Journaling through Grief

Author - Mari L. McCarthy
Published - August 14, 2013

by Elizabeth Welles

Journal through griefGive sorrow words.
The grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break.
~William Shakespeare~

Grief is grief and loss is loss. Whether you have lost a loved one, whether you are between jobs, whether you have lost your health, your wealth, your sense of purpose, or are grieving the devastation of war, no matter the degree of your pain, it still hurts.

I tell the people in my classes to write. I tell them the blank empty page is like a non-judgmental all-loving God or Goddess, able to hear your every word, thought, feeling and prayer. Capable of turning tears into strength, sadness into laughter, sorrows to joy. For when you write, recovery time is reduced and healing is quickened.

It’s a huge emotion, this grief that touches every life on the planet. How we grieve and what we grieve is quite personal. Just recently, tears streamed down my face as I wrote about old buried sorrows and watching my mother age. Writing helps because grief is an emotion that needs witness in order to heal, while holding grief inside close to one’s heart, without a witness, keeps you locked in isolation and “whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break.”

Giving witness provides you with a way to release sorrow, worry and fears. While it is helpful to find someone who hears you deeply, who sees you in your grief with total acceptance and love, this may not always be available when you need it.

However, the blank empty page is ever available. It is a safe and sacred space where you can freely express yourself to find perspective, wisdom and compassion for any situation. And when you write, you can touch a Presence larger than yourself. This Presence may be your own wisdom-self, your soul, a spiritual presence, or some combination of them all. Whatever it is, this loving Presence witnesses and heals through the written word.

One form of journal writing is letter writing. This can be a powerful tool for self-expression. You can write a letter to your grief, to your stressors, your anger or disappointments, to yourself or an aspect of yourself, or to a loved who has one passed on.

When a client came to me, still grieving her father who had died years before, I had her write a letter to him. Then I had her father answer her in a letter. How? It’s simple. You imagine your loved one sitting beside you and speaking. You listen and write down their words. Let them speak from their loving Self.

This nurturing practice eased the client through a period of delayed grief. Additionally, it helped heal the relationship to her father, even though he was no longer in the body. Finally, it freed her to move fluidly and joyfully in her present life. Doing this on special occasions or even over a period of years brings comfort, love, insight, and healing.

Don't be concerned if your writing feels uncomfortable at first. Your written words hold seeds of brilliance for what ails you. Your written words contain access points for healing loss and finding joy. When you spill raw aching heartache out of the page—and out of your body—you lay the burden down and write your way to freedom. You change from the inside out. Through acceptance you heal.

Journaling helps you see your way out of the darkness. It helps you recover your sense of peace, your sense of purpose, and your well-being. In journaling you do not die with your feelings of loss. Rather, they are slowly they are transformed so that something beautiful may grow from your pain.

That’s the way writing often starts, a disaster or a catastrophe of some sort, as happened to me… And I think that’s the basis for my continued interest in writing, because by writing I rescue myself under all sorts of conditions, whatever it may be that has upset me, then I can write and it relieves the feeling of distress.
~William Carlos Williams~


Elizabeth WellesElizabeth Welles is an authority in the field of journaling. She is the author of the book, Journaling for Well-Being & Peace, the editor of the book, Women Celebrate: The Gift in Every Moment, and is the creator of the CD, Meditation for Relaxation. While writing is the hub of Elizabeth's wheel, that wheel has many spokes. As a performer, she travels with her one-woman shows: "Speak the Lands of My Heart," about a journey to India, and 
"Water from the Welles," original stories, monologues, poetry and song. As a visual artist, she works with photomontage, creating luminous images. An artist with the tools of healing, Elizabeth loves working with individuals and groups, in teleseminars and workshops. She is a creativity jump-starter encouraging people the world over to explore their unique genius and follow the current of their own intuitive voices.

To contact Elizabeth or for information, please visit: To see Elizabeth’s art, visit: Elizabeth on Facebook.

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