I very often hear from people (thankfully) how much this blog has helped them. It may be an email, or text, very often it’s when I bump into them face to face. However, there is one thing no one has ever said to me.
“Thank you so much for linking your older posts to your newer ones. It is such a helpful reference.” Every time I post I wonder, “Does anyone even know that these are links?” I used to hide links to youtube clips throughout my posts back in the day (just for me and the one person who might be searching for them). I guarantee you almost none of you picked up on that. But I always ponder in my head if people have or take the time to use the links that I provide to help fully get the information across without making a 2,000 word post.
So, today I am writing a new post with some old info with no links to keep it fresh and quick…and easy. Also, this post is for those who need it most. For those, like me, “in the soup”, in the fight, in the muck and mire, just trying to keep our heads above water.
I mentioned in my last post that I have 4 (or so) therapeutic letters to write. Here is what they look like…
*They are written to someone who has greatly influenced you and hurt you in things they have done or failed to do (most often a parent(s) or whoever raised you).
*It does not have to be someone who hurt you on purpose. In fact, most often, they were doing their best. Their intent does not diminish any negative impact that it has had on you.
*Odds are you will need to or should write more than one. If one parent is the first one that comes to mind it does not mean the other one was perfect and didn’t leave hurts that need to be addressed.
*It can also be a letter to someone who has passed (like Trey). It is not that HE hurt me, but I am hurt over his being gone.
*Do not write this and then chicken out and not have it comforted by your loved one. All you will have done is dig up some really serious hurts, brought them to the surface, and now let them fester.
*Lastly, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY NEVER EVER MAIL/SEND/GIVE THESE LETTERS TO ANYONE…ESPECIALLY THE PERSON YOU ARE WRITING THIS LETTER “TO” IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! You will crush them and start a whole new cycle of hurts that will devastate many.
So, you write the letter, then read the letter to that someone in your life that is able to emotionally respond and comfort you. They comfort you. They join you in your emotion. They don’t fix you, encourage you, tell you what to do, tell you how they relate or why you shouldn’t feel bad, or ask questions, they join you in your emotion. Here are the components of the letter (obviously you complete the sentences and go from there):
Dear Dad / Mom / Step-parent / Grandparent / Former Spouse / etc.
I’ve been thinking about our relationship – about how I felt and some of the things I needed,
but didn’t receive.
• From some of my earliest memories, I have felt…
• I know I really needed…
• It hurt me so much when…
• I now often feel…
• It would mean so much to me if…
• I wish I could hear you say to me…
My letter to Trey (which I have not written yet) may look something like…
Trey, I obviously think about you many many times a day. I really miss you.
You really were a fighter in all areas of your life. I miss you. I remember the day you were diagnosed and thinking, “I might lose my son.” Now, you’re gone.
I tried so hard to take care of you and mommy with each battle we faced. Did you know? Were you scared? You never ever seemed to be.
It would hurt me so much to see you when you were hurt/sad/or frustrated and I couldn’t really help at all. I think of some of the major things you went through and just can’t imagine how you powered through it.
I now often feel so emotionally tired. I’m really confused because in my head I know that all things have happened for one reason or another and that you are in a far better place but I’m sad…just sad. My head is ok, but my heart is heavy.
It means so much to me that I know some of the impact that you (and we) have had on so many people. I hope that by now you know how great you did. I have no idea how that works.
I wish I could hear you say to me, “I’m great dad, BYE!” and continue on like you always did. To be brutally honest boy, I would give anything to feel your head on my shoulder resting peacefully…one more time.
I love and miss you. I was always proud of you. I’ll write you again later.
Obviously a full therapeutic letter would tend to be much longer than this but it need not be. It need not be so formulaic either but, once again, it can be. They key is to cover the hurts incurred by you through the person you are writing. Trey did nothing TO me. Yet, through his journey with cancer I was hurt.
So I would read my letter to Rachel (as her hurts in regards to Trey are hers and different than mine) or to a very close family member or friend who understands comfort. As they comfort me, their emotions/tears are attached to the pains written about in the letter and healing occurs. Does it make it all better? Of course not. Does it help? Without a doubt.
So, feel free to write yours. Continue to heal. For those of you not grieving feel free to pass this on to one who is.