Whether written or spoken, words hold an amazing power when it comes to healing from a loss.
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
― William Shakespeare,
In other words: talk about it, and your heart heals.
I’m an introvert at heart, and for a long time I’ve been reserved about anything related to my husband’s death, and my own healing process. Now, two and a half years later, a strange need to talk about my grief has come over me.
In the Ted Talk, Against Grieving in Silence, Rachel Stephenson makes the point that grief needs to be heard. She tells her story of losing her mother at an early age, and how her father kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, to his own detriment. Her grief, though, motivated her to speak about it, and it helped her heal.
I finally get it.
If you’ve lost someone you love, you may find that talking about your loss, and the feelings you have, brings you some comfort. But if you aren’t ready to open up and say the words out loud, start with writing them down.
Translating an experience into words requires brainwork. When writing you are remembering details, choosing words, building a story, and ultimately constructing a coherent narrative. You are organizing the experience into a meaningful story, a packet of information that you can understand and integrate into your worldview. Once you gain clarity and come to peace with that experience, you can learn from it and move on.
Once you start the journaling process, and review your thoughts over a period of time, you will be able to see the healing process taking place.
I can definitely track my progress through the pages of my journal. If I review my early journal entries, I see a lot of sadness, haunted by guilt feelings, my brain trying to make some kind of sense of the tragedy. In the beginning, I struggled with guilt feelings, and the raw pain of losing someone to suicide. I was emphasizing to myself the idea that it was not my fault. In the end, I had no control over the decisions that he made.
My words weren’t necessarily pretty. Some were random thoughts, others were poems, or even songs.
But later, positive thoughts and feelings began to surface, and I am so glad they did.
I wouldn’t say that I have good days and bad days; I would say that I have good moments, normal moments, and sad moments. But now, there are fewer sad moments.
If you want a journal with guided prompts to help heal your heart, here are my picks from Amazon:
If you are interested in journaling, but you are worried about privacy, an online journal is a great choice. You can take it with you anywhere, and it is completely private and secure. LifeJournal has a couple of options, and they have a free trial if you want to try it out to see if it works for you.
Whether you write it or say it out loud, use your words to help you get through the process of grief and healing. We all need our grief to be validated.
If you’d like, share your story here, and be heard.