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WRITING THE GRIEF LETTER FROM THE TIMELINE AND THE LISTS • Step 3

3. NOW WRITE THE LETTER at least 3-5-10-20 or more pages, more if you like.

Start letter with:

“Dear XXXX,

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 I want to review some things about our relationship that I want to let go of and want you to know about . ..”

Write the letter to the person or situation as if it is a real letter, not bullet points. Write it from your emotional heart, as raw and real as you can. Write it as a narrative. Don’t cover over with nice or pleasantwith muted tones.  Let the “hate/hurt/pain" as well as the "love/closeness" be fully described and expressed. Each part you you may carry and express things differently toward d the same event or person. It is all true, so apparent contradictions are common.

Give words and voice to your deepest feelings and thoughts.  This is a private letter and reading and not for the person nor others. This is for you and the person you choose to listen and witnessed with their emotional heart, without judgement, with compassion, kindness, understanding and to keep it private and contagious for you.

a. Include RESENTMENTS and turn into acceptance and forgiveness
NOTE: The definition of forgiveness in the dictionary is “to stop requiring payment,” “to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong.” and “to stop blaming someone.” (Merriam Webster)

For the exercise, I suggest the Grief Recovery Method definition:
FORGIVENESS: Letting go of a different or better yesterday.

In some religious writings forgiveness is often referred to in the Greek usage as “loosening one’s grip.”  In other words, loosening the grip that the hurtful and painful emotions have on your body, mind and spirit both consciously and unconsciously.

"I RESENT that you embarrassed me when you . . . ",

then add
"I ACCEPT that this happened,"

then add  
"I FORGIVE you (or—wish I could forgive—don’t forgive—can’t forgive—won’ forgive—I forgive you for that as much as I can---- choose one or more that feels emotionally honest now)

Here is the summary of the RESENT statement;

I RESENT that you _____________________________, I ACCEPT that this happened. I FORGIVE* you for it. I accept my participation in this and I forgive myself for that, this was far harder than I ever expected.

*Note again, if this just doesn’t feel emotionally honest, you can write something like:
—wish I could forgive—don’t forgive—can’t forgive—won’ forgive—I forgive you for that as much as can----

Do each item this way but in the context of a letter-writing style and very personal. Write as if you are telling them and they are simply listening and not interrupting.

b. INCLUDE REGRETS. This step moves the regrets toward APOLOGY

 "I regret I never said . . . "

add, "I accept that this happened,”

 then add, "I APOLOGIZE (or I am so sorry) for not saying . . . And with sincere compassion I forgive myself for my actions. This was far harder than I ever expected."  

Do each item until you are complete. You can add more as you go with each category as your emotional memory opens more and more.

c. INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT EMOTIONAL STATEMENTS  
and EXPRESS GRATITUDE/APPRECIATION/THANK YOU’s.
Write it in narrative style any way that you prefer.

d. SIGN THE LETTER
(For example) "Goodbye xxxxx,
(Your name here)  ____"

NOTE: You are not saying goodbye to the person. You are saying good bye to the unfinished emotional conversations that cause the PAIN that you have inside of your head, entire body and nervous system that are toward the person and the relationship.

 

A partial example of a letter:

Dear Joan,

I want to review some things about our relationship that I want to let go of and complete and I want you to know about.

I sit here and I am amazed that when I did the time line my feelings for you came back. There were and are many. I so appreciate how we met and the times we had that makes so many important things in both our lives. 

(Note: this paragraph is an example of a RESENTMENT elements of your letter. Remember that you can have as many paragraphs on this that you need, pages and pages if you like)

I do have some incomplete bad feelings. I resent that during the good years you spent so much of that time not telling me how you really felt about me, you and our relationship. You let the negative building up and when you finally told me close to the end, I was stunned and shocked.  I really do hate you for that. I accept that this happened and I forgive you for that.  I also accept that I did the best I could even though in hindsight, I can see what I could have done differently. I forgive myself for my part in this. It was simply far harder than I could ever imagine. . . .

(Note: this paragraph is an example of a REGRET elements of your letter. Remember that you can have as many paragraphs on this that you need, pages and pages if you like)

I regret that I didn’t speak up when I saw the signs of your detachment. I look back and I can see it in your eyes at the cafe when I asked you the first time about what was up with you. Our good times were really good and our bad times never got to be worked on or discussed. I am sorry, I apologize for not speaking up to you then and not let the moments pass by. I knew all along but I just hoped I was wrong.  I am sorry I didn’t know how to trust my own self as much as I do now. I learned that from our relationship. I learned to check out, over and over if I have to, when I feel detachment.  I forgive myself for my detachment, it was simply far harder than I could ever imagine . . .

(Note: EXPRESS UN-EXPRESSED EMOTIONS. Remember that you can have as many paragraphs on this that you need, pages and pages if you like)

. . . I really am deeply hurt that you chose to be in another relationship so quickly. I hate that you left before your body left and just seemed to cast me aside.  I feel worthless about this. Cast aside. Used. Abused. I feel those things right now as I think it , , ,

(Note: EXPRESS UN-EXPRESS GRATITDE. Remember that you can have as many paragraphs on this that you need, pages and pages if you like)

I have so many good and loving feelings toward you also about the past. I appreciate that even in some of our harder times you were able to give me signals that you cared.  I am grateful for the vacation we took with all of our friends to the lake house, where we were able to put so much of our troubles aside and just enjoy playing and having fun. I still have some of the pictures from that valued memory.  I am grateful for how you took care of my dog Joey, when he was sick and I had to be away on business. . .

Goodbye Joan,
Jane

Step 1 TIMELINE  Step 2 LISTS  Step 3 LETTER   Step 4 READING