On October 12, 2015, a group of women living with HIV gathered at Maitri for a Love Letters workshop facilitated by Janet Gallin.

Long ago and far away, people wrote letters to each other because they had no choice. No telegraph service, no telephones and no internet. Today people write letters only by choice. And what a powerful choice that is!

A real love letter is your truth put to paper in the most loving and compassionate way possible. You know you can?t re-read a phone call, so whether your feelings are a hungering for friendship, hope, despair, disappointment, the pull of times gone by, a longing to heal pain, a desire to make amends, express appreciation or romance, a love letter is the best way to send it.
The purpose of the Love Letters Live workshop is a time to sit together, talk about what is most important in our lives, what we want others to know forever about us and how we feel about them. We choose the person who will get our letter, plan out what we want to say, learn why a love letter means more than any other kind of communication, and then put it to paper, stamp it and mail it. A love letter is a hello that lives longer than any one person. A love letter lasts for generations as a tribute to our lives and what we hold dear. A love letter is an original custom-made gift for one person on this planet. Every love letter changes a life, brings strength and reminds us of who we are at our best. The only way to feel the miracle of all this is to sit down and do it. So, let?s do it together.” (Janet Gallin)

Chris Harris, of the Family Service Network, Shannon Weber, and I were also there. The group enjoyed a lunch catered by Specialty’s and then we got down to writing love letters. Janet brought very beautiful stationary, stamps, and stickers for decorating the letters and envelopes. She guided us through the process of drafting the letters, and encouraged those of us who felt that they were “bad writers” or had “bad handwriting” (like myself!). It was truly a beautiful workshop.

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Caroline Watson is the Social Justice and Communications Coordinator at HIVE, and the founder of #WeAreAllWomen. She is in a serodifferent marriage and has a two year old daughter.