In my post dated March 14, I reported how my friend felt bad because he kept putting off doing things with friends because ‘there’s always tomorrow,’ and then, sadly, sometimes missed the opportunity. One such opportunity was to take a dear friend to eat at a favorite restaurant one and-a-half hours from home. And, guess what? We did it!
The drive was beautiful, the company was fun and our friend Helen ate at her favorite Mexican restaurant in the state of Arizona!
Steve and I felt happy that we could spend time with our friend and make her day very memorable. Helen, in turn, was so very thankful that we took time out of our day just for her… to make her feel special.
That was worth it.
Susan, Helen and Steve at a favorite restaurant.
Even if Steve DID spill salsa all over our table! That just made it more memorable!
My gentle suggestion: Don’t let yourself become too busy to spend time with someone important. It’s good for the soul!
I truly wish I had this in a complete MP3 version, but unfortunately, all I have is a script with little audio sound bytes within it. Thought I would share:
RADIO INTERVIEW WITH JEFF SCOTT
A GILBERT WOMAN’S LETTER TO HER DYING FATHER HAS PROMPTED HER TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME. SUSAN GEER IS ASKING PEOPLE TO SHARE WITH HER THEIR “GOODBYE” LETTERS FOR AN UPCOMING BOOK…Sound Byte-107
GEER SAYS IT PROVED THERAPEUTIC FOR HER TO PUT HER FEELINGS ABOUT HER FATHER DOWN ON PAPER, AND THOUGH HE WAS ABLE TO READ IT BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY, GEER SAYS OTHERS HAVE FOUND CLOSURE BY WRITING GOODBYE LETTERS TO DECEASED LOVED ONES AS WELL.
PEOPLE CAN E-MAIL GEER THEIR GOODBYE LETTERS AT SUSAN@LASTGOODBYELETTERS.COM. THEY CAN READ MORE ABOUT HER PROJECT AT HER WEBSITE, WWW.LASTGOODBYELETTERS.COM.
GEER SAYS SHE WROTE HER LETTER TO HER DYING FATHER ON THE EVE OF WHAT SHE ASSUMED WOULD BE THEIR LAST VISIT…Sound Byte-108
GEER HOPES SHARING THE GOODBYE LETTERS OTHERS HAVE WRITTEN IN HER UPCOMING BOOK WILL ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO PUT THEIR FEELINGS ON PAPER…Sound Byte-109
GEER SAYS A WOMAN WHO HEARD OF HER PROJECT WAS COMPELLED TO WRITE HER OWN GOODBYE LETTER TO A LOVED ONE…Sound Byte-110
GEER IS SURPRISED BY THE RESPONSE…Sound Byte-111
GEER SAYS THE LETTERS DON’T HAVE TO BE ALL-EMCOMPASSING…Sound Byte -112
SHE SAYS THE LETTERS DON’T HAVE TO BE FOR DECEASED OR DYING LOVED ONES, POINTING OUT THAT ONE PERSON SHARED A GOODBYE LETTER TO A SPOUSE IN THE MIDST OF A DIVORCE. OTHERS HAVE WRITTEN THEIR GOODBYES TO THEIR DECEASED PETS.
This moving letter came to me recently. It shows the love and pain that goes into the decision to take a loved one off life support. I thought I’d share it with you:
Dad, I wanted to talk to you and tell you what’s going on. We are gonna pull the intubation tube out of you in a bit. You most likely won’t be able to breathe on your own after this.
I wanted to thank you for being a great dad and teaching me to be a man of science so that I can understand and deal with what’s been happening. You always told me you didn’t want to be hooked up to machines. So, to keep the promise I made to you in Colorado, I will not let them keep you in a vegetative state. You are probably gonna die today and I wanted to be the one that told you. I promise it wont hurt. I promise you will go painlessly. You will become stardust again. You will be pure energy and get to go see all those places you always dreamed about.
Photo by jimkster courtesy of everystockphoto.com
We will bump into each other again one day– random photons bouncing off each other headed to see a different part of the universe.
Don’t fight it when it happens. We will all be here guiding you to the next phase.
