When the life of a loved one is cut short, we’re left with a void. We still had things to say and things to do. We still have a voice, but the hearer is gone.

Putting our feelings into words can be therapeutic. The act of writing them invites our mind to sort and process our emotions. It gives us release. So, no matter where you are in the journey of grief, I encourage you to write a letter to your loved one. It can be short or long. A one-time note or a series. No rules. Just write.

Here’s mine, to my daughter. It’s been over five years since I said good-bye to her and I cherish the moments when I’m overwhelmed with my love for her.

Dear Ashlynn,

While I always carry you with me, I keep you in a safe place in my heart. A place that’s secure. A place that I fully open only when I’m ready for the flood of love and emotion that washes over me.

Tonight, the door swung open wide; music serving as the key. It had been too long.

Immediately sadness and joy collided. Pondering, longing followed.

I wonder why God chose us. Why He chose me to be your mother and you to visit for such a short time. Words are inadequate. They elude me. Answers run just beyond my grasp. But this I know: I’m thankful that He trusted me with your life. I’m thankful that you will always be part of me. I celebrate you and the new life you represent. You are a precious gift, treasured and loved. I love you, sweet girl, and look forward to the day that I hold you again.

Love always, Mom

Grab your pen and paper and search your heart and mind for words. Reflect. Linger. Experience the gift of expressing your love. And may you step towards healing in the process.

Cindy Shufflebarger 2012

Cindy Shufflebarger

Cindy Shuffelbarger is the author of Dancing in the Rain: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Storm and speaks to women’s groups on various topics related to grief, joy, and faith. She experienced the death of her infant daughter in 2006. In addition to writing and speaking, Cindy enjoys photography, traveling, scrapbooking and quiet walks in the park. A registered dietitian with degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and James Madison University, she now runs a women’s ministry to encourage others in their journey of faith. Cindy resides with her husband and children in the suburbs of Richmond, VA and finds her greatest challenge and reward as a homeschooling mom of three.

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