Living through the seasons of grief.
Last week I shared some ideas about the positive impact of writing our pain out on paper. Today, I am sharing a friend’s story of how it affected her healing.
“I have journaled a few times during various seasons in my life. But mostly I have been very resistant to it. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it feels too personal or actually embarrassing to read later. However, after my recent experience with the healing power of journaling, I am very thankful for its positive affect in my life.
I watched my strong, funny, kind Daddy slip away slowly over 14 years from the affects of Alzheimer’s. We all suffered a great deal of pain in his long “good-bye.” Dad and I always had a special bond. On the day Mom and I moved him into the Senior Care Home; a piece of me knew that this was where Dad would spend his final days. Nothing I could do could stop him from slipping away. I had been grieving his loss for a few years but this felt different. I knew in my heart that Dad was not ever going to go back home again.
When I would visit my sweet Dad I wanted to capture his essence and burn the memory into my heart. I started writing about my visits with Dad. I would actually talk to him when I wrote. I told him what I saw and how I felt. I noticed that my intense sadness and grief was somehow relieved when I wrote to him. I did not write every time I visited, but when I felt extra sad and lonely for him, it helped.
Dad suffered greatly, struggling for nearly every breath the last month of his life. It was so very difficult to watch, but I stayed with him for most of his final hours. When Dad finally did pass to his rest I felt very scared by the experience of watching his struggle with death. I couldn’t shake the haunting sights and sounds of his long good bye.
Karen reminded me of the healing that journaling can bring. I started writing about the overwhelming pain. At times I wrote as if to my Dad. At other times I shared my sad heart with God. The first morning I wrote was very intense, sad, and difficult. I stayed with the process and let my grief flow. In time, I stopped crying and ate breakfast. It seemed I was overwhelmed with exhaustion, so I lay down on the couch and napped for 3 hours that morning; something I never do. For a week, I journaled nearly every day. It was never quite as intense as that first writing after my Dad died. As I wrote it felt like my sadness traveled from my heart and my head, then through my arms and out my fingers. There it was ~ out there and not inside where it had been overwhelming me. My logic and reasoning began to return. My thinking was once again calm and I could focus. I still get sad and when those feeling begin to gain control, I choose to journal. Writing my feelings has left me more empowered instead of being controlled by my grief. “