Pre-planning your funeral can be a wise approach to the difficult matter of death. Writing farewell letters as part of the pre-planning process can help a great deal as well. No matter how far away you are from needing the plans that you are making, it can help you gain clarity and express the things that you want to say to the people that matter most to you. Here's what you need to know about writing those letters during the process of pre-planning your funeral.
Include One for All Your Dearest Loved Ones
It may be that you only have things left unsaid between one or two people. However, when farewell letters are given to loved ones, people who do not receive one may feel left out. For example, if only one of your siblings receives one, the others may feel left out and even slighted. Be sure to include a letter to all your closest loved ones. Relatives that you may want to write to include parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, children, and very close friends.
Determine What You Must Convey in Each Individual Letter
Start a list of the things that you most want to express in each letter. You may ask yourself the following questions to help determine what you want to state to each loved one.
- What do you love most about the person?
- Why are you grateful for this person?
- What have you learned from them?
- What is the one thing you most regret in the relationship?
- What do you forgive that happened between you?
- What do you seek forgiveness about?
- What are you most proud of in the relationship with the person?
- What are the strongest memories you have of the person that you'd like to share with them?
- What do you hope they remember about you and the relationship?
- What do you hope for them in the future?
- What do they do that makes you proud?
There are many other things you may consider stating to your loved one as well. Do it your way. It is up to you to determine what goes into your farewell letter. Bring your own personality and passion to it.
Write Multiple Drafts of Each Letter
Although some people say that nothing should be left unsaid at the end of life, that is not true in all scenarios. There are some relationships that require total honesty, but those are rare. When writing your first draft of each letter to your loved one, write without censoring yourself. Get out every single thing you want to say. Express all hurts and joys.
In the second draft, cut the letter down to the main points that you want to make and ensure that it states the things that you most want to convey to the person. Rewrite it as many times as you need. In the end, ensure that it says precisely what you want the person to know, not just what you feel like saying.
Finally, keep in mind that farewell letters can be an important part of your funeral plans. While it is a good idea to speak to people in person about things you regret and wrongs that you forgive, having a farewell letter can reiterate that old wounds are healed. It can allow you to assure your loved ones in a lasting way of how you felt about them. That can go a long way to helping your loved one's grief heal someday. Be sure to talk to a funeral director, like those at Ryan-Parke Funeral Home, about giving the letters to your loved ones at the funeral and the letters' safe-keeping in the meantime.