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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Writing Into the Night

Special thanks to Jayne Newton for posting this on the
Atlanta Compassionate Friend's FaceBook site. I'd forgotten
that I'd written this, but then again, I forgot what
I ate for breakfast yesterday, too.

Writing into the Night

It's eleven p.m. and the rest of your household has slipped into bed, but your mind is bombarded and you can't sleep. You pick up a book, but the words are too lengthy to decipher at this hour.

As bereaved parents, and especially as newly bereaved, our minds have trouble concentrating and staying focused. It takes an enormous amount of energy just to get out of bed in the morning. So to have to read lengthy paragraphs and figure out what the author is saying can be too consuming. We want bite-size pieces to chew on, we want healing in easy-to-swallow capsules.

While reading the books on surviving life after the death of a child, are essential, so is something else--writing.

Writing's benefits are vast. Putting pen to paper releases pent-up feelings, some good, some nasty, but all honest. When you let your pain over the death of your loved one flow out on the paper, you are providing therapy. Your blood pressure is lowered, your pulse rate slows, and you give your heart an all-around healthy work-out.

Buy a notebook, spiral or bound. Set aside some time each day or night to write freely for ten to fifteen minutes. Write how you feel. Your notebook will not judge you. This is a friend who will hold all your secrets.

Let your mind remember as you write the memories of your child. View a photo of him at the beach and recall what the water and sun felt like that day. Remember a summer picnic at grandma's. What did your child eat? What did she wear? What were the expressions she used?

What did your child do that made you laugh? Sing in the bathtub? At the top of one of your notebook or journal pages write the word "Funny" and record those things that your child did that were funny to you.

We often think we will forget our child-- not his life, but pieces to his life. Sometimes a photo or a video can trigger a good memory. When these are brought to mind, write them down. Carry a notepad in our purse or in the car's glove compartment. I have written many of my son Daniel's antics in my notepad while sitting at a red light.

Studies have proven that writing through the pain is therapeutic. Give it a try! After pouring out your pain, you may even be able to find something else you need -- sleep.

~ Alice J. Wisler
~reprinted from Tributes June 2005

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