Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writing To Heal

One of my critique group members lost her husband about a month ago. Only a year earlier, he'd been diagnosed with lung cancer. Surprising since he'd never smoked. She was completely devastated dealing with the unexpected loss.

Today, she wrote to our group saying that these have been some of the darkest days she's ever known, but there are glimmers of light here and there. The outpouring of love and kindness of others has helped. She's been working on a mystery novel for some time, and her four adult sons have urged her to get back to writing. They reminded her that it was their father's wish that she finish the novel. And so, she has returned to the group to have the novel critiqued, chapter by chapter.

I was very pleased that she is writing again. It can be a part of the healing process. No, she isn't going to be writing immediately about her husband and all that occurred, but someday she might. Even writing this novel will help. It will give her a focus point, something that requires her mind to be clear of other matters, and it can bring her slowly back to her more normal world again.

Grief counselors often encourage those dealing with a loss to write about it. Or to write about anything that comes to mind. I don't know what it is about putting the thoughts in our minds into print that acts as a soothing balm, but it does seem to help. Not overnight, but slowly and surely. What is written may never be seen by others. It might be for the person who is dealing with grief and nobody else.

Then again, they might end up publishing what they wrote to help others heal. There are many books that contain personal stories from those who have endured a tragedy of some kind. Reading about how others have handled a loss can be beneficial by making the widow or widower feel not quite so alone.

No matter what the problem might be, I truly believe writing about it can aid in the healing process.

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