This was a very helpful exercise. I was able to plan what I’d like to say to my loved ones. The writing prompts were not always ones I would use, but gave me the opportunity to build on them and to personalize to my situation. For me, I think this was the most important exercise to date.

Writing Exercise 7: Ethical Will/Legacy Letter Outline Topics Part I

Dear Loved Ones,

My thoughts this morning as the year 2013 is coming to an end started with a prayer:

Dear God, I did not sleep well last night but I did wake up,

My shoulder muscles are painful but they do still work

I may not have all I would like to have, but I do have what I need.

My life in these last years may not be perfect, but I am satisfied.

I thank you, Dear God, for these blessings.

I want each one of you, my family members, to know how much I love you and how important your lives are to me.  I cherish my connections with each one of you as individuals and enjoy any and all communications we share.  I think we all should cherish every moment we spent with each other as we never know when it will be the last time we might see someone.

I am Old School in nature, I believe in having good manners, respecting others and helping them whenever I can.  I believe that God put each of us here for a reason and a purpose and if we live a good life that purpose will be carried out. I know that each of you has your own beliefs and forms of worship but I am convinced that each of you has a deep faith in God and depend upon His guidance and protection as you go about your daily activities.

As I think back to my childhood, I am amazed to compare the differences with life then and today.  I grew up on a farm with no electricity, no running water, no telephone, no surfaced roads and very little income.  We worked hard, even as children, just to keep ourselves fed and clean.  I did not see it as a hardship, as our friends and neighbors lived similar lives.

I loved school and could not study enough or read enough books.  That desire has followed me throughout my life.  Would you believe I had a Brain Puzzle book in my hands last night at ten-thirty trying to work a puzzle before I went to bed?  I hope my love for lifelong learning has trickled down through the family lines to some of you as it will make your lives more interesting.  I am currently participating in an online workshop which inspired me to write this letter to you.

I am surprised that I have lived alone nine years since Cletus passed away.  At first it was so hard to be alone but when one has many close friends who are also living alone you gain courage and strength from them and their experiences.  I miss Cletus so much but am thankful that he had such a peaceful death and did not have to linger in a nursing home for years.

I am so proud of each one of you and have very vivid memories of special times we have spent together and things you have done for me.  I find comfort in knowing those of you who are married and are starting families of your own are all doing well and enjoying your own families.

I think the people who influence us most are those who live their lives simply and unaffectedly perhaps like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field.  Those are the lives that mould us.  I hope that my life has had that effect on you.

I think as we grow older our Christmas list is quite small.  The things we want for the holidays cannot be purchased.  We only want love, respect, and to be remembered.

My Love Forever,