It’s difficult to remember everything about our loved ones, no matter how hard we try and there’s certainly not much that makes saying goodbye any easier. Despite this, there may be ways to make losing a loved one more connective and supportive for those left grieving and to ensure stories and memories live on long after the death of someone we love.
One such way is to leave a ‘last letter’ or to capture stories and memories, which can even be done well before our final days and when we’re healthy. It may feel morbid or difficult to process and it’s often also the time when we’re able to put pen to paper, or voice to a recording and share what’s on our heart before it’s too late.
We suggest keeping your end-of-life care wishes (advanced care planning: which you can learn more about this in a previous blog post here andhere) separate from these ‘goodbye letters,’ though as with anything, it’s completely up to what might work best.
While we’re often unable to control when we die, we can create our own emotional advanced directive and make sure those we love have something to hold onto after we’re gone.
No Story Lost
My Lasting Letters
How the process works:
There’s no right way to do this and there are no rules and no matter what, it will always feel like it’s too soon.
As this article states, “[o]nly one third of Americans have completed even a basic advance healthcare directive—the document that asks you to elect a health care agent who can speak for you if you end up in the hospital and can’t speak for yourself,” let alone capturing stories, memories or letters. What’s more, you “don’t have to pull your When I Die file [which includes your stories, memories or letters] together overnight. Maybe focus on one item per month for the next year. Gathering a whole death file together will make you a highly advanced American and a family hero.”
While this may all seem like a very difficult thing (and it is), the point of all of it is to make a difficult thing like dying or loving someone who is dying less difficult—Think of it as an act of love. “It will always be too soon to tell your story and let people know how much they mean to you, until it is too late.”
We’re here to support you and want to ensure a better death becomes integral to a good life. To learn more and access additional resources visit www.eirene.ca.