Friday, March 23 , 2018, 12:22 pm | Fair 59º


Danny Tyree: Are You Dying To Write A Goodbye Letter?

In my spare moments, I’m jotting down ideas for my raw-yet-funny memoirs (“like”​ my Facebook page"Tyree’s Tyrades” for updates on that and other book projects), so I was intrigued when I saw a Washington Post article by VJ Periyakoil M.D.

Periyakoil is the director of the Stanford Palliative Care Education & Training Project and founder of the Stanford Friends and Family Letter Project.

The project encourages people to write a last letter to their loved ones, offering a mixture of “I love you,” apologies, treasured memories and gestures of forgiveness. They’ve even developed a letter template to make it easier.

Certainly terminally ill people would derive peace of mind from this, but it’s also a great opportunity for people who are still healthy.

(In addition to the “sick” template and “healthy” template, someone will inevitably add the “fair to middling” template.)

It’s good that we mortals have a deadline for saying all the things that need to be said. If we were still communicating from the Other Side, the missives would probably degenerate into something like those sickeningly upbeat Christmas letters. (“Getting a great tan here. George is sorry the rest of you can’t be stabbed with a pitchfork through eternity ...”)

The letters give a chance to state how proud you are of your children and grandchildren, although there will always be a suspicion of the compliments being forced. (“I’ve never told you how proud I am of you. But if I have an out-of-body experience in the ER, I just know I’ll overhear the doctors saying, ‘I wish MY kid would invest eight years in an underwater basket-weaving major.’”)

Granted, even the template may not be enough to help the more macho types share their feelings. (“I’d like to tell each of you how much you mean to me — but if I did, I’d have to kill you.”)

Some people won’t be able to stop once they start apologizing. (“I apologize for my emotional distance and being the strong, silent type. I apologize that my flatulence was of the same nature. I apologize to Rover for blaming him for the flatulence. I apologize to everyone else because Rover was really Rover II, because I ran over Rover and secretly found a look-alike at the pound ...”)

Some individuals are hesitant to write a farewell letter because they fear it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. These superstitious ninnies would probably write something like “I was going to attend all your ballet recitals, but this black cat crossed my path once.”

Watch for someone to monetize the project and offer to sell upgrades to the basic template. (“Sure, your dad could settle for the free confessions; but for an extra $75, we’ll send a drone to eliminate all those half-siblings you didn’t know about.”)

Most people will choose to have the letters released after their deaths (at the funeral, at the reading of the will, etc.), but others will opt to share them while they’re still alive and kicking and can provide valuable information. (“Here’s where to steal an EpiPen and DELAY my demise ...”)

Alas, the letters may never catch on with certain politicians. (“No, can’t think of anything I really regret. Accidentally wiping Sweden off the map comes close, I guess. Ya gotta admit, once the radioactivity dies down, it’ll make a heck of a golf course.”)

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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