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Writing to Grieve the Loss of a Loved One

Joined: 2/6/2016
Posts: 1
The loss of a loved one can be heartbreaking, and it is so important for our loved one, and for us, that we complete the grieving process from beginning to end. Writing about our relationship with them is one of the most effective ways to grieve, and while it make take months or years, it leads us to the point where we are ready to move on with our lives while maintaining the love we will always have for the one we’ve lost. In addition, and if appropriate, we can also pass along our writing to others.

This writing-to-grieve process moves from selecting memories we want to write about, through drafting, sharing, and revising—and for those who are interested—into sharing our writing with others and even publication.

The first step is to jot down as many things as you can remember. Feel free to consult things that might trigger memories, such as journals, letters, objects such as jewelry, photo albums, etc. Be careful, because some of these otherwise innocent objects can prompt powerful recollections.

Then select one item and on a fresh sheet of paper or a new file on your computer, write whatever comes to mind. Your only job with this is to place the words on the page. You want to walk away from your writing with a sense of satisfaction that you have told the story of that one event. This stage may go on for several days, weeks, or even months.

When you have reached a point where you have written down most of what you want to say, stand back and decide what order you want to place these pieces in.

By now you are ready to read some of your pieces to a friend or even a response group. Let them know that what you are reading to them is a first draft and that you’re interested in what they think and feel, and as your group makes comments, remember to listen and jot down their comments so that you will remember them.

The next stage is revision where you may want to connect a personal memory to a current event, show rather than tell so that your reader will experience the very thing you experienced, add dialogue, action, and detail to bring your writing alive, and if necessary interview people if you are not able to remember something.

If you want to publish anything you’ve written, set deadlines that you will have to meet and get in touch with someone who will hold you accountable. Then get a copy of Writer’s Market, read the introductory articles, look through the sections that pertain to your memoir, and familiarize yourself with the kinds of writing the current editors publish. You may have a piece that would best fit in a magazine, or you may have written a book.

Above all, write to grieve so that you can live your life in the present.

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