Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing At Times Of Grief

A writer I know recently lost her best friend to cancer. The journey proved to be long and difficult for all concerned. The writer wrote about the death and her reaction to it. She wrote from her heart, allowed the emotion to come through, and ended up with a very strong personal essay. She plans to send it to a newspaper in the large city where she lives. I have no doubts that it will be published. The writer did two things by putting her feelings into print. She eased her own grief and reached out to others going through similar situations.

It's not necessary to be a professional writer to write about your feelings. I'm not proposing that this will make everything wonderful again after a tragedy or a heartbreaking event. Of course, it won't wipe away your hurting feelings.. But it could very well ease them. It might be a first step to healing.

I had four children in the early years of my marriage, but the first and third died as infants. I wanted to write about it. My aim then was to share with other parents who faced the same anguishing situation. But I absolutely could not do it in the early days. Sadly, I ended up waiting 30 years to write about it, and when I did, something hard and black inside me eased. I found a release for the grief I had not been able to let go completely. Oh sure, I'd moved on, raised my two surviving children and enjoyed my life. Still, the ache, even though the edges had dulled, was still with me. After the first story, I've written several others about those losses and many have been published. Besides helping myself, I hope I've been able to help others who have lost a child. I only wish I had not waited so long. Sooner is definitely better.

Professional writers probably think about writing at times of mourning more than the non-writer does, but it can help everyone to put their feelings on paper. Write it with paper and pencil or on your computer. It doesn't matter. Start freewriting and let the words come from your heart. Even if you never show it to another person, it may help you work through your grief. As I said above, it is not the sure cure, but it's a helpful step along the process of grieving.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I have written about my mother's death. It isn't something I've shared with anyone and may never, but I believe it helped me to get those feelings out. Excellent advice.