To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

~Phyllis Theroux~


If you’re feeling stuck in your grief and confused by conflicting emotions, at times, writing a letter to your late spouse can help you to recognize, understand and then release your bottled up feelings. You can use the vehicle of a letter to communicate thoughts, which you might not have had the chance to convey before his demise.

Here are a couple of examples when a letter can help to move your through your grief.

1. In the instance of an unexpected death, a possible scenario could have been that on one day that seemed to be ordinary, you might have had a silly little argument with your spouse. No big deal; the two of you would have kissed and made up the next day. The universe had another plan, though, and he may have been in a fatal accident, murdered, or taken his own life, for example. Thus, your words of anger can never be resolved. This can cause great regret and guilt to fester inside of you.

If this is the case, a letter can serve as an apology for past mistakes or hurtful words and actions. In turn, this can allow you to release your burden of guilt and let go of regrets. Harboring either or both of these emotions can be a tremendous energy drainer.

2. Perhaps, you’re angry at your late spouse for leaving you unprepared to face life by yourself. Rationally, if a spouse were ill, you know it wasn’t his choice to die. Of course, your rational mind and your emotional mind aren’t necessarily in sync. Therefore, even if you know you shouldn’t be angry about him leaving, this remains your prevalent emotion.

Furthermore, hindsight is always 20/20. So, if your late spouse was generally healthy and the onset of a disease was sudden, you both probably thought you had a lot more time to prepare for a death.

If this is the case, a letter can offer forgiveness. It’s important to remember that forgiveness is really for you and not for him.

Depending on the time frame in which you decide to write a letter (or letters), it can allow you to examine your loss with the perspective of a short or long amount of time. You can even write a letter on the same subject at different times of your bereavement, and this may allow you to see the events of your life in changed ways.

Here’s something else to consider when it comes to letter writing. You might ask a trusted friend and/or relative to “receive” the messages of your letter. As you read it aloud, ask your friend to simply listen in silence. Let this person know that you’re not asking for comments or any sort of reply. It just helps to have someone “hear” your words.