“Grief is love not wanting to let go.”
–Earl Grollman, Living with Loss
Lately I’ve been thinking about the therapeutic effects of writing about grief. Studies have shown that putting one’s struggle on paper can give us new insights and perspectives that help us heal. When growth is stagnant, writing may help us get moving, transporting us out of the dark night and into the bright morning sunlight.
The other day I led a class on this topic. Participants gathered in a quiet, safe place with their journals. We began by sitting a few moments in silence, allowing ourselves to “settle in” and connect with our inner selves. Then I gave them certain “prompts” to help them get started. After an hour or so, participants shared something of their writing. Their comments enriched all of us. There is much richness in group wisdom.
Working with images is one way to get us started writing about our grief. Images help us gain clarity on our feelings and perspective. In fact, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung once said that we think first in images and then add words. Here are some images of grief that I’ve gathered along the way from people like you and me who’ve experienced loss (and who has not?). Read over these images to see if you resonate with any of them. Is there one you’d like to use for your own writing? Grief is:
A wilderness experience
A long winding valley (C.S. Lewis)
A dark cloud
A Hero’s journey
Or do you have a personal image that comes to mind?
Would you like to share it?