Sometimes, loss is hard to process. Sometimes, there are so many emotions, we don’t know how to begin to express what’s happening on our grief journey. Sometimes, the words just don’t come.  Journaling is often very helpful in processing our grief. But that blank page can be a little bit intimidating if you have never kept a journal before.

Journaling is a wonderful tool for exploring your grief and other emotions. It helps us be more aware of our own emotions.  When we take the time to write something, we have to slow down and focus on our thoughts and feelings. It can give us an opportunity to reflect on and better understand our own behaviors, emotions, actions, and moods. When you write about things bothering you, you’re able to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at the situation from a different perspective.

I come from a long line of “non-journalers”! I know some people that have journaled all of their lives. Those empty pages often intimidate me. I need a little push to get those juices flowing. Here are a few open-ended statements to give you that little push to put your thoughts to paper:

  1. When I’m alone…
  2. It surprises me…
  3. It’s still hard to…
  4. Something I’ll always remember…
  5. A funny memory is…
  6. I’ve been feeling…
  7. I feel the loss when…
  8. I’m looking forward to…
  9. I really miss…

As time goes by, reread your past journal entries. How have things changed for you? Have you been able to continue to move forward in your grief journey? Do your past reflections include entries on imagining a time when it wouldn’t hurt so much?

Journaling will allow you to see your grief as it is now, provide a glance at the past, and allow you to take a glimpse into the future.

By Maria Farrell, Director of GriefWork: A National Servite Ministry of Compassion
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