"Dear Me" to 17 year old Meredith

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a future ahead..

The following letter came to us from Meredith.


Dear Seventeen-year-old Meredith,

This is you in 2018. I would tell you that this is similar to how Dwight got faxes from himself in the future, but you haven’t started watching The Office yet.

This is me reaching out (or back) to you to give you a heads up on grief. Yes, you have grieved the losses of most of your grandparents by now. You got through that by doing temporary crazy things to your hair.

If you’re reading this, then I am assuming that May 25th, 2008 has already passed… and you are hurting. Bad.

Right now, things suck. You are probably still finding glass in your feet and hands from the accident (it’s going to take about a month for the stinging in your feet and hands to stop.) You might have gone back to school to finish up the year. If you are back at school, you have probably started skipping History because the teacher called you out for crying in class.

You have probably also experienced the stares from others that want to know more about what happened. You have also received more hugs than you are physically comfortable with (yes we still hate hugs in the future). Also, I know you are consistently thinking “why wasn’t it me” and are replaying that moment of her calling “shot gun” before getting in the car over and over.

You have also heard people say that they wish it was you instead of her, and that only makes the guilt worse.

I want to tell you that you are going to get through this. And I’m going to tell you how.

Music saves your life. You will be turning 18, and it will open so many possibilities. You are going to get an offer that you will not want to turn down. I won’t give any spoilers, but it involves you traveling away from that gossipy town, and hanging with your music idols for an entire Summer. This is going to save your life, so DO IT. Yes, mom and dad are on board with a lot of persuasion. I would also advise staying off Facebook and Myspace, plus you will be too busy to check anyways.

I also want to give you a heads up on things that are going to suck. History isn’t going to get better. Talk to mom and your advisory counselor and make arrangements to take the final early.

Also, the “mandatory grief counseling” at school is awful. It’s going to turn into a talk show where you are interviewed by everyone asking what happened. You will probably say some really profane things towards one specific person…. Worth it. The good news is that your advisory counselor gets you out of that situation fast.

Also, no one is willing to cover your shifts at work. You will cry at work often, so do yourself a favor and invest in waterproof makeup and carry tissues in your apron. Your GM finally sees how this is affecting you, and will let you go on leave.

Your car rides in the morning have also added 20 minutes to your commute time to school. This is so so crucial. Any time you drive by the crash site, you can’t breathe. So take the extra 20 minutes to take the back way to school and to work.

I hope you listen to you, and do these things. It’s going to suck for a long time. I can’t really give you a time of when things seemed better, but I can tell you that there were many good days.

You enjoy the big school events, you go to college, and you use this experience to help you when other rough situations come up.

Now in 2018, it’s been 10 years since they died. You are compassionate towards their families, and send flowers every year. You go into a career that you probably never imagined that you would do, and you love it. There are still days when it hurts, but you will have ways of taking care of yourself when things get hard. For now, go easy on yourself and stop listening to what other people say.

You’re going to get through this, and things will be okay.

-Meredith

"Dear Me" to 12 year old Brennan Wood

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead..

The following letter came to us from Brennan Wood of The Dougy Center.


 

Dear 12-year-old-Brennan,

My heart hurts that this has happened to you. Not just your mom dying but all the chaos that is happening in the aftermath of this awful fact. I want you know how strong you are and, even though it might not feel like it in this moment, you will survive this. In fact, one day these exact events will inspire you to a career that helps other kids just like you. This career will somehow help you travel back in time to smooth out all the rough edges that you are feeling right now. It will feel like magic and comfort and hard work all rolled up into one.

There are a few things that I want you to know that might help you over the next 30 years.

I know that you feel like you are in the middle of an unrelenting storm, bobbing up and down in the ocean. Waves are crashing over you from all directions. Hold on. These waves will get easier to manage, I promise. The storm will lessen. You will learn to swim with the current. One day you will be walking on the shore with the waves calmly lapping at your ankles. You will always remember what it felt like to be gasping for breath in the storm – it will never go away completely – but it will get so much easier. I promise.

Hold onto the memories. There will be people who say, “you have to get over it” or that “you need to move on.” Don’t listen to them. Talk to the people who ask you about your mom – who aren’t afraid to use her name. Talk to the people who loved your mom and listen to their stories. Hold onto the memories of the Sears photo session of your Cabbage Patch Kid, the Halloween costumes, playing in mud puddles during a warm rain. Your mother taught you the art of making everyday a celebration – and you will try like hell to pass this down to your own kids – hold onto that during the hard times.

When you feel your heart breaking today, remember to let it break open. To let the beauty, joy and love that you have in your heart spill out and engulf you in light. Your life has had too much heartbreak, don’t deny this but instead recognize that it is this very fact that has added to the breadth and depth of who you are as a person. Part of your beauty will come from the hard times that you have experienced. Just for a moment each day, be grateful for that fact and try as often as possible to live in your life and not in your story.

Always hold as much compassion for yourself as you hold for others. (At least try. This one might take some time.)

I love you and I am so proud of you,
43-year-old-Brennan