The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write

woamn-reading-letter-cryingEven if you have made a point to regularly tell your family members and friends how much they mean to you, when a loved one dies, especially when it is sudden and unexpected, we wish we could tell them that we love them just one more time. We yearn desperately for one more conversation with them, one more gesture of love from them that would help us to say goodbye, that would offer healing and closure.

Now turn the tables. You have the power and the opportunity to comfort your loved ones and ease their grief when death comes calling for you. How? Write a letter now and label it “Open this in the event of my death.” I have written such a letter to my daughter and have told her where she can find it on my computer should the day come when it is time for her to read it.

Imagine your loved one opening and reading your letter after your passing. The gratitude, love and peace of mind your letter will bestow upon them is more valuable than a trunk full of gold. They will cherish that letter as long as they live, just as they will cherish the very thought of you.

Your letter can be as long or as short as you’d like; even a few sentences can have an enormous impact. The quality of the writing is irrelevant. All that matters is the love behind the words; write from your heart and you cannot go wrong. There is no greater gift you can bequeath to those you love.

UPDATE: After reading this post, a woman e-mailed me to share this beautiful story:

Before my ex-husband died, I suggested that he write a letter for our son. He could not use his hands very well, so I offered to write down his words and then type them up for him to sign. He was very relieved to be able to leave something permanent and tangible for Christopher. We worked on his letter for several days. Connecting with him over our love for our son was a deeply healing experience for both of us, and I will always cherish that memory.

When we finished the letter to Christopher, he said that he wanted to write more letters. So we spent the next three weeks writing letters to his family and closest friends . . . twenty-one in all. This experience was intimate and completing for both of us. We reminisced about how he knew these people, when he met them, how important they were to him, why he loved them. He told his family he was proud of them, who they were, what they accomplished. I would write down a short letter for each person (George was a man of few words), type them up and put them in envelopes ready to mail out.

The letter writing allowed George to say his goodbyes in a way that honored and supported the people he loved. He was able to keep his dignity during a very emotionally charged time. And, it really helped prepare him to let go of this life; he felt at peace, and he did the best he could to complete his life. My son is very grateful that he has the letter from his father. It reassures and helps him through the grieving process. It reminds him that he is still loved by his father.

Reading your blog post has inspired me to begin writing a letter to my mother. She is in good health at eighty-eight years, and I want to celebrate her now while she is alive and still enjoying her life. The process will allow me to sort through my relationship with her, bring up issues to clear, let me love her (and myself) more fully, and then share how much she means to me and what she has accomplished and given over her life. Thank you for being the catalyst and inspiration for my next spiritual adventure.

What a wonderful testament to the power of this simple act. Please, for your own sake and the sake of your loved ones, start writing your letters today. If you’re not comfortable writing, then sit in front of your computer or phone and record a brief video. Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this world without leaving something for your loved ones to remember you by.

Click here to view all my posts on writing letters and notes to loved ones.

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12 Responses to “The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write”

  1. Catherine Nagle Says:

    Thank you, Phil for posting this.

    This truly is one of the most important letters in the world. Leaving our loved ones with peace, love and comfort that we are always with them, right inside our hearts.

    I tell my children when I pass on, I am leaving them a fortune ( with my library of books). But I have to agree with you totally, a “personal letter”… There is no greater gift you can bequeath to those you love!


  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Well said, Catherine. Thank you.

  3. Dan Says:

    This is a lovely idea Phil.

    The thought that comes to my mind though is don’t wait until you’re dead to let your loved ones know how important they are to you. Why not write a letter to give now, or tell them in person what they mean to you?


  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, that thought crossed my mind but I assumed that this would be implied, especially because I included links to other posts that suggest that. But you’re right, I should add a few sentences about that. Thanks, Dan.

  5. Rebecca Says:

    Hi Phil

    I didnt write a letter, I wrote a poem for my son, here it is,

    A poem for you

    Don’t grieve for me
    Because I am with you

    That breeze you feel
    Those flowers you see
    They are now all a part of me

    In the universe I know freely roam
    Discovering things to you yet unknown;

    And when you need me I’ll still be here,
    Just close your eyes, be still, open you heart;
    And you’ll feel my love engulf you

    See my love for you is eternal, it cannot be taken
    away, because the laws that guide us are unseen yet
    true…infinity….eternal…its only form that changes,

    And when you’re feeling sad and lost, and wondering which way to turn, recognise although life’s changed and physically I’m not there, take peace and solace in knowing whilst my form cannot touch, talk, or guide, my essence is always by your side, guiding you, trusting you, loving you

    So I’ll say goodbye for now, kiss you gently one last time,
    and softly wipe away your tears,

    I’ll let you grieve and cry but please remember I consider life an honour, a fleeting moment in time, and in this life you were my path and the lessons I was sent to learn

    So when you’re done, and dried you eyes there is one last thing I ask;

    Dry your eyes and celebrate the life I was blessed and honoured to have,
    and in true Bec style, for one last time put on those shoes, and go, its now
    time to dance…dance …dance

    I have also written a few private words to go along with it. Over the last few 8 weeks I have been on a roller coaster dealing with the diagnosis of my 36yr old sister’s cancer diagnosis. So with regards to letting a loved one know how you feel, I would urge you to not leave it too late to tell those you love how you feel. Because you never know what’s around the corner.


  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Rebecca. And I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s diagnosis. Yes, the previous day’s post was about letting your loved ones know how you feel about them:

    Best of luck to you and your sister.

  7. Amy Jewell "Cirklagirl" Says:


    So sorry for your loss. That is a great idea – to write a letter! You know, I always feel more sorry for the ones that are left behind than the ones that are leaving. It is so sad to let someone go who means a lot to you.

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, when someone young dies, my first thought is always of their children. Very sad to lose a parent even as a young adult. Thanks, Amy.

  9. justcharrie Says:

    Oh Phil, that’s a very good idea. Well I’m not so much into writing but I think I’ll have to consider doing that. Eh, sorry for the loss of your bestfriend. You’ve lost one treasure.

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you, justcharrie. The quality of the writing is unimportant. Just remember, all that matters is the love behind the words. Good luck!

  11. Rox Tarrant- Comedian Says:

    Hi Phil,

    Thank you for your lovely words and recommendations. I feel I was meant to read this right now. I believe leaving your family and friends a part of you, touching them so deeply is such a gift.

  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I’m glad you found it meaningful, Rox.

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