Susan Geer lost her father last year and was motivated to turn her pain into purpose by attempting to collect 1000 letters, poems, collages or other good-bye sentiments and publish them in one book.
We sat down to ask her about her project:
Tell us me about the new book you are putting together?
Susan: It is a collection of letters from people to each other as they transition from one stage of life to another. It could be children going off to college, the loss of a pet, divorce, off to military deployment or the imminent passing of a loved one. The "letter" could be an actual letter, a poem, a song, a drawn picture, or maybe something else entirely.
What inspired you to come up with this idea?
When my father was dying of cancer I was planning a visit to see him, probably for the last time. I didn't know how to act, what to say, etc. I was fretting about this one night and just got up to write a letter. I felt so much better knowing that I would share my feelings with my father through this letter. When I went to bed, before I fell asleep, I had a profound feeling that I would gather other similar letters and compile them into a book that would be healing and helpful to others.
For someone at home having difficulty getting started writing this letter, can you offer some tips?
First, just do something!
I've listed seven steps on my website, but briefly they are:
1. Think of a specific incident that comes to your mind involving this person and write about it and how it impacted your life.
2. Write about what you thought then and now about that incident. For example: "I didn't realize it then, but you ignited my love for wildlife/photography/nursing and my life took a course it wouldn't without you."
3. Repeat as necessary!
4. If you can't write a letter, try a poem, a drawing, a word collage. Think of how you feel comfortable expressing yourself.
5. Don't worry about saying EVERYTHING. That's impossible. What's important is saying SOMETHING.
6. Close with a few words that you feel describe your loved one. For example: "You are special to me because you always make me smile."
7. IMPORTANT: Make sure you give your letter to your loved one. Mail it. E-mail it. Give it to a friend to give. Read it over the phone. Just make sure you deliver it. It's healing for both you and your loved one.
How would someone be considered for publication in your book ?
I'm looking for letters from people of all walks of life. The more varied the better. I'd love the contributions to come from all over the world! If they don't have a letter, please consider 'friending' Last Goodbye Letters on Facebook and, a step further, to share out story with your friends.
Views can e-mail or mail a letter to us. Letters@LastGoodbyeLetters.com or the mailing address is on the website. Please remember to send a Release Form with the contribution so we can share it with others. Right side of the website has a link to the Release Form.
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