When young parents are dying, they face the loss of everything they know and hold dear. Arguably their greatest pain is losing the chance to raise their child(ren). To help such parents find hope in desperate times, I offer a suggestion:
"You can help your children prepare for and deal with their loss by creating a memento to leave behind." [from When a Parent has Cancer, p.96] In particular, I encourage parents to write letters designed to be opened at special occasions, such as birthdays and graduation days.
My belief in the healing power of parents' letters has been reinforced over the years by many real-life stories of loss and love.
To see how a letter can help parents and children heal, please take a moment to read a short essay by Stephen F. Duane, MD, of Park Nicollet Methodist Hospice Program: "What a Difference a Letter Can Make."