DEATH SUCKS! There–I said it!
It doesn’t matter if the loss is sudden, or if they were on hospice–heartache and emptiness fill the void when a loved one dies–AND. IT. SUCKS!
As a Life Coach who specializes in grief and loss, some of the most common things I hear are:
“I wish I had a chance to say goodbye”
“If only I could tell them I love them one more time”
“Its hard because there was so much unfinished”
“I wish I’d have been a better…”
It all boils down to the same thing–they would give practically anything to say “goodbye” or share one last “I Love You.”
The Gift Only You Can Give
While we can’t do anything about sudden losses or deaths that impact our lives, we can plan ahead and gift our loved ones with something they will treasure forever if we are the one who leaves this world first.
It is possible to give your loved ones that ‘final goodbye’ and one last ‘I Love You’ in the form a a love letter.
A Simple Letter–A Great Treasure
The idea for these letters happened in September of 2001. My youngest was two weeks old and I was about to have emergency surgery. I didn’t know if I would make it through or not. The idea that my new baby would never remember me telling her I loved her was heart breaking. My older child was only two years old, so she most likely wouldn’t remember my love either. I was wondering what I could do to leave them with something from me that would mean something if something went wrong and they were to grow up without me as their mom–so I wrote a letter.
Since then, I have continued to write Goodbye Love Letters each New Year and any time there was an increased risk of my dying (like a surgery). Writing the letters are not easy, but they do give me a sense of peace knowing I have created a gift for those I love most, to support them in the event I were to die. It is a loving sacrifice on my part and a way I attempt to love them beyond the limits of my earthly existence.
How to Get Started
To get started, you have to realize the letter isn’t about you or your death. It is about your loving your family and wanting to care for them even after you are gone.
No one likes to think about death, much less plan ahead or think of their own. We avoid taking care of business in this area because we have the misconception that it is about us. In reality, there is nothing about our physical body dying that is about us. Once our physical body takes its last breath and the heart beats the last time, things on earth are no longer about us. They shift to being about comforting those who are left behind. Believe it or not, you can plan ahead and give them comfort they can’t find anywhere else.
Grab a paper and pencil. Write from the heart. It will not be easy to write, and may bring tears to your eyes, and that is okay.
What to include in your letterA personal ‘I Love You’
- A personal ‘I love you’
- An Apology for leaving them
- Ask for forgiveness
- Give forgiveness
- Release them to live their lives
- Comfort them
- Say goodbye
What a letter should not include
- Score of loved ones flaws or failures
- Pitting family members against one another
- Attacks or ‘last digs’
- Death bed obligations
When to update the letter
- During a health crisis
- After a significant life transistion
What to do with old letters
- Shred them
- Read and reflect
- Read to prompt new one
- Leave sealed and add to old ones
There is no doubt that writing these letters are a sacrifice of love. This sacrifice will become a great treasure and source of comfort and peace for your loved ones should something happen to you. You CAN give them one last “I love you’ and ‘goodbye’.
If you want to write a letter, but are not sure how to start, I have created a resource you can receive as a free gift for joining my email list by clicking here.
Even though this post isn’t about faith, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share how to accept Jesus as your Savior. If you want to know how to make sure your spirit will live the rest of eternity with God by salvation through a relationship with Jesus Christ, please click here.