The Death Letters Project was started as an artistic expression of the wondrous nature of life and experience, and to help along the stages of grief.
The goal of the project is to collect death letters - letters we would write over a death of a loved one, or the impending journey onward of someone terminal including ourselves.
This is a community for you to express yourself.
Read a letter. Write a letter.
This is a place to celebrate life. If you are depressed and are thinking of committing suicide, please Click Here - You are a wonderful person, believe in yourself. Pain shall pass, life is beautiful, and it always goes on.
You are going to die on a Thursday night in the middle of November. You will be thirty-three years old and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it will be too soon. I mean, thirty-three? Can you imagine? Your life isn’t even half over at thirty-three. You’re barely out of college and married and your wife has a kid on the way. I know you always thought you didn’t want kids but, let me tell you, when she walks into the bedroom holding that home pregnancy test and crying because she’s so impossibly happy…knowing you helped make her that happy and that the person growing inside her is half yours…you’ll change your mind.
At thirty-three you will have gone to the college your dad wanted you to and graduated with the grades your mom wanted you to. Your little sister will be going on her fifth wedding anniversary and she will have four dogs. No surprise right? Your life will be everything you expect it to be at this point.
Because you never expected that. And why would you? At thirty-three, what could possibly happen? Well, let me tell you, drunk drivers don’t stop to ask how old you are and how much you’ve got to live for before they run a red light and t-bone you at two o’clock in the afternoon. They just don’t. If they did maybe you could talk them out of the driver’s seat and let them know that you’re on the way to the hospital because your wife just went into labor and you really really need to be there for her.
I’m just writing this because maybe if you know you’ll make some better choices (like pausing instead of slamming down on the gas the moment the light turns green). And maybe you’ll live past thirty-three and you won’t leave your wife and baby girl (you would have named her Olivia) alone to fend for themselves and your mom and dad wouldn’t be devastated and your little sister wouldn’t fall into such a deep depression without you that her marriage falls apart. I know you don’t want any of that.
Believe me, I know better than anyone.
Dear Shelly, Dom and Ben,
Hey kids. It’s about that time I guess. You know it’s been hard for me since your mother died, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t together. I guess I always thought I’d be the first to go. I kind of wish it had been that way, but that’s probably selfish of me. These last few months have been hell without her, and I wouldn’t have wanted her to go through that. I can feel my body failing me and, since I’ve probably never said the things to you kids that I should have, I wanted to be sure I told you now. That way you would know I thought it all the time:
Shelly- Darling, I’m so proud of you. The way you’ve stood up and taken charge the last few weeks, I know it hasn’t been easy. Always making sure everyone else is taken care of is a trait you share with your mother. But I watched her work herself into the ground too often baby, so you remember what she didn’t always. Take care of yourself too and sometimes it’s okay to let your guard down. You’ve got a good man in Tom, let him be there for you. Love you darling.
Dom- Boy, you’ve done everything I ever hoped for and more. I hope I didn’t push you too hard. I hope you enjoyed all the football games I hauled you too and playing catch and practicing in the backyard. They’re some of my favorite memories of you, boy. I sure am sorry I won’t get to see my newest grandchild here in a few months, but I know you’re ready to be a father and I can already tell you’ll be a far better one than I ever was. Learn from my mistakes, son. Remember nothing is more important than your family, and the best thing you can do for them is to be there for them.
Ben- I swear half the time I didn’t know if you were going backwards or forwards. But it seems like you always did, don’t it? Headstrong you were, and tough. I was always a little worried when you tried to keep up with your brother and his friends, them being so much older than you, but you always kept up, didn’t you son? Even when they made you do things you didn’t want to tell me about, you never once whined or complained. It’s like kind of strength and determination that I know will take you wherever you ant to go for the rest of your life. Don’t give up, boy. It’s not in your nature and it don’t look good on you. You can do anything you put your mind to, I believe that, so you should too. Be good boy. And be safe. Don’t you be worrying your mother and me once we’re gone.
