Today, I'd like to share some touching quotes from Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing, by Julie Davey who leads writing groups for "cancer patients, their family members, doctors, nurses, caregivers, and others who may have suffered tragic events in their lives."
When Davey's own father was dying of cancer, she wrote: "My parents were not ones who often said 'I love you' to each other or to my brother and me. ...My parent's actions always showed their love; my brother and I knew how they felt. I assumed my father always knew how I felt, too. But, somehow, when a person is terminally ill, all of these emotions rise to the surface. If the opportunity to speak them or write them is not taken, then it is truly lost forever.
"With pen and paper, I told him how much he meant to me, how much I loved him, and how grateful I was to have had him for my father. I sobbed as I composed the letter and had to recopy it because of my tear stains. It was my first experience with the healing power of writing.
"I felt greatly relieved after I finished writing the letter. I wrote things I had wanted to tell him for years and never did..."
Perhaps because of my lengthy illness, I have often written letters to relatives or friends to tell them how much I love them, and/or to thank them for standing by me when I was ill. Have you?
Exercise: If there are people in your life with whom you need/want to share your feelings, perhaps now is the time to write to them.
Ms. Davey recommends the following prompts: "Dear...As I look back over my life, I remember a time when...
"I feel fortunate because without you..."
I believe that one of the values of having been so ill is that I have learned how to express my feelings honestly and openly. What have you learned from your illness?