Learning to Write
Grief Desert - Part 1

It’s like an ache that comes from so far inside you – it’s impossible to get to it without tearing out your heart and lungs.

I went through mother’s old cedar chest (purchased in Chattanooga, TN many decades ago, just after Mom and Dad had married) days after she died. It was a tender but excruciating time. These things were her valuables.

And in those moments, grief wrapped itself around me like a blanket.

Years earlier I had experienced the loss of my father, and I had grieved for my aging mother, left alone in the world; separated from her life partner of 61 years.

I am at the age now where I am losing family members and close friends each year.

Grieving takes many forms. It is present when I am disappointed, like when a job interview does not go my way; it is present when I lose something/someone important to me. It is even present when a TV series I love comes to an end.

Of course, these losses are not all on the same level to us emotionally. Nevertheless, they all involve grief. And grief, as you know, goes through five stages (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying, 1969):

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

If you have lost someone close to you my encouragement to you is to write.

Write your memories, your pains, your dreams. It does not matter whether you deem yourself a “writer” or not; these writings are not for publication – they are private, they are yours alone.

I started one of my blogs (www.theloststory.org) when my mother was nearing her final days. And it has given me great release and relief to write there. But . . . I have much more that I have written by hand at home. Notebooks filled with details of her final days, the names of the persons with her in those final days, her medications, her comments, her attitude toward her own departure from this world.

These pages also contain dreams I had about Dad after he had passed, and mother’s dreams about Dad, too.

Writing is cathartic; it allows you to emote, to pour your feelings into something other than your belly.

Try it. I think you’ll agree.


http://debcleveland.blogspot.com/ (Deb Cleveland’s blog, The Lulu Chronicles)


  1. I wrote about Larry as soon as I found out he had Alzheimer’s…2 reasons, one so I could remember his progression and 2 how I was handling all of this..once I began writing it became very easy for me and some of this I sent on to my friends who wanted to know what it was like for our family.
    “Grieving isn’t over until it’s over for me”….
    Thank you for your post….

  2. Writing is, indeed, cathartic. Thanks for pouring out your emotions on paper. We comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from our merciful, loving Father. Peace, my friend.

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