Drumming, becoming more spiritual, and Reiki all helped me heal from the grief of losing my husband. The last thing I will share that helped me is journaling. It’s a very simple, yet powerful way to get the pent up anger, frustrations, and sadness onto paper and out of your system.
Way back in my childhood I learned about the power of journaling. When I started (probably around the age of 11 or 12) I was going through a loss too — this time of a good friend. I felt very betrayed at this time. We were best friends and then we weren’t. I had no idea what I did or didn’t do to cause this friendship to end. I began writing about it and it really helped. I went through many pages and lots of tissues, but it helped me get out all the gunk floating around in my head. I still have those journals and it’s so interesting to see what I wrote and what I was feeling so long ago. I continued writing in my journal throughout high school and it helped me get over the loss of a boyfriend that devastated me as it does most teenage girls. I even started writing poetry in my journal and that was very cathartic as well.
In my early 20s through my mid thirties, I didn’t journal much. I was happy, married to the love my life, and I didn’t feel it was necessary. I always saw journaling as a way to move through difficult emotions, not to record happy times. We both journaled, however, during our 6 month tour around the US, mainly to document all the places and experiences so we wouldn’t forget them. Looking back, I am so glad I did that. I have reread both of our journals and found them to be a fascinating read. There is no way you can remember everything years later, so journaling helped me to capture and remember all the little nuances of the trip that I certainly would have forgotten otherwise.
Sometime in my late 30s I started journaling again. I wanted to document how I was feeling as we attended festivals and live music shows. However, long periods of time would go by between writings. It always took a lot of effort on my part to pick up a pen and put it to paper. Once I got writing, I enjoyed it, but it was always hard to get started.
All my journals through the years
After Randy’s passing I began to realize there was so much I wanted to talk to him about. So many things I needed to say. I found journaling the perfect place to do this. One of the most healing things I did was to write him letters. I wrote him many, many letters. I counted them recently and it turns out I wrote him around 30 letters. I always did so on his birthday and our anniversary. I would write after I had a dream with him in it. These were rare for me so I wanted to document them quickly after I woke up so that I could remember them. As I go back now and read them I am so glad I wrote them down in the moment. I would never be able to recall them now. As a side note, I also wrote letters to my dogs that passed. It just helps to tell them what you need to tell them even if they can’t respond. It is a very healing thing to do.
Sitting down with a blank journal or piece of paper can be daunting, but just start writing. You don’t need to plan anything — just write. Even if you just write random words to convey what you are thinking about, do that. It is a start. Eventually the words will form into sentences and you will be writing freely and easily. At the very least, you can try this. At the beginning and end of the day, record at least one thing you are grateful for and why. Try to mix it up so that you don’t say the same thing each day. Pretty soon the pen and paper will become an old friend and you will look forward to the time you spend together. After you have written a while, go back and read what you wrote. Then take a moment to write and reflect on what you read.
When you are comfortable with that, start writing letters to whomever you need to talk to –be they alive or dead. Remember, no one will see this besides you. It does not need to be perfect. I would also pay attention to how you feel before and after you write in your journal. I often felt lighter and my mind was clearer. There are many health benefits to journaling. CLICK HERE to read an article about it.
This concludes my posts about how I dealt with grief. I hope that at least one person found my series of articles helpful. If you did, I would love to hear your comments below. I wish you healing and positive energies for all your days to come.
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