Saying Goodbye, One Letter At A Time

Local woman seeks letters for a book about letting go of a loved one.

While planning a trip to Colorado to visit her ailing father last year, Susan Geer had an epiphany. As the realization settled in that the next time she saw him would probably be her last chance to say goodbye, she sat down at her computer to write him a letter, hoping that she could cram every though and bit of love that she wanted to tell him into it before it was too late. When she was done, she got the idea that would start her on a new life journey.

 “I know this might sound funny, but it was like I heard a voice telling me, “You are going to write a book of these letters and it will be called Last Goodbye Letters, and it will be a healing experience for you and others,” explains Geer, a Gilbert resident who is currently collecting letters for her first book endeavor. She kept the title from that night and turned it into a website to get the process started (LastGoodbyeLetters.com).

“I’m hoping to collect 1,000 letters, and I’d really love them on any subject,” she explains, remarking that she has received letters from children to their parents, kids to grandparents, pet owners to their pets and one from a soldier to his family from World War II.

Personally, the process was extremely cathartic for Geer, who gives advice for others looking to write their letters on her site. “I’ve got seven steps to help people write their letters, because it really can be tough. Writing it all can be overwhelming. Make sure you give it to the person,” she advises. “That part was kinda tough for me. My dad never mentioned it, but I know he read it. I think he didn’t want to talk about it with me because we’d start blubbering. Just so he knew how I felt, and that was the most important part… Let it be received.”

Though Geer was able to give her dad the letter before he passed away in December, she knows the letter writing process provides healing for people after their loved ones have passed. She also hopes that reading other peoples’ letters in her book will help people with the grieving process. “Some people hear what I’m working on and respond, “Oh, wow, that’s just too sad,” she says. “The people who support it, though, understand that telling someone how you feel before it’s too late is hugely important.”

Those who would like to send a goodbye ltter to be considered for publication should visit LastGoodbyeLetters.com…

…Geer suggests these tips for crafting a goodbye letter:

     • There are not clear-cut “rules” for writing any letter, except for one: make sure it’s from your heart.
     • Think of the person you are writing to and remember a specific incident that comes to mind. Write it down.
     • Repeat as necessary. This can be long or short—whatever feels best to you at the time of writing.
     • Don’t worry if you don’t say everything. You can’t possibly write down everything you want to express in just one letter.

For more tips about writing and submitting a letter, visit Geer’s website and view the letters and artwork she has received so far. Most importantly, don’t forget … your submission.

The book can’t bring her father back, but he would certainly be proud to see what his daughter’s loving gesture has inspired.

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