POSTAL SERVICE FOR THE DEAD
OR...Letters to someone you miss!
What is it?
Postal Service for the Dead is an ongoing, collective project where people send letters to anyone in their life who has died. This project has been inspired by PostSecret and is in the US run by the team at sleepysue.studio/postal-service-for-the-dead.
In the UK recently, a 9 year old had a vision of sending letters to lost loved ones to help cope with grief after the death of her grandparents. This was supported by a local crematorium in Nottingham and is now across the country in many similar venues as it has been so popular.
Liz Barka has been inspired to host a similar post-box service during the Grief Chat Café that has been running in her local village of Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire.
Sharing your thoughts/dreams/words of love or hurt through writing a letter, allows for a level of vulnerability and authenticity that we do not always allow ourselves. Sometimes those ‘tricky’ emotions when grieving the death of someone close to us, can be overwhelming – but in a letter or through creativity, they can be expressed in a safe and if wanted – anonymous way.
Birthdays, death days, anniversaries, holidays, or seemingly random days can all spark grief.
Writing letters to those who have died has always been a powerful tool.
A workshop run by Liz on letter writing is part of Fun Things To Do When You Are Dead on 13th May at Cambridge Crematorium, https://www.dyingforlife.co.uk/event2023may
as well as ongoing at the fortnightly Grief Chat Café sessions at Gamlingay Eco Hub.
Even if you can’t make any of those occasions, you are invited to write a letter that can help your healing journey. (even if you don’t send them to anyone – after, you can burn them, shred them and mix with wild flower seeds for the garden perhaps)
Not all grief looks the same and neither will the letters. You can submit a letter of gratitude for how they impacted your life or a list of grievances that you still hold towards them – use this space to say anything you wish.
Here's how it works:
ON the envelope you can choose how the contents are treated.
Option 1: Do not read. If you do not want our team to read your letter, please leave the back of the envelope blank.
Option 2: Read my letter but do not share. If you would like our team to read your letter but do not want the contents shared publicly, please mark the back of your envelope with a heart.
Option 3: You can open my letter and share. If you agree to having the content of the envelope shared in an anonymous and creative way, through a collective art work - please include a star on the backside of your envelope. We invite you to write freely and any mentioned names will be censored for anonymity before sharing.
By sharing the letters, we hope to normalize the full range of emotions and experiences that go alongside death, dying, and grieving.
Not sure what to write?
Draw a picture
Tell them about your day/week/year.
Need a little structure? Write a poem or a haiku (5-7-5 syllables) that reminds you of your person. Think about the way they smelled, how they spoke, or their favourite food.
Write down any words that come to mind.