Caring For A Loved One: The Letter Each Caregiver Should Write
While caring for a loved one or following the death of a loved one, caregivers can create a path to healing by writing letters, whether to themselves or to their loved one. This letter – or these letters – can serve as a balm of sorts if you’re experiencing feelings of emotional stress, guilt, or resentment.
There are two options for such letters; both may be of help:
- A letter to yourself. In such a letter, you are frank about your feelings and emotions. Here you can say what you cannot tell others.
- A letter to your loved one. Here you can write everything you would like to say to your loved one. You can explain your behavior and emotions. This letter may not be appropriate to share with your loved one; however, it may provide a healing outlet for you.
Writing either or both of these letters allows you to take a sober view of your efforts in providing care.
What to Write in a Letter?
Writing is the best opportunity to talk about your pain, experiences, and successes in care. Be as open as possible with yourself. If you find it difficult to get started, here are some helpful suggestions:
- Do you feel guilty? If so, write out where you think those feelings of guilt began.
- Do you think you are doing or did too much for your loved one? Or too little? Try to list some of your efforts so you can capture what is happening.
- Why have you put your own needs aside? Is it because of time, or guilt, or all the other responsibilities in your life?
- How do you help a loved one? Do you try to do everything yourself, or are you willing to reach out to others for help?
The answers to these questions can become the outline for your letter(s). Most likely, you’re underestimating the value and quantity of the help you’re providing. Writing can create clarity in your situation.
Main Reasons for a Caregiver to Write a Letter
Here are some reasons that will show you the importance of writing such a letter.
Your Mental Health
Once you identify and own the tension associated with caregiving, writing a letter can be one of the best ways for you to overcome that stress.
To Restore Personal Barriers
One of the side effects of caregiving is to put self-care by the wayside. It’s certainly easier said than done, but you need to build boundaries so you can pay attention to your own health. Let’s take a look at a simple example.
Mary, who takes care of her mother who has dementia, often has stomach pains. She put off a visit to her doctor as she was afraid to leave her mother alone. Sadly, Mary was hospitalized, and her mother was left without proper care.
Don’t be like Mary! Without proper self-care, you won’t be able to care for others.
The Bottom Line
When you write the letter(s), your emotional state may return to normal. Your eyes will open, and your mind will refresh. Please don’t compromise your health and needs since you are as important as those you care for. Use the practice of writing as a positive step toward wellbeing.
–by Frank Hamilton
Frank Hamilton has been working as an editor at essay review service Writing Judge and an author at Best Writers Online. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.