Author writes heartbreaking letter to his 12-year-old self about overcoming grief

Sarah Young
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A children’s author has penned a heartbreaking letter to his 12-year-old self about coping with the loss of his father.

On Thursday, Bristol-based author Mark Lemon shared a series of photos on Instagram featuring sections of a letter he wrote to his younger self.

In the caption, Lemon explained that the letter was a “cathartic and difficult process” that made him realise how far he has come since his father died.

“My message to any child suffering with grief is to not give up and try and hold onto hope that life will bring positivity and good things,” Lemon wrote.

“The grief will never leave you, but there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

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The letter drew on Lemon’s childhood trauma and documented the series of events that unfolded following the murder of his father in 1992.

“Dear Mark (12yrs), It’s Monday 11th May 1992. I am writing this letter to let you know that tomorrow your life is going to change forever,” Lemon began the note.

“Nothing will prepare you for the grief and loss that you’re about to experience, but I want you to know that through this pain, you will go on to experience wonderful moments in your life.”

The author went on to explain how he was told to leave school urgently on 12 May 1992 to be greeted by police cars and the sound of his sister crying in the front room.

“At 3.20pm mum is going to tell you that dad has died,” Lemon wrote.

“The room will be filled with the most unimaginable pain and loss. Mum will keep saying that she doesn’t know what we are going to do, or how we are going to live without dad.”

Lemon continued to detail the emotions he felt upon hearing the news of his father death and how he had to come to terms with the fact that all the “fun things” he and his father did together had come to an end.

However, the 39-year-old also noted how his younger self somehow managed to “find the strength to carry on” and succeed in whatever he put his mind to.

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“You’re going to meet people that will inspire and support you. You’re going to sing on stage with a band, write children’s books, win awards, read to children in schools, write articles for newspapers, and speak publicly on the TV and radio about your loss,” Lemon wrote.

“You are going to use your grief to write a children’s story that will help children to understand their own grief. You will use your loss to help others.”

The author concluded the letter by reassuring his younger self that while the grief would never leave, he would learn to build a a life around it with the help of his now wife, Simone, and two children Otis and Thea.

“You are always going to miss dad, Mark, but this is a letter of hope from your future self to let you know that, you are going to be okay,” the note reads.

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“Learn to love, live and make the most of every moment along this journey we call life. Mark. (39yrs).”

Lemon has drawn upon his childhood trauma to write a children’s book called “The Magical Wood”, which is a story about loss, friendship and hope. The book was published on the 26th anniversary of his fathers death.

The father-of-two also hosts a podcast titled “Grief is my Superpower”, which aims to help young people and adults cope with loss, and launched his own book publishers, Lemon Drop Books, after noticing a lack of diversity in children’s literature.

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According to childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish, it is estimated that 45,000 children in the UK are bereaved every year, with more than 100 children bereaved every day.

Fore help, advice and guidance on supporting a bereaved child or young person, you can contact Winston’s Wish by calling 08088 020 021 or sending an email to