Saturday, March 16, 2019

Writing Prompt Saturday - Writing Through Loss

Before we delve into today's post, I want to take the time to apologize for us not being as active as we usually are. As I've said a few times here on the blog, sometimes life throws us curveballs that require our attention and focus a lot more than even our most treasured activities. Curveballs need to be dealt with when they come your way otherwise they become too close to avoid any longer. And those treasured activities will always be there waiting to be picked up again when the view is clearer.

And that's where I am now.

I thought we'd tackle an area that many people are either too afraid to venture into, or aren't quite sure how to tread in it. Today we're going to talk about writing through loss. I've ventured into this, generally, a couple of times over the years, but recent events have shoved me into seeing a need to bring it up again. I won't venture too far into the loss of a child for this post because that is, I feel, an entirely different level of loss that should be discussed separately. And even though there are many different forms of loss, many different things we grieve for, this post's focus is going to be on losing a loved one.

Probably the most painful and everlasting form of loss is that of a loved one. That person could be a lifelong friend, a partner in life, a child, a relative, even a general acquaintance who added something special to your life. Obviously, the level of grief felt will depend greatly on the relationship with that person, the memories you hold dear of them and the circumstances surrounding their absence. It doesn't matter how that person left us or what the relationship status was, the empty space left behind can be too much for some of us to bear. It's at this point where many people turn to darker ways to cope with their feelings of loss, believing those things will take away the pain more effectively. In this state of mind, feeling nothing at all is better than feeling what those things are trying to cover. Unfortunately, the harder one tries to suffocate those feelings screaming to be heard, the darker things become. And that is a very unhealthy place to stay.

I've experienced loss on several levels and each time I had to face it, I shoved it down. Each loss I chose to ignore was like a brick added to the steel strength wall I built around myself that no one was allowed to enter. The greatest loss I experienced was losing those precious few who refused to leave me alone inside my wall. The pinch of people I actually believed when they told me they loved me, who I believed cared about me and what happened to me and who accepted me for who I was and never once judged me for what I'd gone through. Believe me when I say that for a person who grew up with enormous mistrust in others, and clung to those very special few I allowed near me, losing them was more than I thought I could deal with. How could I continue without the people who offered me the only security I'd ever felt? How on earth was I expected to say goodbye to the only individuals who gave me the gift of unconditional love and understanding I didn't believe or accept from anyone else?

This is a place many of us who experience loss get stuck in. We're told to 'talk it out' or 'work through those feelings'. But what if the words don't come that easily? What if you are a person who can't verbalize what your mind is saying? I turn to two things, usually at the same time: music and writing.

When you write, you can express those feelings in any style you want and in any way you feel most comfortable. You don't have to worry if your mouth can't form the words that are crying out in your heart or head. Allow the words to flow through your fingers. Express your anger, your deepest sorrow, your fondest memories or the numbing pain that can't come out any other way. It doesn't have to make sense or mean anything to anyone else because you are writing only for you...unless you choose to share it with others. And maybe...just maybe...being able to get whatever emotions you keep hidden or smothered out, you may feel you can go down the path of healing that has been waiting for you.

That's why I write about the power of writing and of music often here on the blog. It may not work for everyone, but it has saved me many times over my life and continues to do so. So, today, if you're going through loss yourself or you are trying to help another deal with their own, write about it. It can be a letter, a journal entry, a short story or just a paragraph of rambling. Through writing - a raw, honest form of expression - healing can have a chance to sprout.

How can we go on after the loss of a loved one? By doing just that. Going on...moving that person would have wanted us to.

May you find the courage to face your own healing path today. And allow your writing to guide you there.

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