As awesome as it would be to able to talk to those that are no longer with us, telling them everything that we are feeling, we all know that is not a possibility. I lost my mother 12 years ago and my father 3. While my relationship with each parent had their own battles, there are memories that at 40 years old I want to hold on to and there are a lot of things that I need them to know.
I have been in therapy (on and off) for many years. Talking through things has been the best way for me to move forward and address situations that I have encountered. At my therapists suggestion, I started writing letters to those I was unable to talk to so that I might be able to get my voice heard.
The letter writing was a good practice. It gave me the ability to purge my mind when I needed it the most. Then, about 6 months ago, these letters needed to be quick and not so formal. That is when I started an email account for each person I needed to hear something that I had to say. These emails extend past my parents and to people that I have things to say from time too time but can’t. I name the subject line of these emails as either “Good” or “Not Good,” and nothing more, so that when I need to remember something positive it is there waiting. This makes it so that I can go straight to them.
A feeling. A memory. I time that I was happy. I need them to know about this, but at the same time, hold on to them for times that I need them. There was a moment in my life where I remember my mother French braiding my hair. I remember feeling very wanted those few minutes and I needed her to know that I loved that. The times that my dad would come home from Alaska and we would go out to dinner to celebrate all being together…I need him to know how much I loved that. Often times these notes are along the lines of “I miss you today” or “I heard your favorite song today and I loved hearing it.”
My parents each had their own issues and those things had a huge impact on how I grew up and the person that I am now. There are things that I saw, heard, and felt that have stayed with me and, at times, have ruined my sense of self-worth. I am still working through this and if I have to spend the rest of my life attempting to do so, then that is what I will do. When I need someone to know how I feel or how I need them to hear me, I type it out on my phone or computer and send it off. Hitting send has become such a release for me.
I have found that “sending” these private emails is sort of like giving myself a chance at staying well and having the ability to look ahead in a way that I wasn’t able to before. It has allowed me to really let things that have been locked up in my mind go and that has been so freeing. While it would be just as easy to jot something down on a piece of paper, tossing it wouldn’t give me the same satisfaction as actually sending it. This is an easy, quick way for me to release things, even from my phone, no matter where I am.
There are so many ways that someone can take care of themselves mentally and for me, this is one way that I can do that. I am not able to vocalize my feelings to those who need to hear them and this is the next best thing. Find a way to get your voice out there if someone needs to hear you. Write letters or emails. Text yourself. Send what you need to say out there. Get those thoughts out of your head and release them. You will be doing yourself a world of good.