Our attachment to those we love is so strong that when we lose a loved one we are thrown into the gut wrenching pain of grief as that physical attachment is severed, often abruptly – we are cast adrift, despairing and desolate. When I consider my personal journey of grieving, the greatest aid to my own healing has been finding an ongoing connection, a way to continue my relationship, albeit in a very different way. Maintaining some form of connection is critical to our ability to adjust and adapt to our loss. I call ‘connections’ buddies through the wildlands (of grief). They allow us to form a regular ritual in our lives giving us a structure for our grieving and set up opportunties to start healing. There are many ways to connect, here I share just one of them with you.
I’ve always loved words so it seemed a natural progression that I would be drawn to journal writing. A journal can be small, large, new or old. An exercise book or a beautiful treasure – it’s the process that matters, not the vessel we use. The main thing is to write. Ive had many now over the years, some very beautiful, some very basic but I wrote in them all, filled every page. I wrote of the missing, the love, the sorrow, my strangely altered life and the doubt in my ability to get through this new life. I wrote of my courage, of moments of grace, of family occasions and life changes. I wrote my feelings out, all of them, the sadness, anger and injustice tumbled out onto the paper and along with it went the daily events that were shaping my new life.
When I started writing, I did it to connect, to maintain that bond but what I discovered was that writing was serving two purposes. Not only was I establishing a new ritual of regular connection but I was expressing my feelings, something that became absolutely paramount in my healing. I was letting it all out. Now when I look back on those entries I see where I have been, I see how over time the entries have become less frequent, the messages less peppered with rage, more accepting and now hopeful.
My life has changed totally, I was not what I once was and writing has been massive in processing my grief and allowing me to heal. It has also been one of the ways I choose to keep the relationship with my son an integral part of my life.