Writing the Apology I’ll Never Get

I wrote letters of remorse I’ll not get
From those who should have written me but won’t.
My first draft was raw and wrong as I let
My head hold the pen. Not my heart. Don’t
Ever stop once you begin because
The thing your soul needs to hear may hide
Behind what you think your soul felt when claws
Got too close and hurt you. Take your own side
And listen: What does your soul long to hear?
And if you can’t get what you want, what need
Asks for kind attention? Is there a tear
You need to witness? And if so, sweet
Relief may be found a ghosted letter.
Make it full-throated! You may feel better.
-Allegra Jordan, 2019

*Bessel van der Kolk’s tour de force The Body Keeps the Score devotes a chapter to a healing process called the Pesso-Boyden System Psychomotor. This process may help a person have their pain witnessed in a way that helps heal the body from that trauma, but does not involve the perpetrators of that pain. I sought to see if I could witness my own pain with a letter of apology from a person I’d never get a letter from. Sometimes it worked very well, but usually not with the first line of apology I wrote. Often I’d processed the big things, but some little things still riled me up. This exercise is also helpful to bring awareness to the ways you thought you were still angry but, once you start writing you thing, “This has zero emotional hold on me. Good to realize. Let’s move on.”