It is really hard for me to see any progress I made as I go through my grief journey. I’ve noticed for me that when I look back everything seems dark and hazy, but I notice I don’t think I feel much better than I did back at the very beginning stages. Something that helps me realize how far I’ve truly come is by reading the things I wrote back then.
When my mother first died, I was lucky enough to have been somehow motivated to keep a journal. I will admit that I wasn’t very good at it. I would write in it only if I felt like I had something to say, which certainly wasn’t every day, and I stopped after a few months. However, now I am so grateful for those few entries I wrote. Reading them reminded me of exactly where I was versus where I am now. It showed me that I really have come a long way!
I didn’t stop at just journaling. Especially the first year after her death, I was writing a lot of poetry. I noticed I had a lot of difficulty expressing myself when talking to my friends, but in a poem, I could somehow say everything. I currently facilitate a grief group specific to those who have lost someone to suicide, and I will sometimes read those poems. It seems to be a great help to those who are there because they can also finally hear what they have been feeling finally put into words. I have also written short stories and flash fiction to be able to get my feelings and thoughts out about what happened to me.
Whichever platform of writing works best for you, it might be helpful to remember a few things:
- Just do it – it might be hard to start, but it doesn’t have to be pretty (you can always erase, backspace, or re-write it on another sheet)
- Know that no one has to read it but you (sharing is optional)
- Be honest
- Not everything needs a word – you can get creative and draw or express yourself in other ways
- Make it meaningful to you
Grief is a really rough journey, and sometimes it can make you lose sight of where you’re going, but also where you’ve been. I would encourage anyone going through grief to consider writing in some format. It can be a series of word documents on your computer, an actual journal, an app, or even a (private) blog on Tumblr. As long as it feels right and works, that’s all that matters.