PROMPTS FOR WRITING THROUGH GRIEF
(and other ways of working through it)
In this series about writing through grief (and other ways of working through it), we will explore:
- Introduction to this series
- Grief in special seasons of memory, like winter holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions
- Some ideas and experiences of my own related to dealing with grief
- Prompts and ideas inspired by Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore
- Prompts and ideas inspired by Paulette Perhach’s “30 Days to the Personal Essay” course.
- Prompts and ideas especially suitable for young people (but also helpful for older folks, too)
- Ideas inspired by Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Date Book
Some of these postings are quite long, but I hope that in them you may find a few gems that will help you through your journey with grief. And please remember to add your own thoughts, ideas, and prompts in the comments. Thank you so much.
Introduction to this series:
In the past few months, I have journeyed through the grief of losing a child to suicide, and 2 days later, a beloved sister-in-law to health issues. Today, in fact, as I was writing this, I learned of the unexpected passing of a beautiful niece, and my heart is breaking again. In recent years, I have lost my parents, aunts and uncles, and many other loved ones, relations and friends, both on my side of our family and on my husband’s side (which has in our 40 plus years together become my side as well). (And yes, it seems loss is one of the parts of life that increases as we age). While loss often deals with death, there is also loss in many other ways, such as through dementia, broken relationships, even cruel lies and gossip. Loss can be caused through financial changes, loss of jobs or other aspects of life, failure, broken hopes, separation from groups that were an important part of one’s life, physical changes, mental illness, war, and much more. And all these losses result in grief of one kind or another.
As an editor who often works with writers who are dealing with loss and grief, I have often had the privilege of working with them as they deal with their grief through writing about their experiences of loss—and the memories of life, positive or negative, that came before the loss. Some of the writers have just written through their loss and then, as healing occurs, have set that writing aside. Others have decided to share their journey by publishing their writing in a variety of ways—books, short stories, poetry, and so on; or speaking of it with others, or being part of grief groups, or going beyond writing to other forms of the arts (drawing, painting, dance, theatre, crafts, etc.), or through volunteering, and so on.
As I have gone through these experiences with dealing with grief, I have listed prompts that have helped me think through grief, and I have been able to share these ideas with others who are grieving and wish to use writing (and other methods) to help them move through their journey. Yes, I am most definitely still working through grief myself; I imagine it never completely ends in this lifetime, but I believe it can become less painful, and that through our own grieving process, we can help others who are grieving. In the following posts, I will be sharing prompts and ideas that have come from my own experiences with grief, and from the discussions I’ve had during my work with writers exploring their grief, as well as with others who are journeying through grief. And I have collected writing prompts and ideas from other writers that apply to grief as well, whether that was what they intended specifically or not.
I hope that as you work through your own journeys of grief, some of these thoughts and ideas will help you too, whether you are a writer or not. And I would be so grateful if you added your own experiences and ideas in the comments, to help others, too (including me!). Grief is part of the universal human experience. Let us help each other journey through it.
I will start, in the next post in this series, with ideas for holidays or other special occasions that are especially times of grief; then in following posts in the series, I will share some ideas of my own; and finally, share some ideas that have been gleaned from and been inspired by others. I hope you will find them helpful, and I encourage to share your own thoughts, ideas, and prompts with the rest of us, in the comments.