I’m gonna go now. I love you; the rest of the family wants to speak with you. The nurses will start giving you medicine soon so you won’t feel anything.
I love you.
See you out there one day. Godspeed. I love you. Don’t be afraid I’m here.
I hope this beautiful letter moves you into action to write your own letter to someone you love and let them know how you feel! If you would like to share your letter with others and give others inspiration, please send it to me and I’ll share your love.
I have a friend who has told me this story a couple of times:
He has older friends that he thinks he’ll take to lunch, or go visit, or do something fun with, but–although his intensions are good–the time to do these things just never seems to materialize. He told me recently that it makes him sad because he lets time slip away and then, sadly, the opportunity no longer exists. He told me that he should learn from his mistakes, but he hasn’t yet.
We have an older friend in common whom he wants to take to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants outside of town. I’m going to do my best to ‘help him learn from his mistakes’ and set up a time that I will ALSO go with him. Maybe we’ll break the cycle, as they say.
Make the time to take a coffee break with a friend!
Photo courtesy of Frerieke and everystockphoto.com and Flickr.com
I am always advocating writing letters to loved ones to let them know your feelings…it’s healthy for you AND the recipient. Maybe it’s not always a letter, maybe it’s a visit that will do the trick.
I hope you learn from my friend’s mistakes. I’ll report back on the lunch visit!
By now you may have heard about the sweet story of 96-year-old widower, Fred Stobaugh who wrote a love poem to his wife and sent it into Green Shoe Studio’s contest to become a produced song. When everyone else was sending in their entries via YouTube, Fred’s came by US Postal Service. But it’s sincerity touched the producers’ hearts and, apparently the hearts of many others. Today, Fred’s song, Sweet Lorraine, is trending as one of the top downloads on iTunes.
Fred and Lorraine met in 1938 when she was a car hop at the A&W Root Beer stand and their love for each other grew for 75 years until she died this past April. They had so many happy years together to which the photos Fred likes to show can attest. And I’m sure that Lorraine knows how much Fred loved her.
Maybe Fred wrote other poems and love notes to Lorraine. But I’m sad because so many people don’t really tell–tell from the heart–others about the way they feel. It is often to painful to say in person, so writing can be an option.
This web blog is dedicated to helping others put their words down on paper and delivering the thoughts to the loved one before the person is gone from our lives. Maybe it’s a move, or a marriage, or a child moving out of the house. Maybe you are writing a goodbye to the ‘old’ you as you start fresh on a new journey of life.
Please write down your thoughts and give them to your loved one. It’s good for you and wonderful for them. If you need help writing your letter, check out my Tips On How To Write Your Own Last Goodbye Letter.
I was speaking with a friend who told me that he had written his mother a goodbye letter and gave it to her on her birthday a couple of months ago. He said that he was unable to say in person to her all the things that he was able, over some time, to put down in writing on paper. This man told me that his mother just passed away, but before she died, he had a chance to be with her. And, surprise! She mentioned reading the letter in which he had poured out his love and appreciation for all she had done for him growing up and as an adult.
My friend described his mother as “a fairly stoic woman.” And, apparently the extent of their discussion about his letter was her comment, “Well, I’m glad you feel that way.”
As I mention in my How To Write Your Own Last Goodbye Letter, you can’t choreograph or predict how someone will respond to your letter. My own father didn’t even discuss it with me–it was just too emotional.
Photo courtesy of everystockphoto.com. Photographer: Freeparking
But it doesn’t matter whether you discuss it. My friend felt happy that he had made the effort to let her know his feelings. And, it mattered to him that he had written it and that he knew she received it.
Write your own goodbye letter today! To your parent, to your child going off to college, to your loved one being deployed, to yourself as you turn over a new leaf.
I wrote my thoughts–not a letter per se– to my Mom several years ago. I just re-read it and teared up realizing how much my mother means to me. The note I wrote her was almost as poignant for me years later as it was for her when she first received it as her Mother’s Day gift in 2008.
