When faced with goodbye, write a letter
ASU alum, Valley writer seeks 'goodbye letters'
"One of these days, I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter, to all the good friends I've known." – Neil Young
After the recent passing of her father, ASU alumnus Susan Geer, a Valley resident and writer, sat down and wrote a letter to her father – a "goodbye letter."
Geer said she found the experience to be so comforting that she felt inspired to begin collecting other goodbye letters from people who also have struggled with the loss of a parent, a child, a friend.
“My idea is to collect and publish these letters that can heal and enrich those who are faced with saying goodbye, whether that is by death, leaving for the military, going to college or moving out," says Geer. "All letters of goodbye will be considered."
Geer holds a bachelor's degree in advertising from ASU, and her late father, Robert Huff, served as executive director of the Arizona Board of Regents from 1979 to 1986. He later became an ASU professor emeritus, teaching higher education management.
"I believe people are faced with the question of what do you say, how do you act when you may be seeing your loved one for the last time or for a long time," Geer says. "So, for me, I felt it was a positive, comforting and uplifting experience to get all my thoughts on to paper and give my father this letter."
Sincerity is the only rule for crafting a goodbye letter, says Geer. She suggests thinking about the person to whom you are writing and then writing about a specific incident with that person. Goodbye letters can be long or short, and they don't have to say everything. Finally, Geer says to give it to your loved one. If you can’t give it in person, then mail it, email it, have it delivered, or read it over the telephone. Be sensitive to the recipient's emotions and needs, Geer warns.
For those interested in sending a goodbye letter for publication consideration, you can email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to 1155 S. Power Rd., Suite 114, #65, Mesa, Ariz., 85206. Visit lastgoodbyeletters.com for more information.
“I can’t wait for the letters to come in," Geer says. "I think I will end up seeing a pattern, or a logical way to group the letters so I can formulate chapters based on subject matter. I hope the finished project will inspire others to write down their thoughts and feelings, and help them get through this difficult process.”