Fred Stobaugh writes a poem to his late wife, Sweet Lorraine

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.

Happy writing.

Success story: Son discusses his goodbye letter with mother

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.

Mother’s Day is coming up… 4 tips on how to write Mom a note that is a gift from the heart.

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!

Life Of Pi Offers A Lesson In Saying Goodbye

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 understand! It’s hard to write a goodbye letter.

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!

No, you can’t write a goodbye letter to America!

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!

What did Nicholas Ivie leave behind?

No one will dispute that the loss of Nicholas Ivie, the Border Patrol agent who was shot in the line of duty in the early hours of October 2, is a tragedy.  From all accounts he was a well loved and respected man.  He left behind an honorable legacy.  While many are investigating the circumstances of his death, others are looking out after the well-being of his family.  That leaves me wondering if Nicholas ever wrote a goodbye letter to his wife, his baby, his parents…

Of course he wouldn’t have known it was a last goodbye letter.  But that’s the point.  We hear all the time to:

Love Letter Circa 2003. Photo courtesy of Staralee and everystockphoto.com

  • Seize the day.
  • Live today like it’s your last.
  • Always kiss your loved ones goodbye.

Why don’t we add another item to the list:

  • Write a love letter.

You never know when it’ll be your last opportunity to tell others how special they are to you.

If you’d like tips on how to write a love letter, check out my post, How To Write Your Own Last Goodbye Letter.  If you would like to submit your letter for consideration in the printed book I’m compiling, please contact me by clicking on the CONTACT link at the bottom right of this page.

Reinventing yourself.

Wow.  I didn’t think of writing a last goodbye letter to your old self as you decide to turn over a new leaf.  Read an excerpt from a letter I recently received:

I realize that everyone has their own problems to handle.  I can’t expect someone else to take care of me.  After months of being more or less frozen in my grief, I decided to reinvent myself.  Thus the idea of a last goodbye letter to myself came to mind.  The old person that I used to be no longer existed.  There had to be a new person that does not live entirely in the past with just memories.  I will never be entirely free of sadness and longing for my husband, but life goes on.  Sometimes life isn’t all that great, but if you are still here, you have to do something.  I do not know what the future holds or if I will be successful in reinventing a new me, but I will give it a real try.

If you feel inspired, write your own letter to yourself.  If you’d like to submit your letter for our project, we would be happy to receive it!  E-mail us at:  letters@LastGoodbyeLetters.com.  Or contact us  using the CONTACT button at the bottom right of the screen.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Republican National Convention speakers–do they speak from the heart?

I heard Paul Ryan speak at the RNC last night.  Boy, he sounded good.  I would, too, if I had some of the top speech writers in the country putting words in my mouth!  Now, before everyone goes to send me evil e-mail saying that I’m a bleeding heart liberal  (or worse) I know that I will feel the same about Obama and the speakers at the Democratic National Convention next week!

I understand that we’re all about sound bites and that all of the election slogans have been focus group tested until the experts figure out the perfect saying that our little brains will remember.  But I’m thankful that not EVERYONE is that way.

The Last Goodbye Letters project is chugging away slowly.  I don’t have nearly the 1,000 letters I’m hoping to get contributed.  But at least the letters I’m getting are from the heart from real people who don’t worry about focus group testing!

I received a letter recently from a woman who’s father wrote to her while lying in a hospital bed, being treated for heart failure.  It was written in pencil and is a little light, but  full of love.  His daughter tells me that it touches her heart to think of her father all by himself in the sterile hospital room, writing that letter to her in the middle of the night.  He ends the letter saying, “little did I dream…that we would be such great buddies.  …We’ve had more fun together than any dad deserves.”

How’s that for speaking/writing from the heart?  This letter is so important to this woman that she keeps it in her safety deposit box.

If you have such a letter or feel compelled to write one and share it with us, please contact me at Letters@LastGoodbyeLetters.com.  Tell someone you love them today!