Journaling Through Your Grief

Once again this week, at our Grief Support Group meeting, Gene, who leads our discussions, mentioned the importance of journaling about grief. He has said before that the act of taking pen(cil) to paper and writing about feelings and emotions is a powerful way to express what is happening on a grief journey. The act of such writing, as opposed to entering thoughts on a computer, has been proven to be the most helpful.


These writings are not meant to be shared. They are a way of admitting honestly what you are experiencing; what is difficult, what is hurtful as you grieve. Thoughts of anger, disappointment, fear, sadness may be written down without worrying about someone else’s reaction to those thoughts.


In the days immediately following your loss, keep your entries simple, perhaps copying a verse from a card received from a friend. Write down one special memory of your loved one each day; maybe a verse of Scripture that brings hope and encouragement could be written as well.


A “jump-off sentence” journal might be a good way to get started. Use prompts such as:

  • “I remember when . . .”
  • “I wish I could have told you about . . . “
  • “Today I feel . . . “
  • “I have been surprised that my grief . . . “


Perhaps well-meaning friends and acquaintances have questioned the length and extent of your grieving or have said hurtful things that seem to diminish your loss. Writing about how those unkind words made you feel can be a healing exercise.


Art journaling, using pens, pencils, tissue paper or water colors, can be a beautiful and powerful way to share what you are enduring each day. Finding a lovely scrapbook and filling the pages with drawings, sketches, and words can show how deeply you are grieving but also how you are moving through grief to a place of healing.


Do you have a shoebox full of photographs of your loved one? Make a Photo Journal, choosing pictures of special times spent together, using the prompt: “I love this picture! We were at . . . “ This brings back special memories for you as well as records stories for your family to enjoy.


Set a goal of journaling once or twice a week for a month. As you find time to slow down, face your loss, you may find that journaling is a very helpful tool and soon you may be spending time each day filling the pages of your book.