If you are thinking of submitting a letter and need some prompting to get started, here you go:
- Foremost, remember that this is about you giving voice to things you did not get to say or ask or tell your father. You are not being judged on your letter; you do not need to prove anything; and you only need to speak from your own truth.
- There is much creativity and innovation to be explored in the letter-writing form. You may choose to simply write a letter or you may write a poem or put together a collage or compose a song. Essentially, use the “language” that allows you the most expression. There is no word or page limit.
- Find a quiet space and clear away some time so you can sit and give your undivided attention to this letter. Take a moment to breathe, being conscious of your inhales and exhales. Breathe deeply and long. This way, you begin by being present in your body.
- Since the letter must begin with “Dear__________,”—you fill in the blank—think about how you would like to address your father. By his first name? As Dad? As The Man I Never Met?
- Start with your last or first memory of your father. If you do not have a memory of him, then start with that. Or recall a story you were told about him.
- What are some things you want to share with him? Was there a moment in your life when you wished he were there? What did he miss?
- What didn’t you say?
- How did you deal with his absence? What did his absence teach you? What are you unlearning now?
- In thinking about your personal wounds, what must be let go, as it relates to your father, so you can move forward in your life?
- Where are you now?
Remember to end your letter with a closing, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or dearGerald Letters, P.O. Box 12742, Oakland, CA, 94604.