6 Ways To Say Goodbye When You Can't Do It Face-To-Face

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6 Ways To Say Goodbye When You Can't Do It Face-To-Face

When a traditional ending is no longer possible, there are powerful ways to create your own goodbye.

Healthy endings set us free. They let us get ready for the next relationship, the next job, the next wonderful adventure. Healthy endings don't have ragged edges, devoid of the chance to say what is in our hearts and what we need someone else to hear.

Sometimes we have to deal with the loss of a loved one. Jobs can come to a screeching halt without warning. Natural disasters wipe out towns, turning whole lives upside down. Sudden endings happen, leaving us with words unsaid and unheard.

RELATED: 15 Healthy Ways To Mourn (When Someone You Love Is Suddenly Gone)

Here's how to grieve, make your goodbye real and give yourself a healthier ending. The words will be said, the actions taken, and they will set the stage for your new beginning.

1. Create a quiet space for yourself.

Write a letter expressing all the love, the important statements, the unanswered questions and the big ideas that you wanted heard. Then, in your quiet space, read your letter out loud.

Listen to your voice and pay attention to your body as you read this important message. As you honor your words, respect for their message will settle around you and you will find some peace.

2. Transform a place of tragedy.

When my husband fell from a ladder at our home and died, the saddest place in my world was the bit of concrete that took his life. A most profound and powerful part of my goodbye happened when a friend offered to come to our home and bless the place where he died. We lit candles, played music, remembered the good times in that place, and embraced the beauty around it.

From that time on, I was free to walk out that door, down the walk and into the rest of the yard. What can you do that will help you transform the place of tragedy and let you move freely around it? Who will join you? When you take deliberate and loving actions in response to the sadness, it loses the power to hold you hostage.

RELATED: 7 Mistakes You Make When You're Trying To Get Past Your Breakup

3. Keep in contact.

If you have lost your job and were given no time to tell co-workers or even the place goodbye, take time to make contact with those former co-workers. Write them e-mails and tell them how much you valued knowing them, what you most remember about them and that you wish them well.

You may even want to meet the most special ones for coffee or a drink after work as a way of celebrating your friendship and finally getting to say goodbye.

4. Plant a tree in the spring, or bulbs in the fall.

Do something today that will be part of your future in a beautiful way. When you want to feel connection to what was lost, go and sit by your tree. When you need some hope, watch the tiny green shoots coming up where you planted the bulbs. They will remind you that the world also has beauty and you helped bring some of it into your life.

5. Create some kind of sacred place in your home.

This way you can honor what or who was lost. You can adorn it with flowers or put items there that bring a smile to your face. It will signal to you that what you lost was real and won’t be forgotten.

6. Remember that other people were affected by the sudden loss as well.

Reach out to them. Send them a card, write them a note, give them a phone call, invite them to your tree or be the listening ears for the words they need to say.

Breathe in the power you have to survive even the most difficult challenges and to start living again. Make this ending real, with nothing left undone and you'll be free to move on with your life.

RELATED: 25 Quotes To Help You Live Again, Even While You're Grieving

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Ruthann Reim McCaffree is a life transition counselor and coach who helps individuals manage change with confidence. She's also a change management consultant in the business world.