Letters to Loved & Lost
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is the time of year to think about the people we love, even — or perhaps especially — the people who have passed away. If you’d like to join us in celebrating that love, there is more information on how to participate at the bottom of this page.
After losing a loved one, the act of writing can be a way to cope with mourning and grief. The grief dialogues website offers advice on how to write a letter to your loved one and what to do with it afterwards. Some people burn the letters and others keep them or share them with others.
Writing and Grieving
According to Lastly.com, writing even 15 minutes a day can help boost your mental and physical well-being. The “What’s Your Grief” website has a copy of a letter by Richard Feynman, written in 1946 and left sealed in an envelope until his death in 1988. In it, he writes: “I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you.”
Another author shared her experience of writing emails to her father’s work account, and how one day someone wrote back.
Advice and Resources for Writing
The website Everlasting Memories says there are no rules about writing a letter to a loved one who has passed away, but the site is just one of many that offers a step-by-step process to help you get started.
You can find more advice on the Journey Through Grief website and the Izumi therapy website. The Gumby Legacy website has a service called “Cloud Letters” where you can send them a letter if you think it may help someone else. The Mayo Clinic includes letter writing as one way to deal with grief. Northwest grief counselor Megan Devine also offers a Writing Your Grief program.
Letters Left Behind
There’s also plenty of advice online about writing letters while you are alive to leave behind to your family to help the living after you pass away. Bob Hassmiller wrote such a letter and shared it with others at the Motley Fool as a sample. He called his letter “A Letter From Your Dead Husband” and he updated it every year. And grab some tissues before you read the Washington Post’s “A dying mother wrote her children letters, leaving a gift of love for years.”
Share Your #letterstolovedandlost in Social Media
If you have a letter, or even just a sentence or two, to share about your departed loved one, we’d love to see it and share it. Your words may help someone else experiencing the same or similar feelings of loss and grief. Here’s what to do:
- Write your letter, attach an image that illustrates your thoughts and feelings or is meaningful to your loss.
- Send to us if you are comfortable doing so (you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of “letterstolovedandlost”) and/or …
- Share in social media channels. Tag Solace Cremation and use the hashtag #letterstolovedandlost. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
We aim to share some of our favorites back to those following us in social media.
We hope by sharing the memories of your loved one, the weight of your grief may be lifted a little and the good memories will bring you comfort.
Photo by Calum Macaulay