I thought I’d share just a bit from my letter and give you tips on how to write a note to your mom for Mother’s Day:
1. Start by describing your mom–her attributes both physical and emotional. What comes to mind? For me I think “My mom’s mind is complex. It is never quiet. Mom takes on others’ worries as her own because she is a very caring individual.”
2. Think of your first memory of your mom and jot it down.
3. Write down another memory or two. They don’t have to be in any chronological order. Sometimes just a detail or two can be powerful.
4. Sit back for a minute and re-read what you wrote. What do you feel? Write that down as a close. I wrote this: “Mom sees the good in people and small things. And that’s a gift.”
Your mom may not agree with your assessment of her personality. She may not remember the memories to which you refer. But by writing the note, you will share with her how she has impacted you life.
If you would like to share your note to your mom, and have it considered for the book of letters I’m gathering, please CONTACT ME using the LEAVE A MESSAGE tab at the bottom right of this post. I would appreciate your contribution greatly.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I read the book, Life Of Pi, a while ago. But more recently I saw the movie (and the imagery was absolutely breathtaking) and realized at the end that the adult Pi Patel suffered a life of not saying goodbye properly. He can’t remember saying goodbye to the love of his life as he left India; he lamented not being able to say goodbye to his family before they drowned in a shipwreck (I hope that isn’t a spoiler for those who haven’t read/seen the story) and he is sad that he doesn’t say goodbye to Richard Parker after all they’d been through.
That’s how I feel about this Last Goodbye Letters project and why I am such a proponent for writing to people when you are facing a life changing circumstance–wedding, moving out to go to college, divorce, facing mortality, reinventing yourself, etc.
I quote the author, Yann Martel, as he writes what, I think, is a meaningful part of the story:
“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
(I hope the author won’t mind this small reprint and I hope Mr. Martel feels this is a tribute to his work.) In the novel, the author writes what the young Pi Patel would have said if he had the chance of actually saying goodbye. But I think I will leave that up to you to read for yourself.
Don’t forget to say goodbye to someone you love. And, if you feel so inclined to share your thoughts, please contact me or send me your letter, your words of goodbye so I can add them to the book for which I am gathering such letters.
I have to admit. I’m embarrassed. I’ve been encouraging others to write goodbye letters to loved ones when they move away, get deployed, get married, move out of the house, or are close to the end of life. But I let an opportunity slip by.
My elderly friend was moving out of state to a senior care facility. She is a dear member of our family and I knew that I’d miss seeing her and chatting about things that I only read about in history books, but she actually lived through. I tried to think about what to write to her in a letter. Older people especially, I think, appreciate the written word.
I just stared at the page.
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng. Photographer: brokenarts
I even knew where to begin to write because I wrote a workshop on how to write a goodbye letter. And right here on this blog I post tips on how to write your own letter!
I think I used the excuse of being too busy and making personal visits a priority over writing the letter. But I will say, I regret not writing that letter. I don’t want to have regrets in life. Maybe I was too shy to give a letter to my friend in person. Maybe I was afraid I’d cry.
In fact, I can still write her the letter and mail it. I may not be brave, but I can still use the old-fashioned US Postal Service and know that when she reads my letter, my friend will feel special and feel loved.
Don’t have regrets of your own. Write a letter to a loved one. And, if you feel so inclined, please share it with me for my Last Goodbye Letters project. I need all the contributions I can get!
I had someone contact me recently after the third presidential debate saying that he was so fed up with politicians telling everyone what we want to hear, not what they really believe.
Photo courtesy of marcn and everystockphoto.com
With all the campaign rhetoric and mudslinging by all parties involved, my friend suggested that our country was going you know where in a hand basket. He jokingly (I hope it was jokingly) told me that he wanted to write a goodbye letter to America. Personally, I both agree and disagree with his sentiments. But I will support whomever is elected and hope for the best as this country moves forward. I encouraged my friend to do the same–to help make our country a better place–even if it’s in the smallest way. It does no good to tear down people. Which reminds me to remind everyone to take the time to tell someone you love them. Write them a love letter. Write them a life letter. And consider submitting it to our Last Goodbye Letters project!