Release with Love Letter: Journaling to Release Grief

Do you find it hard to let go of someone you’ve passed? Are you sometimes haunted with regrets or perhaps even find it hard to think of someone you’ve lost? Perhaps you feel a wall or discomfort when you think of them? A wonderful technique for honoring and releasing the memory of a someone you’ve lost is by writing a “Release with Love Letter.” Before moving on, please consider that releasing the pain/grief does not mean forgetting. It means simply acknowledging the hurts, the regrets, and recognizing them as positive motivators for the legacy and inspiration that will live on in you as a result of that meaningful relationship. There is a Prayer for Sudden Loss on the Emotional Confidence tab under Grief/Bereavement resources for additional perspective and support.

I’ve drafted a general script for the “Release with Love Letter” below…try it in thinking of someone you’ve lost (either to death, separation, break-up, or distance). Edit it however you see fit, but do complete all of the sections at a minimum. Once written, read it outloud. Consider sharing it with someone you trust. You might decide to safely burn or destroy the letter once it’s read and released with love…

“Dear X,

What I miss most about you is …….  What I regret most is ……  I wish ……  I remember you each time I ……  You made me a better person by ……  I will honor you/your memory by …… [name something you will do/see/communicate].  Thank you for being my friend/partner/lover/mentor/[name valued relationship]. I release you with love and pray for your peace [until we meet again…this final part can be altered/deleted depending on your faith system].

Y (aka Your Name)”

A powerful follow-up to this letter is to write a separate letter: A response from the person you wrote your Release with Love Letter to. Perhaps we might call it “Receive with Love Letter.” Imagine speaking/writing as Person X. What are they likely to say back to you. Close your eyes if you can as you channel what you know of that person and how you feel they’d respond in their most tender essence and best self. We often fear worst case scenario and forget the goodness most likely to emerge when we are afraid. You might be shocked to realize what flows out of you.

I’ve had a patient follow-up this beautiful exchange of letters by saving a copy of the letter, sharing a copy with the wife of his late friend, and scheduling a beautiful ceremony to honor his late friend’s memory with other friends. His plan was to read the letter out loud before safely destroying it and releasing it with love.

Much peace to you on your personal journey.

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