“When you ask people… in their mind, legacy is all about death and money,” said Lucy. “I’m trying to really lighten that up and make sure it’s not that heavy connotation.”

Legacy is less about finances, Lucy said, and “way more about really enjoying the time now by using your values, your skills, your talents your resources… to make life a lot more meaningful.”

In his book, the author winds through eight chapters – or sections, really, each one its own pillar of Lucy’s thesis. They have charming titles like What’s it all about, Alfie? and Am I the Person My Dog Thinks I Am? It reads like it’s being spoken to you, with enough concrete definitions to make the anecdotal tangible.

The goal is to motivate the reader to make the most out of their life, to define their ‘legacy’ both for themselves and others.

How will others remember you? But also, will I be able to look back on my life and smile with my last breath?

The definition of legacy to Lucy is, he says, something to “connect and enhance you to other people now, but positively affect the lives of people when you’re gone.”

He started thinking about his own legacy – and therefore, considering writing this book – after his wife Kim and him learned they’d never have children, the first in a few unpredictable developments that led him to now. He then helped his father write the senior Lucy’s own book, a look-back on his experiences in World War II.

Father and son turned the veteran’s tale into a published work after a presentation for his granddaughter’s Grade 5 class went below the speaker’s expectations.

“Dad wasn’t a natural storyteller, and stories were what those 10-year-old kids needed to hear,” Lucy writes, in his book’s intro. “Over the next year, Dad and I structured 24 stories; every one had the potential to be a movie.”

In Legacies aren’t just for Dead People, Lucy calls his father’s experiences “heroic” and “story-rich,” and each one was written out by-hand before they went in his book, which was launched at a military museum. In the book, his father included stories of losing his best friend (who died right beside him, Lucy said), of receiving the Military Cross, and of riding as a victor – to “cheering people” – through France, Belgium, and Holland.

“He was a humble and joyful man,” Lucy wrote, “and I could feel the immense pride he felt with his story finally in the hands of friends, family and all who wanted a great read.”

The book became Lucy’s father’s physical legacy – the in-print proof of a life lived, which can be passed down branch-by-branch to any leaf of the family tree.

“They’ve read it and they’re going to read it,” Lucy said last week, of his and his father’s younger family members and future generations. “That’s who great grandpa Lucy was.”

It was after that when Lucy questioned his own legacy, and started sharing his inner conversation with others, as well.

He wants people to ask themselves, What would happen if I were to die today or tomorrow? What would happen to my family and my loved ones, and what would happen to their memory of me?

“I’m trying to make them aware that they do have a whole lot to give,” he said. “Take advantage of yourself and enjoy (it) now while you’re here.”

Lucy notes that meaning doesn’t have to just be stamped with stories, like his father’s was. Your game could be charity, for example, which Lucy says he’s heavily involved with and has encouraged others into, as well.

“Connect to the people that make you happier,” he said.

“It kinda starts an engine in their brain to say, ‘Hey, that is me… Maybe there’s a lot of me that I can use to have some fun and create some legacies.'”

Early in his book, Lucy admits his constant message pushing hasn’t always made him a popular dinner guest, since the response from most people is immediately something like, I’m too busy or I dunno, I haven’t thought about it.

“Even my fellow kayakers started paddling faster,” he writes in his book. “Get rid of the Legacy guy. He’s weird.”

“I was locked into the legacy thing,” he said last week, over the phone. “Money and packaging up your stuff and leaving it behind… I gave it a year or so, and then started interviewing people.”

Of course, he’s used to interviewing. Lucy’s first career was as a journalist, and he worked as one with the CBC Radio before settling in Vancouver and forming his own media company, which he ran for 25 years while also working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

His book is self-published, and now he’s working full-time to get it into the hands of anyone and everyone who’d want it. It’s currently available online and through a couple distributors. Lucy writes a blog for the Huffington Post Canada, where he titles himself The Legacy Guy, and is hoping to work speeches and keynotes into his entrepreneurial press tour.

“I like that dynamic, they’re fun to do,” he said. Last Wednesday, Lucy delivered a legacy-themed presentation at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s annual Autumn Legacy Luncheon.

“It’s interesting to have people just realize that re-thinking and re-shaping their legacy might be worth doing.

“You don’t have to be rich or famous or dead to leave a legacy… You can start now, even with something small.

“Don’t wait to hear it from your eulogist at your funeral.”

Photos: Still-ustrations from Robb Lucy’s self-published new book, ‘Legacies aren’t just for Dead People!’

Just Posted

Weavers and spinners to kick off holiday shopping

The Whonnock Weavers and Spinners’ 38th annual exhibit and sale takes place Nov. 25

Strong support for Pitt Meadows transportation projects

Overpass/underpass projects get majority support

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead in Maple Ridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Ridge Meadows Hospital parking is still pay, but streets free

Surrey has removed meters on streets, asking Fraser Health for free parking at the hospital

Letter: ‘Wait times solution not what you think’

Canada’s health care policies haven’t changed since 1984.

UPDATE: IHIT confirms identity of Hells Angels homicide victim

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Most Read