"Say Good-bye"

 

(If Your Spouse Is Dead)

 

Divorce

Your marriage is over.
You are trying to get on with your life.
You have gone through most of the stages of grief, but things seem unfinished.
You can't let go. There is an unfinished gestalt.
All of the pieces are not complete. What can you do to finish it?


Try writing a good-bye letter.


The good-bye letter is a letter to your ex.
In your good-bye letter, you can say whatever you want; it is the actual act of writing it that should put the finishing touch on your healing and let you move on with your life.
This letter is not meant to be sent to them. It is a healing tool for you.

Tell the person how much they meant to you at one time. Thank them for being a part of your life, and for giving you the things that you got that were good from your marriage, such as your children, support at one time, love, hopes and dreams.
List the good times. List some of the ways you grew in your marriage. Express regrets for the things that went wrong, for the regretful things that you did. List the things that they did that hurt you and disappointed you. List the things that you wish you had done differently, and the things you wish they had done differently. Write about what you thought your lives together were going to be; contrast that with how things actually were. Mention the things you learned while you were with them, or as a result of being married to them. Tell them what you want out of life from now on. Apologize for the things you did that you aren't proud of, and ask for forgiveness. Wish them well as you go your separate ways.

This letter does not have to be mailed or given to the person you are writing it to. Actually, it is best not to give it to them. The very act of writing it should give you a great feeling of peace if it is done at the right time. Don't do it before you are ready. You will know when it is time.

Thank them for being a part of your life, and believe that you were meant to be with them for the time you had, and know that everything happens for a reason.

Then, you can do several things with the letter. Keep it and read it aloud in private, and then burn it or bury it. Or, put away in a memory box. Or, tear it into little pieces and put it in a bottle and throw it in the ocean. Do whatever it takes to release you.
This should be a final act that frees you and it should give you that peace and release.

Death

You are lost without him or her. You miss them terribly.
You will never forget them, and they will always have a place in your heart.
You may feel that you can't take your wedding ring off. You still feel "married"
and don't fit in with your married friends. Your heart is hollow.
They were your partner, best friend, lover, lifelong companion.

Know that if they loved you the way you loved them, they would not want you to grieve forever. They would want you to continue living and enjoying your life. They would want happiness for you, and they would want you to move on with your life.

Knowing this, write a good-bye letter telling them how much they meant to you.
In this letter, use the words "dead" and "died". Make it real and final. They are not coming back, so don't say "They passed, or they aren't here with you now".
You may want to journal the history of your lives together, starting with how you met, what your courtship was like and continue on with the years you had together. This history might mean a lot to your children one day should you want to share, but sharing is your choice.
Expect tears to flow, but remember that tears are healing, and they release pent-up emotions.
The thing to remember is to not put them up on a pedestal so that nobody else will ever measure up to them should you eventually get ready to move on with your life.
You should include some of their faults (we tend to think they were perfect after they die, forgetting their faults sometimes, and set standards that nobody else could ever meet - if those standards were accurate). Talk about the bad times and their less than stellar characteristics, for they were human and nobody is perfect, just like no marriage is perfect. Praise them for their strengths and good points. Talk about the good times, the good qualities. Talk about the plans that you never got to execute -the things you wanted to do and the places you wanted to see. Talk about your dreams, and which ones came true. Get it all out.
Apologize to them for things you did that you aren't proud of, make amends for anything you feel guilty about. Ask forgiveness for things for which you need forgiveness.
Thank them for the time they spent on this Earth with you. Thank them for the children you had together. Thank them for being a part of your life, and believe that you were meant to be with them for the time you had, and know that everything happens for a reason.

 

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This page was created July 11, 2007

 

 

 

All content on this page except that credited to others is Copyright 2007 by Linda S. Nix and may not be copied, published, downloaded, printed or reproduced in any manner without explicit written permission. This article is meant to be helpful, but should not be considered to be advice from a professional.