He was a young man. He died last Saturday. Just a couple of years ago, we helped him write his legacy letter. He did not know the formal name of the document that would capture his words through eternity. He did not have many worldly possessions to leave behind. However, this young man had many thoughts to pass on to his only son. Some might call his last words his ethical will.
We are intentionally omitting the name of this lovely man. He died before he reached the fourth decade of his life. He was not sick; he was the victim of a tragic accident. He left behind a teenage son, conceived while his parents were still in high school. He married his son’s mother, but divorced her within a few years. His life was a constant struggle. With his permission, we are sharing the legacy letter he left behind.
As I write this letter, you are about to enter high school. My life changed tremendously when I was your age. My parents died within months of each other. You were born two years later. I was forced to become a man before my time. Fortunately, I am not sick. My plan is to live to see your children’s children. In the event I do not make it that long, I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
- Treat the women in your life with respect. Your mother was my first love. Our marriage did not work out, likely because we were children when we married. Nevertheless, you have never heard me speak ill of her. How could I? After all, you are just as much a part of her as you are a piece of me.
- Get an education. Make sure you finish high school. In order to succeed in this world, you need to go to college or trade school. You see how many jobs I have to work to provide basic needs. My struggles are partially to do with the excuses I made about not going back to school. Find something you love and pursue it.
- Be honest. The truth may sometimes seem to hurt, but it will never brand you as a deceitful person.
- Be ambitious. Since the first time I held you in my arms, I knew you were meant to do big things. Do your best and be proud of it.
- Be kind. Kindness in a man is not a sign of weakness. It is an indication of strength.
- Be adventuresome. Explore your surroundings and the outside world. Take calculated risks to experience life.
- Leave your options open. Do not make decisions in haste that will mold your life forever. There is nothing worse than looking backwards and thinking of the time you cannot recapture.
- Listen. Many of my best lessons were learned when I chose to be quiet. Even children can deliver powerful messages if you pay attention to them.
- Enjoy laughter. A sense of humor is a big asset. Silly jokes and pranks have a real place in life. Just stay away from laughing at anyone in a hurtful manner.
- Embrace love. You should experience love every time you look in the mirror. You were created by love. You are already a loving son. It should be easy for you to pass on this gift to other special people in your life. Know that my love for you is eternal.
Son, I am most likely leaving you these words prematurely. If I have it my way, your grandchildren are now in high school or college. Your hair is grey and you are already wise. Just remember. I loved you the day I met you. I love you today. I am proud of the man you have become. I love you forever.
Writefully Inspired recognizes the importance of creating a legacy letter. These can be created an any time in a person’s life. For more information, please call us at 609 756-5287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.