Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Writing A Personal Legacy Letter

Similar to an ethical will but usually shorter in length, a personal legacy letter is written to share what has been most important in your life with the most important people in your life. It should speak from your heart in your own voice. The words you write can bring a deeper meaning to your life in the present as well as create healing in your relationships.

A personal legacy letter is intended to be shared with loved ones while you are still alive rather than being read at your funeral or memorial celebration. You may want to create a special occasion to read your letter to family and friends or include your letter reading as part of a birthday, anniversary, or holiday celebration. Be sure to let people know your intention for writing and reading your letter to them and, if you desire, invite their responses.

Following is an outline for a personal legacy letter which I have adapted from an excellent book, Nothing Left Unsaid:Creating a Healing Legacy With Final Words & Letters by Mary Polce-Lynch. Before using the outline, decide who you are writing to – family members and friends or an individual -- then use the suggested topics in the outline as you see fit. Keep in mind that what you are writing is a heartfelt gift, given in a spirit of love and caring for those who receive it.


Personal Legacy Letter of ___________________

Today’s Date ____________

Dear __________________________,

At the age of ____, I am writing this letter to you to share the personal legacy of my life. My intention is to let you know my thoughts and feelings about the life I have lived, to honor the relationships that have enriched my life, and to express my gratitude for __________________.

Reflections on my values and life lessons:

What I have valued most in my life is . . .

My life experience has taught me . . .

My special memories and cherished moments:

Some of my special memories are of . . .

I especially cherish the moments when . . .

Reflections on my spiritual beliefs:

What has given me strength in difficult times is my faith in . . .

I believe . . .

Expressions of any regrets and forgiveness:

I regret the time when . . .

I forgive . . .

I ask for your forgiveness for . . .

Future hopes and wishes:

My hopes for all of you include . . .

I ask that you . . . (any special requests) . . .

Expressions of gratitude and love:


Last thoughts and blessings:

If I were saying “good-bye” to you today for the last time, I would want you to know . . .

May your lives be blessed with . . .

Your handwritten signature:



Please feel free to copy of this document to pass along to people you know and use it as a guide for interviewing people who would like your help in writing their own personal legacy letter.

I'd appreciate hearing from people who've used this outline and are willing to share what they've written (anonymously, of course).

Writing A Personal Legacy LetterSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

3 comments:

jannfreed said...

Are you familiar with the sage-ing? Look at sage-ingguild.org. I am becoming certified as a sage-ing leader and I think you would like this also. Thanks

AgentEFG said...

Great thoughts! have you seen My Heartwill:

http://www.myheartwill.com/ Cool website along the same vein. I'd never thought about the value of a personal legacy. Awesome food for thought!

LaylaSimone said...

Oh my God, http://www.myheartwill.com is perfect thing for this!!