Creative Ideas in Grief and Bereavement -Writing a Letter
Expressive writing can be a powerful healing exercise
Writing is an excellent way of processing our emotions, especially difficult emotions such as
grief. Writing allows you to put into words what may be difficult to say out loud. It may be that you wish to express an anger about a situation or just feel like you need to share your thoughts to rationalise them.
Expressive writing has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as promoting
good general mental health and wellbeing. It allows you to really ‘feel’ the emotions associated with grief and bereavement, and also to start to work through them over time.
All you need to do, is take a pen and paper or a laptop, and start writing. Think about how you really feel. Remember you don’t need to worry about upsetting anybody, so really write about what emotions or feelings that you have.
Important... This letter should be kept private, so either keep it somewhere safe, or after you have finished simply destroy the letter/file. In the letter, you can tell the person who has died, how you really feel, maybe tell them something you wish you had said, or maybe just tell them what’s going on your life right now, there really is no right or wrong way to write a letter as long as it helps you.
An example of some excerpts from letters could be:
“Dad, I’m really sorry that I never got to tell you that I loved you, I was always so busy with work. I do love you though, I always have and always will. I miss you so much”
“I smiled today, and I thought of you. I felt guilty for smiling at first, but I know you would be so proud of me, and your children for staying strong. We miss you so much.”
“I am so angry with you for leaving me”
“I feel so sad today, I just want to cry all the time. I know you would have stayed if you had the choice. Someone asked me today if I’m okay, I said yes. What I actually wanted to say is that my heart is breaking and no I’m not okay.”
This is an incredibly powerful exercise to do and one which can re-visited as many times as you feel is helpful, however, if you feel it is too upsetting then it is important to stop the exercise and seek support from a bereavement counsellor who can help you to start to process those difficult thoughts and emotions.
Jo Goodwin-Worton retrained and qualified as a grief specialist and now offers real-life experience and academia to support people through a loss or bereavement. Having had first-hand experience of grief herself Jo can relate to your grief experience and offer you the support you need at such a difficult time. You can learn more about Jo here.