I love you all equally and in your own way,
Hey dad. I know you are scared. I am scared for you, honestly. I know that I am going to miss you a lot but I can’t be selfish. Taking you off the machines will be challenging but I know it’s what you want. You’ve always made that known and the time has come for us to honor your wishes. My sisters are in hysterics, but they just do not get it. It is time to let go. You are not yourself if you are being held alive by these machines so in light of that I have some advice for you. Some of it may sound familiar.
Do not be afraid of the unknown. The greatest adventures happen to those unafraid to take the chance to see what is out there.
Trust in yourself. You are your best friend and worst enemy. Listen to yourself when have the drive to tell you to keep going. Ignore yourself when you hear yourself say that you can’t do something.
Trust in your loved ones. These people are in your life for a reason. We are a tight knit group and we can tackle anything. We will be ok, don’t be scared to let go because of us.
Dad, you have given us more than we can ever begin to show gratitude for. You have always been an amazing father and I thank you every day for making me the man I am. This is the hardest thing to say, but goodbye, dad.
I remember when you both were born. My strong son, you were an easy birth. You couldn’t wait to get out, could you? The doctor barely got into the room before you were ready to come out. I couldn’t have been more proud that you grew up as you did, my sweet. You have impressed me constantly; from being a fearless boy to the man you are today. I am so proud of you that you’ve come so far and to see you with your own family now makes my hear swell. It’s beautiful, my child. You are a great father. My only piece of advice is to remain patient. Children don’t always do what you want them to. Take it in stride because you did the same thing. And never forget to smile. They will fill your positivity and it will rub off on them. Bring up children that are positive and happy. The world is rough enough, add some light to it.
My dear daughter, your birth was much more difficult. You didn’t want to come out at all. Understandably comfortable, you tumbled out all tangled up. My other little daredevil, I am proud of you too. You’re a wonderfully artistic woman with a brilliant sense of humor. You’ve taught me a lot about myself. You taught me that sometimes not holding my tongue is ok. Sarcasm is indeed a wonderful tool. Finally, you taught me to stop myself before I get into a tizzy. Thank you my sweet. Never doubt yourself, you are smart and capable. You’ve proved to be tenacious. That and using your head will get you far
My children, you both know that I am not good with goodbyes. This illness has been rough on everyone and I just hope that as my time draws near you both are ok with it. I know it’s hard, but letting go will feel better than holding on. You both have incredible lives ahead of you. Live them. I will be with you always. I love you.
I want to leave you this letter for posterity so when you reach an age where you can comprehend the concept of death you will know the thoughts that I am leaving behind for you. As I write this, you are at the tender age of five years and simply do not have the maturity to grasp what death means. I know your mother will try to explain death as when someone goes to sleep, never wakes up and goes away never to return. I trust she has explained my passing so that you did not feel guilt or that you were the cause.
However, that is not what my final message to you concerns but rather my attempt to communicate to you on a more adult level since you and I will never be allowed to do so face to face. You are such a handsome boy, clever and athletic, and I have every hope and expectation that you will grow into a fine young man. It is one of the sharpest regrets that I take to the grave with me that I can’t be around to play my natural role as father in shaping your life and personality. I can only wonder at what will happen when you reach the milestones of your life: when you first learn to ride a bike, when you reach puberty, your first date, your high school (and perhaps college) graduation, your marriage, and your children. But I know your mother and I have built a firm foundation for you to reach your potential as an adult. I trust (indeed, at this point it is all I can do) that you will heed these admonitions to you that I leave behind: (1) Worship and respect Christ as your savior; (2) Love and honor your family, especially your mother and your wife; (3) Work hard and intelligently to reach the goals you have established for success; (4) Be charitable toward others, especially the less fortunate in life. One last thought – if you play and dawdle early in adulthood you will inevitably find yourself working hard toward the end whereas if you work hard early in life you will have built the requisite material comfort so you can “play” later.
I am uncertain at what age your mother will think that you are of an age to read and understand completely what I have to say to you; perhaps when you first reach your teen years, perhaps not until you become eighteen years old, or at some age in between. I think it more than likely that she will remarry after my death. She will choose carefully and I hope you respect and obey him as you would me. Other than my absence in your life I have done everything, in particular financially, I can think of for you to live as normal a life as possible. Please honor my memory by becoming an honorable man yourself. I love you, my son, and I hope to meet you again in God’s glorious kingdom.