Keeping a grief journal

photo by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

Dear comrades, writing this column every week has helped us talk about our grief. To us, it is like writing in a journal since it chronicles our feelings, our joys and pains, wants, hopes, and dreams.
Do you ever keep a journal?
When a person has become bereaved, the grief that they are bearing may be so painful to talk about with others that they keep it bottled up inside. For us it is still very difficult to put forth in spoken word – the emotions, the flashbacks, the feelings of utter heartbrokenness are still there. Time has passed but even time cannot erode our griefborn love.
Time has the power to change things. It transforms, corrodes, grinds into dust. Yet it has no sway over this steadfast grief that is here to stay. Love is longsuffering, enduring, and bears all.
What we do talk about are the wonderful memories, the fun times we did stuff, the many significant happenings that we went through together and we talk about them often – even as soon as they pop into our minds. And even before our tragedy, we did this same very exact thing.
Sharing these memories reinforces them, strengthens the past of our togetherness, and keeps the thoughts sharp and clear. Writing down these memories in a journal or diary will preserve them for ages to come.
When a person is harboring feelings of deep sadness and cannot release them in some nondestructive way, writing them down is an option. Holding it in is not a good way to be. You can write down your feelings without fear of judgment and you can pour out all your experiences and sorrows. You can also say who you are writing them to – to God to whom you can pour out all your woes, to your loved ones who have passed on, to your children, your future descendants.
It would be like you are speaking to them because the words are your own.
When we were in elementary school and all throughout junior high and high school, we were taught to write daily into our journals. Do you remember those? When you look back through them, it is like a trip back to memory lane. It can evoke strong feelings of nostalgia. You can also see yourself and what you were like back then on that day. You can look at your handwriting and see how it has evolved into what you write like now.
Throughout our grief suffering, sometimes a thought will come upon us that we would like to not forget. That is a good time to write an entry into your journal, to record that insight so that you can remember what it is that you thought of.
If you know of someone who is struggling with bereavement grief, or Complicated Grief, a gift of a diary or a small journal booklet is very thoughtful. You can tell them to write whatever is upon their heart because you love and care for them so very much.
Thank you, we are comrades together and forever in this struggle to continue on, to reach that goal of ours that we so yearn for.