Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Ways to Write Through Grief, Part 1 by Angela Arndt


She’d been a part of our worship for 14 years. She played like a concert pianist and somehow directed our tiny choir full of huge personalities. She put her whole being into her music and we never knew how sick she was.

She was my friend.

Although she valiantly survived the 11-hour surgery, she never regained consciousness. There’s a big gaping hole at church and another one in my heart.

I miss her. So much.

How can you possibly write when you’re mourning? Whether you’ve lost a friend, a job, a dog or Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, you can still journal your feelings. You never know who will be comforted by your progression through the stages of grief.

First, give yourself time to grieve privately. Even if you know the illness is terminal or the company is closing, you’ll still need time in your closet to process what has happened.

Take time to rest. Try to nap. Find someone who will “run interference” so that you can be quiet.

Jot down notes about how you feel. Try to remember the ache in your heart or the way your head actually does pound after crying all night. Keep an emotion journal, not only for your impossibly sad times but for happy ones, too.

Journal your feelings. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. For now, you’re processing what you feel.

Write down your prayers. You don’t have to share. It’s just to help you move through the stages of grief and to help you write

Write about what could have been. Writing down the happily-ever-after in that situation gives you a respite from your grief. It could also become your next book.

Immerse yourself in something else. Watch an inspiring movie. Read a book. Go somewhere that doesn’t remind you of loss.

Each person grieves differently. Even if your loss is a French bulldog, there's still a death in the family. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Next week we’ll talk more about writing through loss by journaling the seven stages of grief.

What has helped you remember your loss and function at the same time?
About the Author
Angela Arndt
Angela Arndt was a corporate trainer before health issues sidelined her. These days she’s active in her local church, ACFW and a regular contributor to MBT's Weekly Spark. In addition to being a team member of Seriously Write and she'd love you to join her on her personal website.

Angie is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. She’s currently working on a series of novels set in small Southern towns. She and her husband live in the middle of a big wood outside a small town in South Carolina.

5 comments:

  1. A beautiful post, Angie. Thank you! I've struggled with many issues, writing/care-giving/time constraints since the passing of my father and each of your suggestions is GOLD - and truly helped me cope both as a person and a writer. Blessings to you, and hugs! <3

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    1. I lost my dad several years ago and now I'm caring for my mom part-time. I can't imagine what you went through, caregiving and writing at the same time. I'm so sorry for your loss.

      Some of these have helped me personally and others were given to me by friends. I'm so glad to know that they've helped you, too. Coping with grief is hard. Praying for you, sweet friend! Hugs back!

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  2. Lovely post, Angie. I'm sure many writers have struggled to write during times of grief. Wonderful suggestions to help move through that time. You're in my thoughts and prayers ... I know how much you feel the loss of this friend.

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    1. Thank you so much, Dawn! I think you're right. Writers, artists, musicians and dancers are sensitive in nature. I think we might even feel things a little harder -- at least it feels that way.

      You are a blessing to me, Dawn! I really appreciate your prayers.

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  3. A beautiful post and a tremendous legacy to your friend. She was a blessed woman to have the love of friends like you.

    Wonderful suggestions. I've never had to write through a loved ones death, but I have during illnesses and it is hard. Looking forward to part two.

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