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Legacy Letters, a Gift to Self and Generations to Come

Elizabeth Matthews, Nettie Anthony Harris Marirose Lescher

By Elizabeth Matthews, MA, LPC

In the spirit of Dia de Los Muertos, the What’s Your Story? (WYS) project is offering its first workshop on legacy letters: The Art of Letter Writing. The workshop will be held on two Thursdays, October 19 and 26, 2017. A legacy letter, also known as an ethical will, is a letter expressing the gratitude, values, thoughts, and feelings that you most cherish.

Historically written at the end of life, the legacy letter was a component of a community’s spiritual heritage and accompanied a legal will. Today, legacy letters are an opportunity for the writer to reflect on his or her life and set a course for the journey to come. A legacy letter can be written at any time, but inspiration will typically strike during a major life transition such as a significant birthday, retirement, divorce, death of a loved one, or the birth of a child. By sharing your experience of life, you connect yourself with others who may one day navigate similar waters.

Do I really need a workshop to write a letter? Perhaps not, but ask yourself: have I wanted to communicate gratitude or atonement to people I cherish? Have I paused to reflect on my personal values and how they can be expressed? If so, perhaps you would benefit from being in a structured, caring environment designed to inspire and guide you to complete this task.

President Obama wrote a legacy letter to his daughters at the beginning of his term as President of the United States. He communicated the values that his grandmother instilled in him to fight for justice and equality for all. Obama challenged his daughters to carry on the legacy endowed by his grandmother when she read to him the Declaration of Independence, because, “those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something.”

A potential student told us that she has wanted to write a legacy letter to her grandmother but hesitated because she didn’t know how to get started. If you are interested in this valued tradition, join us, and we will guide you to combine just the right words and thoughts into meaningful text. If you choose not to attend our workshop, you can still carve out the time and space in your life to write a letter to someone deserving of recognition.

Please don’t be limited by fear of your perceived limitations. Be still with your heart. Think about your life and the people you love. Jot down the thoughts and images that arise and then commit them to paper. A legacy letter, an act of love and commitment practiced by multiple cultures over the ages, offers you the occasion to be courageous and kind. It allows you the opportunity to tell your loved ones what you might wish someone had had the wisdom to tell you. For more information about What’s Your Story? please visit



The Art of Letter Writing

By Elizabeth Matthews, MA, LPC

Thu Oct 19, 1‒4pm

Thu Oct 26, 1‒3pm

Hotel Posada de la Aldea

Ancha de San Antonio 15

110 pesos for two days, including workshop materials

55 pesos registration fee payable at


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