November 5, 2014
Day 365: One year ago, I started a grief journal to remember and celebrate a family member who passed away. At first, I had no thoughts of my own and only wrote out quotes that I wanted desperately to believe and live out. This is the first quote I have written, and it became the main storyline and goal of my journal:
"Every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper." - Henri Nouwen
For me, journaling has been a large part of the self-care and healing process of filling in the void that was left behind. Having something written down to hold me accountable has been helpful, especially since bereavement is a personal (and often lonely) journey. There are no rules in journaling: no word counts, no time limits, no need to justify or even know where you are in your journey. There may be days when you don’t have anything to jot down and others when nonsensical words come streaming out. This is your journal and your story, and it is okay.
I call it “journaling" and not “writing”, because sometimes there simply aren’t words to express how we feel. Somewhere along the path, I learnt how to draw and the pages exploded with color. I have an envelope at the back with photographs, dried flower petals, notes with their handwriting, cards from friends - items that make me smile when I remember the uniqueness and beauty of those little moments. Journaling can be a helpful activity in freeing the mind from the fear of forgetting details of the person you loved. I’ve found that the more I document, the more I am willing to allow myself to explore new thoughts.
If you’re looking for additional support to walk through this difficult path, this is a great resource with daily emails that provide comfort, compassion, and suggestions for creative and healthy outflows of emotion. And as I discovered later on in the spring, connecting with a listener can really lift a huge burden as well and guide you along the path towards something new, wider, and deeper.
By 7 Cups Mentor: Jadie
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