creative writing about a loss

37 Ways To Write About Grief

In this post, we have included 37 things for you to consider when you write about grief .

One of our most popular series of posts on Writers Write is ‘ways to write about different emotions’. We’ve written about these so far:

  • 37 Ways To Write About Anger
  • 32 Ways To Write About Fear
  • 43 Ways To Write About Love
  • 29 Ways To Write About Happiness
  • 40 Ways To Write About Empathy

In today’s post, we look at ways to write about grief.

This is not necessarily a post about grief as a story, but about how the emotion of grief affects the characters and the plotting of a book.

How do we  write about grief  in an authentic way?

A) What Is Grief?

Grief is an intense sorrow, a feeling of deep and poignant distress, which is usually caused by someone’s death (including a pet’s). Grief can also be felt with the ending of a relationship, or the death of a dream or an idea around which a life has been built. It can be felt with the diagnosis of a terminal illness. It is an intense emotion and the pain can seem unbearable.

Words associated with grief include:

Use these words when you’re describing a grieving person.

People often describe grief as a process . There are generally five stages associated with grief:

These are based on On Death and Dying , the 1969 book by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Some people may experience them in this order, but they can occur in any sequence and you can revisit the stages at any time. Some people skip a stage and others can experience more than one at the same time. The length of grieving depends on the person. It may take weeks or months or years.

People have also added ‘shock’ and ‘guilt’ to these stages.

B) Body Language

In your body language,  signs of loss are important. You can:

  • Curl into a foetal position.
  • Cover your face with hands or a pillow or blanket.
  • Stare unseeingly.
  • Sob uncontrollably.
  • Find it hard to swallow.
  • Wrap your arms around yourself.
  • Scratch your hands and arms.
  • Push people away.

C) Ways To Create Conflict With Grief

  • The loss of a loved one can spur your main character into action. Love interests in fiction are the most common way to create internal  and  external  conflict. A love interest does not have to be a romantic love interest. ‘It can be a friend, a pet, or a family member.’ ( source ) The loss of this loved one could create a need for revenge or simply for healing.
  • The emotion of grief could cause the character to lose their job, or resign from it.
  • The emotion of grief could change other important relationships that were dependant on the person who has died.

D)  The Importance Of Grief In Plotting

Grief is a powerful and debilitating emotion. Only use it if it serves your plot.

  • If you want to write a book about grief, this will obviously be your main plot. You will show the pain and despair of your main character and how they find their way back to life again. A good way to do this is with the use of a motif that is derived from a hobby or an occupation. The grieving person could be building a boat, or breeding a rare species of birds – anything that gives them a tangible story goal. They must do something – or the book would be boring.
  • If you want to use it as a sub-plot, the death of the love interest is the one to choose. The love interest  is the most useful and the most common of all  sub-plots .
  • Use their loss to show us more about them.
  • Use the loss and their grief to move the story forward. This works in a detective story where the main character vows revenge for their loss – or simply becomes more determined to make things that are wrong, right.

E) Exercises For  Writing About Grief

  • Write about the moment your protagonist is told about someone they love dying. Use body language, dialogue, and the senses if you can.
  • Write about the moment your antagonist is told about someone they love dying. Use body language, dialogue, and the senses if you can.
  • Show how a grieving person is unable to stick to their daily routine. Let them wake up to the loss and then show how they go about trying to get ready for the day.
  • Show a moment where a grieving person is pulled out of the well of despair by something that happens that gives them a story goal .
  • Write 12 diary entries on the first day of each month after the character has lost their loved one. Show how they change over the year.

Top Tip : Use our  Character Creation Kit to create great characters for your stories.

creative writing about a loss

If you liked this blogger’s writing, you may enjoy:

  • 10 Perfect Writing Prompts For Thanksgiving
  • The Romantic Hero
  • Fictional Pillars For Writers
  • The 4 Pillars Of A Memoir
  • Banned Books Week – The 10 Most Challenged Titles Of 2020
  • What Is Procrastination & How Do Writers Beat It?
  • The 5 Pillars Of Police Procedurals
  • Mystery, Horror, Thriller – What’s The Difference?
  • 101 Words To Describe Weather
  • How To Tell If You’re Writing About The Wrong Character

Top Tip : Find out more about our  workbooks  and  online courses  in our  shop .

  • Body Language , Creating Characters , Description , Featured Post , Show Don't Tell , Writing Tips from Amanda Patterson

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creative writing about a loss

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55 Journaling Prompts For Grief To Help You Heal

  • Journaling , Journaling Prompts

Losing someone or something that you love is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through in life.  Whether it’s the loss of a child, a family member, a friend, or even a beloved pet, the grieving process can be a long and challenging journey.  It can be incredibly hard to find the right words to express your feelings and sometimes it feels like there are literally no words to explain how deep your grief is.  This is where grief journaling prompts can help you.  

