A few years ago when I was here in Mexico*, I got a request from a woman who was close to my age. She had suffered a heart attack and, having come the realization that life is fragile, she wanted to leave a legacy to her family. She asked for help in writing final letters to her husband, her daughter, her son-in-law and her grandson; to be found in her bible after when she passed.
We collaborated and came up with the basics from which she could work. I have published some of those letters under “Form Letters” in case they would be helpful to others.
In the meantime, I thought about my own legacy. It is such a great idea… to leave a letter to those we love, letting them know of our deep love and what they have meant to us during our lifetime. And so I have been working…and thinking…and working…
My stated goal was to leave a legacy of love – that no one would wonder how I felt about them, how I perceived them. I have finished a few letters in the last year, but although I am convinced that my purpose in life is love, and that sometimes although we feel intense love it doesn’t survive transmittal methods, I was stalled. Normally, when I am clear in purpose I write letters easily – but I couldn’t fulfill my self-imposed mandate to write my thoughts to each of my loved ones.
Thankfully, my retreat time in Mexico gives me time to read, to meditate, to discuss, to ponder, and to clarify what is important to me.
In those quiet days I realized that although writing final letters may be good, living a life of love is better. Why try so hard to for something in the future when the living is now? Who knows what tomorrow brings? Stepping back, I recognized my presumption that I would be the first to go was a feeble attempt to guarantee the future – the long and healthy lives of my offspring. ¡Ojala!
But I want to live my legacy each day of my life. I want to express my love by the day, by the week, by the month – with my presence, by text, by email, by attendance…whatever the means available. How could I have forgotten the present moment?
I can now acknowledge that my legacy is out of my control. Others will be left to judge it. My expressions of love are all that are within my power.
*I have spent the last three weeks in Mexico on my annual retreat.