The grieving process is different for everyone. Losing a loved one is a very painful and personal experience, and you may feel a whole range of emotions, from denial and anger to loneliness and depression.
You might deal with your loss in a completely different way than your brother or mother or spouse, and it can often be hard to talk about how you feel. There is no immediate or magical cure for grief, but writing in a grief journal helps you process your feelings and express yourself in a safe, nonjudgmental place. Use journal therapy to write what might be too difficult to say to other people right now.
Starting today, just begin writing. It may be painful or frustrating at first, but give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time with your journal and see what you come up with. If you don’t finish the exercise in one sitting, come back tomorrow and give yourself another hour.
Grief Journal Exercise #1
1. Think back on the most vivid memories you have of the person you lost. To spark your memory, you can flip through old photo albums or journal. Choose one of these stories to focus on, close your eyes and try to remember it in detail. Relive the memory in your mind, and then use these questions to write about the experience:
• Where were you?
• What were you doing?
• What were you wearing?
• Who else was there?
• What smells, sounds and sights do you remember about the scene?
• What were your emotions at the time? What emotions do you feel now, looking back on this memory?
• Why is this particular story significant to the relationship you had with your loved one?
2. Find a visual representation of this story. If you have a photo taken that day, paste it into your journal. If not, look through old magazines to find an image that represents your feelings about your memory. You can also make a collage on a page in your journal of many images and words that express your emotions toward this story. Take your time and choose images that mean something to you.
You’ve just taken a big step forward by writing the first entry in your grief journal. Feel free to share observations or advice in the comments below.