Blogtalk: Journaling About Loss and Grief 4

GRIEF has been one of the themes of my life (and therefore my journal writing) during these last few years due to the loss of several of my family members — my mother and two of my brothers, among others. And one of the things I notice about grief is that it never really goes away. Rather, over time it integrates with an entire life experience, spreading out so that it isn’t felt quite as sharply as it once was, more like a dull ache. But I also notice that each time I suffer a significant loss, it triggers and awakens the aggregate grief of my life experience.

I was reminded of this aspect of sorrow today when I read Judy Miller’s post, “Loss: The Well of Grief” (unfortunately, the post is no longer available on the web).  Judy wrote about the grief of losing one’s parents at an early age and how that affects adopted children throughout their lives. I recognized the truth of her words, because I also have an adopted daughter who, though happy and bonded to me and the rest of our family, bears the emotional scars of her loss, suffered so young she has no memory of it. And I think that any of us who lose parents, whether through divorce, adoption, death, or other reason are troubled by constant questioning. What if that had never happened? What if I had known my biological mother/father? What if I hadn’t lost my brother/sister? What if …? How would my life be different if …?

I know from personal experience that journaling about and through feelings of grief and loss (once we’re old enough to articulate them) is one of the best ways to reconcile oneself with the — dare I say it? — yes, gifts that loss brings with it. For each of us, those gifts may be different. For me, grief has brought measures of compassion, of grace, and temperance. There is an old saying that without sorrow there is no true joy. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I can say that the depth and breadth of my joy and gratitude is in direct proportion to the depth and breadth of the grief I have lived (and do live) through. And I’m not sure that I would be as aware of this if I had not been able to explore, in some fashion, the depth of both joy and sorrow through journal writing.

So, if you’re experiencing loss and grief, or sorrow from your past keeps getting triggered, I encourage you to bring your thoughts and feelings to pen and paper (or whatever you like to write/draw with), explore what happened and its impact on your life, what its gifts might be for you personally, and how you can nurture those gifts into the future.


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4 thoughts on “Blogtalk: Journaling About Loss and Grief

  • Eden

    What a painful subject to talk about and you did it with CLASS! I have suffered many losses in my life but my most painful one is losing my mother when i was just 19. Yep, if it wasn’t for my journal then and now, I would not be able to even see that there is something of worth to take from or out of that pain. It sure changes your perspective and promotes compassion that’s for sure.

  • WysWoods

    Thank you for this site. I am a facilitator/ minister for a class that includes ministering to the sick , chronically ill and those who are traveling the journey on the paths of grief. I have found journaling as a God given release and relief valve and will use this site as one of my resources.

  • Amber Lea Starfire

    Eden and WysWoods, thank you for your compliments, comments, and encouragement. I hope that you continue to be inspired by the posts here, and of course you are welcome to use any of the journaling prompts on this site for your own journal writing or in a group. We are a community and, as such, we have a lot of wisdom to share with one another.

  • Susan Godwin

    Thank you for this wonderful prompt! Writing about grief, for me, is extremely cathartic. The question you pose as to the most beautiful aspect of grief truly revealed an incredible insight I hadn’t recognized until now. It is an acknowledgement of an appreciation of a reciprocal exchange of unconditional love that surpasses the most profound of all emotions experienced in our lives; in my conviction!