A Goodbye Letter to a Friend

by Jim on December 19, 2012

Saying goodbye can be one of THE most difficult things that we do while we’re here on the planet.

Boy who lost his best friend in the Sandybrook school shooting.
[All credit for this photo goes to USA Today]

The grief and loss of losing our friend (whether that be my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my wife, my husband, my grandma, best friend, etc…) can be devastating. The letter that this little boy wrote in the image above…saying goodbye to his friend who was shot at Sandybrook school is one of the healthiest things he can do to help him heal from the pain of his best friend’s passing.

In any death, regardless of whether immediate, as in the case of the Sandybrook school, or if our friend has a long terminal condition and we’re nursing them for a year before the pass on, the death of our friend can be hard to deal with.

Some people will choose NOT to deal with death and immerse themselves in work, or become so engaged in other things so that their minds become engaged elsewhere. But this isn’t really the best choice.

In disclosure, I know that when my mom died that I couldn’t open certain pieces of mail for months after her death–it was too painful. I knew that these pieces of mail were there to offer me condolences, reassurances, but it was too painful. After time went by, I did eventually open them. I let the person who sent them know how much it meant, and I let them know why I didn’t open their letters earlier.

We each have our own grieving process, no single one is the “right” one. With that said, I’d like to say more on the topic of the “Goodbye Letter.” The first thing is the knowledge that we all will experience grief, loss, and sadness, and we all will experience death and passing on. This is all a part of being human. Death is our leaving this…this plane of action, it’s leaving our human form. And when we lose someone dear to us, when they leave…it hurts.

So let’s start there. It hurts. Hurt is one of the uncomfortable emotions that we feel. The feeling of hurt won’t last, but the feeling of loving that we have for our friend will. One of the ways that we can express the loving that we felt for them is to write them a letter of goodbye, just like this little boy did for the friend that he lost. I’m encouraging you to write this letter with pen and paper, not computer and keyboard.

Because I’m assuming that you’re a bit older than that little boy in the picture at the top of this post, I’m going to offer you something different to do with that letter once you’ve written it. First, don’t re-read it. You’ve just poured your heart out sharing your loving, your caring, that you’ll miss them, and that it hurts. The act of writing the letter itself is a “releasing” of the pain. You’re releasing the pain inside of you onto the page…onto the letter itself.

Once you’ve actually written the words on the page, the page now “holds” the energy of the pain that you held in your heart and in your body. If you re-read the letter, you might be “taking in” the pain again. So the writing is a “releasing” of energy, a releasing of the pain of your loss, and the paper is now holding your pain for you. Don’t re-read the letter.

Now, my encouragement is to actually burn the letter (if it’s safe to do so, of course). What burning the letter does is it sends the energy back into Nature, back into Life Itself, and Life will know what to do with this energy. Maybe say a prayer, or good thoughts when you burn the letter. You can let your friend know that in your heart you’ll always be grateful that they were your friend.














Boy saying goodbye to his friend who died at Sandybrook School.
[Full credit to USA Today & Yamiche Alcindor for this photo]

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