Leaving a Thoughtful Goodbye

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Write a Powerful Just-In-Case Letter

Writing a Just-in-Case letter is a way to make peace with family and friends. The intent is to provide a warm and personal statement on who, and what helped to define your life.

For the critically ill, the most common emotion they express is regret. The regret that comes from not taking the time to mend broken relationships; the regret that they never told their friends and family how much they care; regret that they are going to be remembered by their children as hypercritical mothers or unforgiving, authoritarian father.

The peace of mind provided by communicating these powerful thoughts is profound. Located in Check-Out’s “Having “The Talk” section, you will find the Just-In-Case letter, partially pre-written to help you get started. Here is an outline on writing an authentic and effective Just-In-Case letter.

Who are the most important people in your life?

Task 1: Acknowledge the important people in your life: It is very important to start the process of life review by identifying key people in your life. Take the time to express your pride in their achievements.

Share the most important moments in your life

Task 2: Remember treasured moments from your life: The second life review task is to recall the most special, meaningful instances in your life, including those involving your loved ones. These moments or events can range from important life milestones or simple family moments that you treasure.

Apologize to the people you may have hurt

Task 3: Apologize to those you love if you hurt them: In our experience, many patients worry about specific past instances when they have hurt the people they love. In doing a life review, it is important to take a moment to ask forgiveness from those you have hurt . Also, take this time to forgive yourself for any mistakes you feel you have made in the past.

Forgive those who may have hurt you in the past

Task 4: Forgive those who love you if they have hurt you: Now is the time to give solace to those who may have hurt you. Let them know that you acknowledge what they have done, but that you ultimately have forgiven them. This will give you and them a sense of release and peace. It will also give you peace when you successfully let go of old resentments.

Express gratitude for the all the love and good things in your life

Express your gratitude for all the love and care you have received: Thank your loved ones for their concern through the trying times in your life and for everything else that they have done for you. You might mention specific instances that you hold close to your heart.

Let your family and friends know that you love them

Task 6: Tell your friends and family how much you love them: Sometimes it is hard to express your love for someone in speech, so take advantage of this opportunity to write to those you love and express how much you care about them.

Say goodbye and provide best wishes for those left behind

Task 7: Take a moment to say “goodbye”: The final life review task is to bid adieu to your loved ones. If you feel comfortable, take this time to ensure that you and your loved ones have a proper parting without any regret or guilt. In working with diverse Americans, some have expressed reluctance to complete the task of saying “goodbye” due to cultural taboos. If you are uncomfortable completing the “goodbye” task, it is perfectly fine to defer this for later.

Written by C. Bowles for Check-Out Planning Services Ltd. Copyright ©˙2019. All rights reserved.

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