Saying goodbye

Knowing you will die offers you a special opportunity: the chance to say goodbye to those you love and care about. It is a sad and difficult thing to do, but some people say they feel lucky that they’ve had the time to prepare.

     − Agnes

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Ways to say goodbye

Saying goodbye is a personal experience and you need to do what is right for you. When you feel you are ready, consider how you will say goodbye. You might set aside a time to talk to each person individually. Or, if you are physically up to it, you might have a gathering for friends and family.

Other ways to say goodbye include writing letters, creating a recording on CD or DVD, and passing along keepsakes. 

If you have children or grandchildren, you may want to write them a letter or make them a recording. You could specify that this is to be given to them at a specific age or time in their life. You (or your friends) could also create a slideshow or scrapbook of special photos, or use an online service such as itsaboutus.com.au.

memory box can be another special keepsake for your family. You may find it hard to think about a time when you won’t be there for your children, but these measures can be helpful and comforting for children. If your children are very young, they’ll understand your words and sentiments when they’re older.


Leaving an ‘emotional will’

An ‘emotional will’ is a document that shares your thoughts with and shows your concern for your family and friends, and even future generations. It is not a legal document and can be presented as creatively as you wish. You might want to record insights, requests, thanks, advice, memories or anything else that is important to you.

For more information, you can download the Groundswell Project’s Emotional Will and Death Checklist from thegroundswellproject.com/10-things-workshops.


Making a memory box

A memory box is a collection of keepsakes for your family. What you put into a memory box will be personal choices, but some possibilities include a:

  • treasured photo
  • DVD of a family event
  • special birthday card
  • favourite cap, tie, scarf or another item of clothing
  • list of shared memories
  • lock of hair
  • family recipe
  • pressed flower from your garden
  • bottle of your favourite perfume or aftershave.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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