Many people have found that writing letters to deceased loved ones can be a helpful activity for healing. In grief or trauma it is important to externalize emotions. Feelings can get trapped in our bodies as our mind cycles through the same story over and over again. I learned in my (link) Trauma Awareness and Healing class that our minds literally create groves as it repeats the story.
Writing through grief is one way to get that repetitious story out of our bodies. For me I felt like once I had documented my story on paper, my body and mind no longer had to hold it. It helped me feel free to move on and find healing—I was not longer responsible for carrying my story.
I have read about mothers who wrote letters to deceased children and then created memory books out of the letters. Some have used blogs to keep their letters if they were willing to have them shared with others.
Letter writing suggestion
In her book On Grief and Grieving
, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross tells about a woman who wrote letters to her mother. In this letter she talked about how much she missed her mother, about how bad things were going at work because of her loss, and about the terrible void she felt was left in her life. She then decided to write a letter to herself from her mother using her non-dominant hand. Her mother told her that she missed her as well and then began to give her some typical motherly advice. The woman was surprised at how this part of the activity made her feel deeply connected to her mother again. She repeated this process whenever she was really missing her mother.
Letter writing is also a helpful tool if there is unfinished business in your relationship with your loved one. In sudden death situations it is not uncommon to have the desire to finish some on-going discussion you might have been having. Letters can be very helpful and healing in these situations as well.