Arte Es Vida

Grief Journaling by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 2:37 am
Filed under: Journaling

A counselor that I work with recently attended a seminar that focused on bereavement and new studies and outlooks on grief and grief management. Many of the 20th century views on grief are being challenged, including the idea that grief is a fixed process that people utilize to get back to normal. What many books and articles have termed the “Stages of Grief” actually refer to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ work on the stages of the dying process. And they don’t always apply to the process of grieving the death of another.

We know have a better understanding that bereavement is a natural, necessary process that helps one cope better with grief and loss. Although it is important for people to say goodbye and gain resolution, we still allow for the fact that grief is a wave-like experience. We should remember that death may end a life, but not a relationship; and we may still grieve years later, especially on important anniversaries.

Bereavement is identified as having a dual process coping model identified as loss-oriented (working through grief issues) and restoration-oriented (the steps we take to move on and embrace new life changes). The healthiest grieving processes incorporate both loss-oriented and restoration-oriented coping skills, and will often move back and forth between the two.

One of the most strongly encouraged ways of coping with loss is in rituals such as journaling and letter writing. Keeping a grief journal can be incredibly cathartic and therapeutic. Many people hang on to these journals so they can help mark how they have worked through their grieving issues; but others have found it very freeing to burn these journals and letters-never-sent, and spread the ashes in a place of personal meaning as a means of releasing their grief. Whether you keep your journal or choose to burn it, consider creating some kind of ceremony to mark your path towards healing.

Grief Journaling Exercise: Write about how your grief has been holding you back and how you choose to let it go. You can use a regular journaling format, or write it in the form of a letter to the person you have been grieving. Remember you can honor your grief and your relationship with the person you lost, but still choose to heal and move forward.

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