When One’s Life Tells a Story

by Cliff Bilyea

If you have a life you have a story.

My children encouraged me to capture mine and be part of it. After writing bits and pieces for several years, finding old photos, memorabilia and thoughts and reflections from my children, “Legacy, my Story” took shape.

There are various templates one can follow in writing a legacy. Mine emphasized the value of family. It ended in a 78-page, Tobermory Press, hard-cover book with photos, which is a keepsake for my children and grandchildren.

I started with my parents and then stepped back in time with the family history of the Bilyea name going back to 1650, where records took me to our French Huguenot roots. My early years captured growing up in Lambeth, Ontario. The outline of my life in high school and Waterloo University College, then a McMaster mba, was interesting for my children as it before their time.

Sketching in information on my part-time first position after graduation showed what brought me to Laurier. A highlight was my marriage in my last year at university.

The Legacy then traces my administrative and teaching career at Laurier as well as my professional and community involvement such as being president of KW United Way. Travel was an important part of our family life, and I’ve visited over 30 countries.

To me the highlight is the section on each of the nine children and their contribution to the content. All seventeen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren enjoyed reading about themselves and seeing their pictures.

I ended this cathartic exercise with reflections on life and what the various dimensions of my life have meant to me. I hope my comments will entice you to reflect on your own life and career.