When dealing with grief, writing in a journal can give you a safe space to express your pain and anguish. Using journal prompts for grief can offer a starting point for your writing, giving you a framework to work with as you navigate your emotions, feelings, grief, and loss.

In this article, you will find 55 journaling prompts for grief that I hope you will find helpful.  They are designed to help you process your emotions, reflect on experiences, and help you to find a way to move forward. 

Of course, it is important to remember that everyone’s grieving journey is unique and there is no on-size-fits-all approach to coping with grief.  These prompts are just a starting point and you can adapt them as you wish or use them for ideas for your own prompts if you would like to.  And remember to reach out to someone for help and support if you need to as you work on your grief recovery!

Reflecting On Your Loss

Losing someone you love can be a devastating experience that can leave you feeling lost and uncertain. Grief journaling can help you to reflect on your loss by giving you a safe place to process your emotions and come to terms with what has happened. 

  • Describe your loved one. What did you love about them? Describe how they looked, what made them smile, fun things you did together, their favorite holiday, etc. Write in as much detail as possible and include anything that you would specifically like to treasure and remember.
  • Write about the moment you found out about the loss.
  • Describe the feelings you experienced in the first 24 hours after you lost your loved one.
  • What were some of the thoughts that went through your mind in the days and weeks following your loss?
  • Reflect on the impact your loss has had on your life so far.
  • Write about any regrets or unfinished business related to the loss of your loved one.
  • Write a letter to your loved one expressing how grateful you are for the time that you had with them and why they were so special. 
  • If you could give your loved one, one message today, what would it be?
  • Describe any physical sensations or symptoms you experienced in response to the loss.
  • How have your relationships with others changed since the loss?
  • Write about any spiritual or existential questions losing your loved one has raised for you.
  • Reflect on any ways that the loss has changed your perspective on life.
  • Describe any ways that you have found meaning or purpose in the loss.

Processing Your Emotions

Grief is difficult and it can bring up a wide range of emotions and feelings such as sadness, anger, guilt, and confusion.  Journaling while you grieve can help you understand and work through these difficult feelings allowing you to ultimately find a way to move forward.

  • Write about a time when you felt overwhelmed by grief.
  • Describe a moment when you felt angry or resentful about your loss. How did you deal with your emotions?
  • Create a list of things that bring you comfort or peace when you’re feeling sad or upset.
  • Reflect on any ways that you’ve tried to avoid or escape from your grief.
  • Write about a time when you felt guilty or ashamed about something related to the loss of your loved one. 
  • Describe a moment when you felt grateful or appreciative despite your grief.
  • How do you handle anxiety or fear related to the loss?
  • Reflect on any ways that have helped you to find joy or happiness despite your grief.
  • Write about a time when you felt frustrated or helpless in response to your loss.
  • Describe a moment, no matter how brief, when you felt at peace or acceptance about the loss. 
  • Do you experience any feelings of guilt or shame in moments of peace or acceptance?

Remembering Your Loved One

Remembering your loved ones can be a source of comfort and healing during the grieving process. Here you will find grief journaling prompts to help you remember and honor your loved one.  

  • Create a memory book with everything and anything that reminds you of your loved one. Include photos, memories, lists of favorites such as movies, songs, books etc.    
  • Write about your favorite memory of the person you lost.
  • Describe a quality or trait that you admired about the person.
  • Reflect on a time when the person made you laugh or smile.
  • Write about a time when you felt most connected to your loved one. Why is this memory so special?
  • Write about a gift or lesson the person gave you that you appreciate.
  • Describe a place or activity that reminds you of your loved one.
  • Reflect on a time when the person was there for you in a difficult moment.
  • Write about a time when you disagreed with the person or had a conflict. How do you feel about that time now?
  • Describe a way in which the person inspired or motivated you.
  • Reflect on a time when the person surprised you or did something unexpected.
  • Write about a dream or hope you have for the person’s legacy or memory.
  • Plant a tree or create a garden in your loved one’s memory taking the time to reflect on how much they meant to you.
  • If you are creative, create something to honor the memory of your loved one such as a painting, a piece of music, a poem.

Seeking Support

Sometimes grief can be lonely and isolating, especially when it feels like the whole world has moved on.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Seeking support from others can help you to feel less alone and can give you a sense of connection and understanding.  In this section, I’ve included prompts to help you find ways to seek support in a way that is meaningful for you. 

  • Create a list of supportive people in your life and how they have helped you cope with your loss and that you feel comfortable with.
  • Have you found support groups or a therapist who has been helpful to you?  If so, how have they helped you?  
  • Write about a time in the past when you reached out for help or support and how it made you feel.
  • Think about a friend or family member who has been understanding and supportive. How can you create more time with this person?  How can you thank this person for their love and support?
  • Write down a list of self-care practices or routines that help you find comfort and peace. How can you include these in your life on a more regular basis? 
  • Write about a time when you felt like you were alone in your grief. How did you cope?  Is there someone you can get in touch with when you feel this way?
  • Write about a community or organization that has provided support or grief resources for you.
  • Write about a day when you felt like you were making progress in your grief.
  • Reflect about a time when you felt like you were stuck or not making progress in your grief. What did you do to move through this difficult time?  Were there any particular people or self-care practices that helped you?
  • Is there someone in your community who is going through something similar to you?  Is there any way that you can offer them love and support as they also grieve?

Take care of yourself by incorporating self-love into your journaling. Get started with our collection of Self-Love Journaling Prompts .

Finding Meaning and Purpose

Often losing a loved one can leave you feeling lost and without direction in life.  Finding new meaning and purpose can give you a sense of hope and renewal which will help you to find a way forward.

  • Write about a way that your loss has inspired you to make a positive change in your life, even if it’s something simple like telling people in your life that you love them more regularly.
  • Create a list of things you can do to help in your community such as volunteering for example.
  • Are there any hobbies or activities you have always wanted to try? Create a list and find ways to begin with something new today!
  • Describe a goal, dream, or passion that has emerged from your grief. Think of ways you can start pursuing these. 
  • Create a list of ten things you are grateful for despite your grief.
  • Write about how your loss has helped you appreciate the present moment.
  • Think about a time when you felt like you were making a difference in the world.  How did this make you feel?
  • Describe a way that your loss has helped you develop greater empathy or compassion for others.

Gratitude is a powerful force for healing! Our list of over 300 gratitude journal prompts can help you get started.

Journaling offers you a unique way to explore and work through the difficult emotions that come when grieving the loss of a  loved one. 

Using journaling prompts for loss and grief can give you a starting point and framework to work from as you process your grief and find a way forward all while honoring your loved one’s memory.

Sometimes simply putting pen to paper can be a powerful way to honor your loved one, process your feelings, and work towards healing.  Remember that grief is a journey and a grief journal can be a valuable companion on that journey.  I pray these prompts will help you as you work towards peace and healing. 

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The Write Practice

Show, Don’t Tell: How to Write the Stages of Grief

by Ruthanne Reid | 59 comments

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How do you make your readers cry?

I promise this post won't be a downer. What it will be (hopefully) is really useful advice on how to portray the stages grief—and in the process, maybe encourage you to continue creating even during your own personal sorrow.

How to Write the Stages of Grief

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey,” said Kenji Miyazawa.

Well, my friends: it's time to break beautifully.

Breaking Beautifully

“When artists break, they try to break beautifully. Sit, smile, and enjoy the pieces of a shattered soul.” – quote from Tumblr

Most of us have read stories portraying grief so spectacularly that we felt  it as we read, weeping alongside fictitious graves.  Of course, most of us have also read stories with grief that utterly failed to move us, which (I think we can all agree) is something we'd prefer not  to write.

The power of story largely resides in its power to evoke emotions. Our favorite works all tend to follow that path. We read about a heroine who succeeds against impossible odds, and we are bolstered by her courage. We read about the ridiculous antics of a teenage boy who's too smart for his own good, and we share both his embarrassments and his triumphs.

Empathy is the ultimate form of “ show, don't tell .”

But in order to portray the stages grief effectively, we have to observe it. Grief is weird. It lingers. It colors everything and its symptoms change over time. Most importantly of all, grief leads to a particular kind of storytelling: finding the “why.”

To Write the Stages of Grief, Find the Why

“He who has a why can bear any how.” – Dr. Viktor Frank, a psychologist and holocaust survivor

At our hearts, we are all storytellers. It's part of the human condition to explain the world to ourselves in a way we'll accept. We rationalize. We imagine scenarios to help ourselves understand.

If your character has experienced past grief, then one of two things happens over time:

  • They find a “why” of some kind and make peace with it (even if that “why” is “bad stuff happens and I accept that”).
  • Or they have no “why,” and cannot shed the weight of the grief they carry.

That “why” can be anything. Religious, scientific, poetic—we are terrific storytellers, down to our core. Here's a royal, real-life example:

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II

There's reasoning in there, a why. 

The story your character tells herself gives your character direction. Does she blame the deceased for his death? Does she blame someone else, or hold to a faith in cruel fate that could strike again at any time?

The story she tells herself can grow hope or prevent it from blooming. It determines the choices she makes in the wake of her grief.

Homework Assignment: what story is your character telling himself? 

BONUS: By the way, this can give birth to a really great plot-twist. If a decade after the fact, evidence comes to light that blows the survivor's rationalization to bits, then that survivor has a whole new set of motivations to carry your plot along. Boom: story.

How to Write the Stages of Grief

Along with that story, there will be symptoms of grief. These symptoms vary over the various stages of grief, and you should be aware of them as you describe your character's grief.

Immediate Grief

  • Physical sensations (throat thickening, lack of appetite or increased appetite, nausea, a weight in the chest, trembling hands, swollen eyes, stuffed nose)
  • Thought patterns (denial, what if, if only, I didn't get to say goodbye, I wish I hadn't/had said That Thing, why-why-why-why-why)
  • Stress symptoms (inability to sleep, lack of desire to take part in once-loved activities)
  • Social symptoms (the insistence everything is fine, or the inability to hide grief in public; withdrawal from activities; irritability; over-booking activities to keep busy)

During the initial stages of grief, some or all of these might be present. Your character will not necessarily verbalize them; they could be happening “off-screen.” However, they will be happening, and that should make a difference how your character behaves – and how your readers empathize.

Homework Assignment: how does your character handle immediate grief? Socially? Physically? 

Long-Term Grief

Long-term grief is very different from immediate grief. Even this short list is a little baffling:

  • Denial . Boy, can this take a lot of forms. Denial of the cause of death, of culpability, of grief itself – which leads to stress physically and emotionally, not to mention living in such a way as to prove that denial true.
  • Corollary: Gut-punch sorrow upon remembering that loss. It feels a little like losing the person all over again.
  • Corollary: Resulting gut-punch of guilt, as if  remembering were a sacred duty that must not be shirked. This isn't as weird as it might seem. There's a reason most ancient cultures cherished numerous festivals and sacrifices to and for the dead. Remembering matters.
  • Living for the person . His mom was gonna be a dancer? And hey, looky there: twenty years later, he owns a dance studio, and he may not have even realized he's carrying on her dream.
  • The deceased made a statement or held a belief that the survivor feels is absolutely untrue.
  • Death prevented any kind of satisfactory conclusion to their disagreement.
  • The survivor then attempts to live in such a way that it proves that naysayer wrong. (“Oh, I can't be a great archeologist as a woman, huh? Well, now I'm the best in my field!”)
  • Rationalization . Remember that story we tell ourselves? Over the long term, that story usually gets set in stone. If you know what your character's story is, you will know WHY they do a lot of the things they do. It's a powerful writing tool.
  • Irrational fear of whatever it was that killed that person. (e.g., run over by a garbage truck, and therefore it is Horse And Buggy Time Forever).
  • Embracing whatever it was that killed that person. (e.g., run over by a garbage truck, and therefore the survivor now drives a truck to conquer that fear.)
  • Continued Physical Symptoms of Stress.  High blood pressure. Ulcers. Poor sleep. Refusal to let anyone too close. If the bereavement was not dealt with and the “why” does not suffice, your character can go through a whole host of horrible symptoms.

Homework Assignment: How does your character handle grief in the long term? Do they embrace the cause of death, or run away from it? Has it shaped career choices?

Conclusion: Show Grief, Don't Tell It

If you want your character's grief to be powerful, you must learn to show it, not tell it .

You could say , “She cried,” or you could show that her nose is stuffed, that her eyes are simultaneously dry and leaking, and that her voice is hoarse.

You could  say,  “He had crazy thoughts of joining her,” or you could  show by having him ask himself, “What if I'd been in the car with her? What if I had begged her not to drive while drinking? If only I'd taken her keys!”

When Grieving, Write On

Permit me to get personal before practice time.

The years of 2011 to 2012 were rough. One of my best friends died, followed by my grandmother, then the college professor who was basically a surrogate father, and finally, my own mother.

The causes varied wildly (aneurysm; age; hit-and-run; drowning).  The timing was insane (February 2011; June 2011; December 2011; June 2012). It seemed I'd barely recovered from one loss when another would cut the corner to hit me head-on. To say it took a lot out of me is analogous to saying there are a lot of cats on the internet.

The thing is, I had a debut book to finish.  The Sundered was due to go public June, 2012. I couldn't afford to take time off creatively. I had to write through it, and I did that by focusing on what I experienced and pouring it into the page.

I wrote like a madwoman. Was everything I wrote good? Heck, no. No one will ever see most of what I wrote during that period (and believe me, you would thank me if you knew).

But am I glad I kept writing? Yes. A thousand times yes.

If you take nothing else from this article, take this: if you continue to create while you are grieving, you will survive it better. 

It's not a “why.” It doesn't make the loss less bad; but creation, like growth, only happens when we are living.

Keep writing. Keep creating. If you must break, break beautifully – and then your characters can break beautifully, too.

Has your character experienced grief? Have you?  Let us know in the comments section .

It's time to practice writing your character through grief. Take fifteen minutes  and dive into the story they're telling themselves about this loss (the why), then post it in the comments section . If you share a practice, please comment on the stories of others.

creative writing about a loss

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Ruthanne Reid

Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.

Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.

When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.

P.S. Red is still her favorite color.

creative writing about a loss

59 Comments

NerdOfAllTrades

She closed the door after she offered one last expression of gratitude, and he returned one last sentiment of condolence. She didn’t know what she had expected to happen next. Perhaps she thought she would slump down against the door, and sob helplessly, but instead, she found herself walking automatically back to the kitchen table. After all, she had been interrupted halfway through a meal, and they’d have wanted her to finish it. Starving children in Africa and all that. She took a bite of the leftover chicken breast, but didn’t taste it. Leftover chicken doesn’t usually have much of a taste, but today she probably could have chewed a fresh jalapeño without tasting it. She swallowed mechanically and picked up the next bite, her mind refusing to grasp anything consciously, until it seized upon a word. “Tragedy.” That was what the officer had said – it was a tragedy, her parents being killed in a hostage taking gone bad. Years of theatre training tumbled in her head as she thought about that one word. In a tragedy, the protagonist is tripped up by a tragic flaw. They have some character defect that inevitably leads to their downfall. Her parents aren’t tragic figures, they are – were – heroes. Philanthropists. They never had an unkind word to say to anyone, and had gone to the bank today to endow a scholarship. In fact, the only flaw that her parents could be said to have was her. She had applied to several colleges for theatre studies and dance, and her father had chided her softly about how she would change the world. She had heard the unspoken implication that she could be doing more, and had resented the guilt trip that she felt he was trying to place on her. Why shouldn’t she do what made her happy? Now, as she shoved another dollop of reheated mashed potatoes in her mouth, she felt the guilt anew. If this was a tragedy, she was the one with the tragic flaw. All of her parents’ kindness and money, and she was going to spend her days prancing gracefully around a stage, instead of doing something meaningful. Her eyes lit upon the business card upon the table; she had tossed it there carelessly after the officer had handed it to her, but now she studied it: the logo and name bringing back the image of the officer who had been given the unenviable task of bringing her the news, of his uniform, the haunted look behind his eyes of some tragedy of his own. Her parents were right. She could make a difference, and she knew how. She knew what she wanted to become. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is that a comedy celebrates life, while tragedy highlights its futility. Her parents’ lives would not end as a tragedy, and certainly not through her own tragic flaws: her self-centeredness, her lack of ambition. Instead, she would take what her parents had given her and become a different sort of hero: one who could prevent evil from claiming innocent lives, like those of her parents.

Hazel Butler

I really like the little detail about her not tasting anything, and that she wouldn’t taste anything that day, I found the very effective. It’s also a nicely different take, having someone sit down and eat instead of throwing up or refusing food for days after the fact. Really well done, love it 🙂

Thanks for the feedback, and thanks for reading!

ruthannereid

What a powerful piece! You leave me wanting to know more about what happened after this.

Cristi

Once the diagnosis of cancer was made, he quit calling home. I didn’t have any communication with him after May 25, 2011. That was it. No more talks, no more reaching out, we were receiving texts once in a while.

It hurt. It hurt, more than anything else, to be shut out. I tried to tell myself; he was trying to protect me. But was he? I’m not sure. Four years later, as I write this, I wonder. When he stopped talking to us, my husband said something that has haunted me since. Roger said “Get on a plane before it’s too late.” I didn’t get on a plane. And, I regret it so much. I asked Christopher, “Could I come to take care of him?” He said “no.” Maybe, I shouldn’t have asked him. Maybe, I should have went without asking. These questions circulated my mind for years. They still do sometimes. There is no answer. In my mind by not being there at his bedside, and letting him die alone. I was a bad mother. Knowing that a good mother would have been at his side, I knew I was not a good mother. I was not there. After Christopher’s death, these thoughts were torturous. “How could a good mother not want to be there when their child is sick?” A mother is the first one to the aid of a sick child. A mother holds their hand, comforts them, and protects them. Knowing that Christopher died, and I was not present made me a bad mother. The good mother code had been broken. “How was I going to face my husband, my younger son, and myself knowing he died alone?” As a mother, I would have been watching over him. I know I would have noticed when he stopped breathing. As it unfolded, he stopped breathing, and was dead for a period of time. Before Britney came back into the room to find him dead in the hospital bed. Throughout this time, Bob and Jane, his friends, were watching over him while Britney was gone. They were in the room when he died. They never even noticed he was not breathing. It is inconceivable that they could be in a room with a dead body, and not know it. “Honestly, who does that?’ After his death, I chose to bury Christopher in South Dakota. His friends didn’t take this news well. I tried to explain away their behavior as being a part of their grief. Yet, the pain their behavior caused stays with me. The day after he died. Bob and Jane, the same two friends, who were in the room when he died, went to Christopher’s apartment. They told the landlord Christopher did not have any relatives. They requested the keys to his apartment. The landlord gave them the keys. They went into his apartment, and helped themselves to whatever they wanted. I found out days afterward, when I called the landlord, who told me what happened. I was devastated, and angry. “No relatives”, were they serious? He had a mother, a father, a step mother, a step father and two brothers, who cared about him deeply. He had grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, who cared about him. It was a punch to the gut. When confronted, Jane said, “I was going to pack up his stuff and keep it in my garage.” I was furious, “how dare they mess with his stuff?” I wasn’t ready to say he was never coming back to his apartment. It had only been two days. Christopher wasn’t even in the ground yet. My husband said it best. He said, “Don’t mess with the baby bears stuff unless you want mama bear breathing down your neck.” The worst was yet to come, for his friends said, Christopher told them; I had not been a good mother. “I had not been there to support him except at graduation.” Another friend said, “Christopher had told her he hoped I was a better grandmother than I was mother.” “How did they know that was my weak point? How could they have known?” I told no one. It was a secret being a bad mother, I kept it to myself, and cried alone at night about it. Christopher’s “so-called” friend posted a message on my Facebook saying “Don’t think just because you came to his graduation that you were a good mother.” This message was left on my Facebook page for the whole world to see. I was exposed to be the bad mother, I was. A constant struggle from the time Christopher was born was making sure, I was a good mother. One hint, or one word that I was not a good mother would send me into a depression consistently throughout his life. My thoughts would race, my heart would pound, and I was exposed to be the bad mother, I was. After a few days, the loathing of myself would subside. Life interrupted forcing me to go forward. The perceived mistake, which had prompted the depression, would go underground to be relived in those moments of questioning: “Am I a good mother?” This fear of not being a good mother came, as most things do, through the interactions with one’s own parents. The relationship between my mother, and I has been rocky for most of my life. She is petite, blonde, and beautiful. I, however, am a carbon copy of my biological father. I have muddy blonde hair, blue eyes, with a stocky build. Not only were we different in appearances; we were different in personalities. Her every day interactions with the people around her always had a bite to it. I, on the other hand, was well liked, and personable including a strong sense of independence with a strong will. Interactions between us were clashes of dominance, which continue today. The strong will is both a strength, and a curse for submission is not allowed. In any interaction with my mother, submission was imperative for survival. My hypercritical mother was the one, who set the standards for parenting for everyone else except her. She insisted, she knew what a good mother was. “A good mother according to her never made mistakes” The problem being in her eyes, I was a giant, walking, mistake. Growing up, she often stated “Cristi, you have to live with me until you are 21 years. You are too stupid to make your own decisions.” Having Christopher when I was unmarried, and 19 years old did nothing to convince her; she was wrong. With the death of my son these images, and words came back to haunt me. Immediately, the old programming kicks in with the thought “I am a bad mother.” I had left my son in Louisiana. He had died alone without me by his side. The guilt kicked in convincing me, I was a bad person, a bad mother that is why he died. Every mistake I had made in my life came back to haunt me. My mother’s voice echoed through my head. “You are a bad mother. I need to take Christopher away from you” Always that fear was there, that she would follow through on her threats of taking him away. “Was I being punished for this mistake?” Or, maybe it was my biggest mistake of all; which was practicing an alternative religion which did not believe in Jesus Christ. “What was it?” “What made me so different than the other mothers who got to see their children grow up, get married, and grow old?” “How come me?” It was ever present in my mind, and never really left. “What did I do so wrong that I lost a child?” Having been a counselor for over 10 years, I saw many mothers, who did not necessarily like being a parent. These mothers were more interested in men, drugs, alcohol, or work. “How could they get to keep their children, and I could not?” It was a war between you are not being punished for your mistakes and you are being punished for your mistakes. This fear of not being a good mother is a major crisis surrounding the loss of a child. It is the fear, and the pain we keep in our souls. It is never shown the light, or shared for someone may say “you are a bad mother that is why your child died?”In retrospect, when I think about what would have happened if I had been 3,000 miles away from home, and lost my mind, what would have happened?” It scares me to think about it. I would have been wailing on the floor like a crazy banshee in a hospital; or I could have saved him by noticing he was not breathing. It is easy to look behind us into the past to do the “would have? Could have? And, should have? I judged myself more harshly than anyone else. But, this is what mothers’ do. We protect our children from the bad. We make them better when they are hurt, sad, or mad. Me as a mother, was supposed to make it better. I was supposed to be there to hold his hand as he died. I wasn’t there, and I failed him. Somehow in my irrational thinking process, I began to make a connection between my practices of an alternate religion with being a bad mother. The thought process became “I am a bad mother because I helped someone in the circle pray.” My friends endured endless questions asking the same thing. “Did I cause his death?” Over, and over again, I would ask. Despite the answer, I continued to ask. “Did I cause his death?” Alone at 2 or 3 am, this question raced through my mind. The logical mind would try to intervene. This emotion, this fear ran so deep; it could not be controlled with logic. This fear made his dying within my control. If it was within my control, I could have changed my behavior so he wouldn’t die. The unexpectedness, and uncontrollability of death, and its effects created havoc on my sense of self, my emotions, and my soul. If I could control death, then I could have prevented Christopher from dying.It looks like an easy process on paper, it was not. For months, this question was never far from my mind. I could be working. It would be a wiggle in the back of the brain. It woke me up most nights, and kept me awake for hours. I stopped asking others after a while. I finely figured out only I could answer the question. “Did I cause Christopher’s death?”The pain is an ache which never went away. It felt the same day or night, no matter what I was doing. Your brain doesn’t work right either when you have so much pain, and emotion inside of you. In order to think, I had to cut through these emotions, and pain to get to a place where thought would happen. Some days I didn’t have the energy to even try. My coping skills were overwhelmed when Christopher died. The emotional energy needed to cope with the thoughts of being a bad mother, or the emotions, and pain of death did not exist. Interestingly, it has been almost four years since Christopher died, and the intensity of my feelings are quite low compared to before he died. I tended to have powerful emotions that were difficult to control for years before Christopher died. Now, I don’t care about most things. The reality is I don’t have the emotional energy to care. I am completed drained of emotional energy. It does not seem to be coming back. In many ways, this is a blessing. Life is easier when the things you care about become a precious few. In some ways, it is a curse. There are days when I feel dead inside. I keep wondering “How come my give a dam is not working?” “When will it be fixed?” My “good mother crisis” has lessened over the years. “Do I still question myself about my parenting skills?” “Yes, I do” “I always will, because Christopher is not here to say, “You were a good mother” What has changed is the loathing, and self-hate, I flogged myself with which has been healed. I don’t have a formula that I can share which will help you heal. What I want to tell you, is you can heal. It takes time. It takes work. It takes believing in yourself. It is not something someone else can do for you. I can promise you, the journey will be worth it.

This is a combination of excerpts from a chapter in a book I am set to publish on July 1, called the Solitary Journey through the loss of a child. It took me 149 pages to answer your 15 minutes practice. There is so much more to grief.

Wow. This was incredibly emotionally raw. It got to the point, about halfway through, where I started to wince every time I read the words “bad mother.” In most things I read, I’d criticize such a repetition of two phrases (“good mother”/”bad mother”), but it was incredibly effective here, because that’s what grief and guilt do – they drive that same message into your head over and over. It was very moving. I would suggest you have someone go through it and proofread it before you publish it. There are a few minor typos (“give a dam” instead of “damn”, “baby bears”-missing an apostrophe, etc.) and I don’t know if it’s an artifact of it being a combination of excerpts, but you may want to improve the paragraphing, for readability’s sake. That stream-of-consciousness, one-thought-running-into-another effect works well here for a monologue on motherhood, but if it’s the same kind of paragraphing over 149 pages, that might get tedious. Once again, this was heart-wrenching, and it so powerfully answered the prompt and showed real grief. Thank you for showing us your beating heart (unless that was fiction, in which case, holy crap, that is even more impressive).

Thanks. I am having a friend edit for me. I started with a professional editor. It changed the story when she did that. I wanted it to be my words. Thanks for the edits. And not fiction that is my heart. There is less emotional content between those paragraphs. I left them out because it did not answer the prompt.

A professional editor shouldn’t change your words, they should make suggestions for how you might change your words and help you to change them, should you both decide it’s needed. The only words editors should change are ones that are simply incorrect – you’ve used an incorrect version of the same word, or affect instead of effect, inquiry instead enquiry etc. I say this as an editor myself – if the person you were working with was changing your words, they weren’t doing their job correctly. Don’t let it put you off working with someone else in future, you just have to find the right fit for you. Someone specific to your genre who has a track record of editing books you love is always a good start 🙂

sherpeace

Good points, Hazel. Also a good editor will do a sample edit so you can decide if they are the right fit. I had the opposite problem. I kept asking my editor for suggestions which he refused to do as he said he was not the author and that was not his place! Luckily he did two passes (for the price of one) so I finally accepted that I need to “find the right words” myself. That was my biggest fear when looking for an editor: that they would change my words. It’s ironic that I then turned around and was asking for suggestions. Sherrie Do you know a/b my debut novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”? A young American woman goes to war-torn El Salvador: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

I would also recommend a test section being done before you commit to anything for the sake of both author and editor – both need to know they are happy to work with the other and that they are a good fit, and the editor needs to know the MS is something they are comfortable working with and can do a good job on – a good editor will not accept anything that’s outside their remit. I’m happy to make suggestions regarding how to reformat a sentence, or restructure something if i’m copy-editing, but I’ll go no further than that. It really depends on what form of editing I’m doing – if I’m doing Line by Line or developmental editing I will make suggestions on word choice if I feel it’s necessary, or if the author asks for help, but under the strict understanding that I’m doing so as an EXAMPLE of what needs to be done in order smooth out that section. The Author should then re-work the section in their own words, bearing in mind what I’ve said. It’s not always easy for two different people to understand an explanation of the weaknesses of a particular aspect of a work without actually demonstrating it.

“Your brain doesn’t work right either when you have so much pain, and emotion inside of you.”

I LOVE this line! It’s so true, and something that people who’ve never been there often don’t quite grasp. I really like the fixation on blame and whether or not it was her fault – that, again, is a thing that often happens. Grief turns to obsession so easily, I’ve often wondered if it’s actually a coping mechanism – by pouring all your energy into wondering if (say) you were a bad mother and it was your fault, you don’t actually have to deal with the greater trauma. You’re too busy worrying over a relatively small concern to actually face the fact you’ve lost a child.

Really enjoyed this (if enjoyed is the right word), thanks for sharing!

Thanks Hazel. I am never quite sure if someone will get it. Yes, it is a coping mechanism I believe too.

Reagan

It seems that God is trying to break through your doubt, if you will open your heart to him. I really admire that you were able to share this, and even more that you can write a book describing that worst moment in your life. I wish you all the best with your writing! “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men” -Reagan

Gary G Little

Oh my, the what-ifs. I know them very well. My wife decided on a Sunday in 2008, when I was gone to end her life. I have spent the years since playing that what-if, and so many variations of that, game. What if I had not been gone? What if I had gotten her more involved in whatever? What if this, maybe that, but in the end I realized if not then, it would have been another time. In the end I realized I gave her twenty good years that most likely she would not have had. I loved her then, I love her now, and there are still bubbles of grief that inundate me over the loss, but I have moved on.

Cristi, I wasn’t able to read this for a while because of real-life grief. It’s evocative; you’ve tapped into the real regrets and questions we all do in situations like this. Thank you for sharing such a raw and powerful piece!

Yitzchak Young

We were taking an intersection down Route 54 when this truck turned up on our left. The semi-trailer kept swerving closer to use with each turn so I punched the horn and honked the hell out of ’em. Nearly forced us into the barrier. Jimmy was in the passenger. Our aunt Kelly preffered the backseat with charlie. He was swell little pup–was to be a birthday gift for the nephew. But anyway, Jimmy started hollaring:

“Just slow down and wait for the douche to pass.”

“No way,” I affirmed, “I’m not letting this guy get ahead just ’cause he wants to. I follow the rules why-why can’t he, huh?”

“Sis, take a deep breath. We’ll make it to the party on time. Better safe than sorry,”–

“Sorry my ass! That fucker ain’t getting away with this.”

I don’t really remember the rest of the argument but Jimmy wouldn’t back down. Aunt Kelly eventually thought to bud in and said something stupid so I told her to, “Shut up! This is my car–my rules. What makes you think you can,”–

And then Jimmy called me an arragant fuck and that I ought to never talk to aunt Kelly like that, “Because she loves you! Get you’re head out of your ass!”

I think started to shut them out and just listen to Bastille play, ