This is a sad blog post for me to write because it means that I’ve lost someone and I’m using my journal to grieve that loss. This time it was my lovely cat who I’d had since I was 11 years old. On Wednesday after months of trying different medications and ultimately realising that we just wanted her to be comfortable and not in pain we made the decision to let her go. It’s a horrible thing to have to do even if it is the ‘right thing’ and in a way it makes it harder because it feels like you made that final decision to end their life.
It’s a different kind of grief to what I’m used to but I have experienced a lot of grieving processes in the last few years. For all of them I’ve used my journal in some way or another to help me grieve the loss. So today I just wanted to share some of the ways I’m using my journal to grieve in the hope that it might help some of you through your grieving process.
Please note that I’m not a grief counsellor or medical professional and advise you to seek expert advice if you’re struggling with grief and particularly if you are vulnerable. There is some information at the end of this blog post.
A Tribute Page
When I grieve I find that little memories of the person you’ve lost seem to flash through your mind. I was lying in bed thinking about all the little things I’m going to miss so I decided to create a page dedicated to her that had space for me to jot down little memories. Its a therapeutic way to grieve but I will warn you you may cry like a baby while doing it. Cathartic but emotional.
Tracking How I feel
A lot of people already use journaling and Bullet Journaling for their mental health and tracking their moods. I feel like this is especially useful when you’re grieving even if most days are ‘rubbish’ when things are starting to get easier it’s important to appreciate the good days even if they aren’t very common and see how they will hopefully increase as you work through your grief.
Remembering to Appreciate the Little Things
A gratitude log is one of my favourite pages in my bullet journal because it really teaches you to appreciate the little every day joys in life. Especially when you’re going through a hard time recording these little glimmers of hope and happiness is important. It can be something as small as a happy memory that you recalled or just a nice cup of tea and a reflective moment.
Free Writing About the Emotions I’m Feeling
Free writing is when you just write down everything in your head on to paper and see where it takes you. It can be quite an emotional practice and its something I find myself doing when I get extremely worked up and upset and I can’t see a way out of that feeling. Sometimes you’re not quite ready to be faced with the reality of how you’re feeling so I’d advise some caution with this practice since you might not be ready to confront those emotions.
Guided Grief Journaling
If you want a more structured and reflective way of journaling take a look at some of these Grief Journaling prompts. Free writing can be an intense emotional experience and I feel like prompted journaling is a little calmer and more about gently exploring your feelings and emotions. You can follow prompts or choose to write a bit about some of your favourite memories with that person.
Need some bereavement advice?
If you’re struggling with your grief I highly recommend you reach out and find someone to talk to professionally. There are many charities that can help you. In the UK Cruse Bereavement Care the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can offer support. If you aren’t located in the UK I encourage you to find a similar bereavement charity or seek counselling.
Have you used your journal to help you grieve someone?
Let me know in the comments if you’ve used your journal to help you through grief. It’s interesting to hear about your experience and I’d love to know more.