The Final Goodbye

Death comes when death wants to.  What you leave behind matters and for children  of any age, a goodbye letter lets your love live on.

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Writing a goodbye letter passes on your love and your legacy.  Yes, I am talking about a goodbye letter to be read by your children after your death.

Note this: I am absolutely not referring to a suicide letter. If you’ve found this blog post because that is what you are considering,  call 911 for help immediately.  Not willing  to do that, Google suicide help line. Life can be better, I know if seriously depressed, you probably do not  believe that at the moment, but in this world things change, always.

The goodbye letter I am referring to is, believe it or not, meant as a positive and life-affirming experience. That said, parents have a hard enough time writing wills and here I am suggesting writing a goodbye letter! I think parents need to write such letters as soon as they become parents. Why?  Because you never know. You never know.

A final reason: such letters document a bit of each child’s life and serve as a memory book for each child’s life. Children of all ages will profit from such a book of memory’s written by a loving parent. 


Tip one: Write one a year for each of your children.

Tip two: Write it on each child’s birthday.

Tip three: Make certain a trusted person knows where you keep the letters.

Tip four: Decide the age when you want your child to get the letters.

Tip five: Here is a sample written by a mother on the occasion of her first child’s first birthday. 

I have watched your growth this year, you have learned to crawl, then to walk, and now you are pointing to things and looking at me to name them.

Having you, watching you grow, has filled my heart in ways I never thought possible.  I look forward to many years in which to show my love and share your joys and comfort your sorrows. 

If you are reading this letter and it is the last one in the series, I died shortly after writing it.  Bad things happen.  Not as punishments or lessons, but just because life brings good and bad to all.

I know you probably have no memories of our short time together.  It is even possible your father remarried and you learned to think of someone else as your mother and came to love her as you would have loved me.  I hope that is what happened.

I also know that when a parent dies while their child is young, the child often feels to blame or at fault.  The child can also feel angry or personally betrayed and have a hard time trusting others. Those are normal feelings, but hopefully get left behind with childhood. 

I also wanted to tell you, kindness and love mattered most in my life and I hope your have found that they matter most.  If anything goes on after this life, I am hoping it is the love that caring people feel for each other.  It is my biggest hope that as you have grown from the toddler I held in my arms to the young man reading this you have known love, lots of love.

Your mother

Tip six: Keep the letters short, try to include one or two memories, not just of good behavior, but as the child grows applaud struggles and learning, provide sympathy and support.

Tip seven:  Think of adding a picture or memento.


Writing such letters  focuses you on what matters, your mission as a parent, your hopes and dreams for each of your children.  When you are clear about your mission as a parent, and what you hope for each child, you become a mission driven parent which means you go for the good, not the gold – you know what matters.

Care and share and thank you.


This post was inspired by this  Word Press Daily Prompt: If You Leave  Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

Granted at my age, I thought about the final departure. And if you read me regularly, you know I have written about this before.  But it bears repeating.

Links of interest

15 responses to “The Final Goodbye

  1. Goodness, I have never thought to write such a thing, but it’s a good idea. Thank you for putting that idea in our minds as something important to do…

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  6. Mother was stricken suddenly with voracious cancer at 88 a year and a half ago. I was her home hospice nurse during those last five weeks. About half an hour after she died, a tear formed and fell from her left eye. I suppose that was her letter from the other side.

    • How touching. I’m sorry you lost your mom. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer – 349 days from diagnosis to death. She didn’t leave any letters for us, but she left behind many traditions that we follow. Her love is always with us.

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  12. I wish my mom had written a letter before she left. But by the time we knew she was really dying it was too late. The cancer had taken over. More than anything, I wish she had written letters to her grandkids. She loved them so much. My son was 9, and has so many memories of time spent with his grandmother. But her loss was so great that he won’t talk about her. My daughter was 2, and the only memories she has are my memories. I made a promise to my mom to keep her memory alive for my kids, which I do my best to keep. Writing a letter – a very good idea. Thank you.

    • The death of a loved one is always hard, but as with so many of life’s tough times can leach lessons. I am working on leaving a memory book and letters, but life does get in the way. I do have a good bye letter. You could also celebrate her birthday and tell stories about her. Even little stories help children connect to family history and that one done positively is always strengthening.

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