Who do you wish you could talk to? Is there someone--alive or dead--you have unfinished business with??? In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ALL more aware of the fragility of life. No one is guaranteed the 100-year punch pass anymore. While frightening, we still have agency. We may not be able to control COVID-19, but we can control our behavior, making this moment in human history an opportunity to be more mindful as individuals AND as a species.
We make ourselves mentally stronger through purpose. When you lose employment, family, friends, a relationship, a house, you will ultimately feel like there is none. That kind of response is just part of grieving. How we begin to heal is by receiving acknowledgement for our loss. When loss is obvious to others, we'll receive cards, letters, meals, etc. to help us through our grief. But in a pandemic, when everyone is dealing with some level of loss--and, much of that loss, invisible--learning how to give ourselves that acknowledgement and CLOSURE is an important survival skill.
How do you give yourself closure?
Regardless of the origin of your loss, writing a letter will help you gain perspective. You can write it to yourself from the other person's point of view as a way to deal with difficult dynamics often derived from family or friends who exhibit traits from the Dark Triad (psychopathy, NPD, & Machiavellianism). Or, it can be in your own voice to someone you miss. Maybe you wronged another and during this frightening time, realize your mistake. Maybe you lost a parent, child, partner, or friend, and wish you had the opportunity to tell them a few things. Whatever the reason behind the letter, giving yourself permission to express your thoughts and feelings will help you cope.
Love relationships are a good example of the kind of loss where closure is necessary. People tend to polarize "sides" when it comes to l'amour (love). But, there are no sides. Not really. Two people are in a relationship and unless one ghosts the other, both are equally responsible for the problems within it. Writing to someone you lost can and will help you organize the sequence of events that led to an ending instead of a beginning. No matter who you are in the equation, telling someone you cared about that you are truly sorry is a healing action. Good karma, too! People are afraid of opening doors they'd like to keep closed--if that's the case, don't send the letter. But I do encourage you to send correspondence that is positive, productive and proactive--that's when closure can and will be achieved. .
Instead of feeling stuck, you can take meaningful, effective action. Communication is the key to all relationships. Just because one has ended, doesn't mean you're okay. Healing takes time. My soul-purpose is helping others to build up their resiliency and confidence through positive action in order to create equally (if not greater) positive change.
How do you begin?
Start with "Dear _____" and go from there. Always kick things off by asking how a person is doing. Try to acknowledge a positive trait or memory about that person in the first paragraph. And, create a transition to the next paragraph that introduces why you're writing in the first place.
My other piece of advice?
Keep it short. Simple. Think "economy of words." That doesn't mean saying nothing--it just means front loading your words with more meaning for a bigger impact. Too much is often too much. People had shorter attention spans pre-COVID-19. Now, we're all even more distracted. So, I'm going to outline an example below to help get you started on your journey to greater self awareness, and by extension, greater healing:
I hope you're well. Thought I'd check in given the state of the world.
I was sad after what happened last year. I know you were, too. But a sense of friendship remains, and I'm glad..
(Your Name Here)"
Obviously, you will change the words to suit your unique situation. But the example above gives a kind of thumbnail-sketch of how to acknowledge a person without opening the door to anything but potential friendship in the future. This doesn't have to just apply to romantic relationships--it can be any kind of relationship.
That said, you may want to write to a person who doesn't deserve your words (abusers, etc.). In those circumstances, write as much as you want, but never send it. Use it as a tool to empower yourself, not invite others to continue to hurt you.
For those who played the role of "ghost" in the last six months or so and now realize your mistake a la COVID-19...start slow, but remain steady:
You deserve an explanation--I didn't know how to say goodbye so said nothing at all. And I'm truly sorry. It wasn't my intention to ghost you--truly believed we'd have a chance to see each other again. But COVID-19 had other plans.
The more time that passed, the harder it was to find the words. I was scared. Really scared. Meeting you was not just a happy memory, but a life-changing moment. You've been on my mind every day since. I thought I was doing the right thing--letting you slip away was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
You have no reason to believe me. And I have no right to expect anything from you. But if you are somehow still interested in talking to me, it is my intention to come to you once this pandemic is over--not just for a night or two--but for as long as you'll have me.
There are people today who will never get a chance at a happy ending--they're just getting an ending. But if at all possible, I want us to have ours.
Stay safe and well. I hope to hear from you soon but understand if you need time--you're more than worth the wait.
YOUR NAME HERE"
Ghosts who want a shot at a successful reunion need to apologize right upfront, taking responsibility for what happened. Keep it brief, but be clear. Your second paragraph should express your honest feelings; third paragraph is an opportunity to state your intentions for the future. You don't have to propose, but do let the person know you see a future together and once it's possible to reunite in person, you will make every effort to do so. Close with an invite for the person to reach out, but without any pressure. Hopefully, you can revive a soul connection AND give yourself new-found purpose to work toward a positive future at the same time.
I've also recommended using a recording app on your phone and "talking" to someone you can't have a real conversation with--for whatever reason. When you're done, play it back and PAY ATTENTION. If you're Deaf/HH, use your camera phone or laptop to record yourself communicating with anyone you want. Watch it when you're done. No matter which way you go, you'll be able to notice things that give you insights into yourself and your motivations.
Painting, poetry, photography, sculpture, landscape design--these are all forms of expression, too. Artists use various forms of expression to create beauty out of emotions like fear, sadness and anger. To make sense out of the nonsensical. You can, too.
Whatever you choose to do--maybe a combination of the above suggestions--you have the power to give yourself closure. You do not need others to help you heal. You can heal yourself. It takes time and patience, but by using coping strategies through "arts and letters," you can and will beat any negative.
Waiting for someone who left you behind to help you heal is total self-sabotage. You can do better. All around.
You are worth every effort. Someone else may not have thought so, but that's their loss--which is, thankfully, not your problem. Not anymore. Your problem is making yourself feel better. Happy. Whole. And ready to live the life of your dreams--especially in light of all that's happening in the world.
Remember, you are BUILT FOR VICTORY!!!
Never forget it....
To sign up for a session to tackle grief, or any issue you're facing during the current health crisis, please click the link below. You're not alone...I'm here for you: