Friday, August 5, 2011

Emotions in grief writing

If you came to my workshop last Saturday, you participated in talking about emotions that come out of writing. I stress these emotions because as writers, sometimes the feelings that surface surprise us. We wish to deny them because they can crop up as ugly or unpleasant. I want you to know that you are normal. Yes, it's normal to feel the following when you are dealing with life's losses---denial, shock, weakness, guilt, and irritability, among others.

An illustration of what we experience as grievers is the The Grief Wheel, pictured here. This image, showing our emotions due to loss as a wheel, is symbolic. By using a wheel, we see that our emotions are not linear, they circle. We might feel we've finished with regret or sleeplessness only to have them reoccur months or years down the road. We might spend weeks dealing with anger or loss of appetite. My advice to you about your emotions is: Take your time, don't rush.

As you write out your feelings in a journal or through my Writing the Heartache Online Workshop, above all, be gentle to yourself. Don't judge or criticize (plenty of others around you are probably doing that). Freely and honestly write and as you release your thoughts onto paper, do not fear the emotions that may catch you off guard. Make time to cry. Allow for puffy eyes; just avoid mirrors for a day.

Set out on a walk. Exercise helps your body move and your mind to unclog. Try to walk at a nice park or garden. Take in the beauty. Carry a notepad and pen in case you are gifted with words for a song or a poem. Walking can get the creative juices flowing.

Continue to make writing out your pain (and joys) part of your weekly life. After thirty days, hopefully, writing through your heartache will be a wonderful new habit! And keep the Grief Wheel on hand so that you can be reminded that your emotions are normal.


  1. I hope this helps many who write through grief.

  2. Alice,

    I'm glad I stopped by. I think this is a great site. I use writing to share my feelings about my dad's illness.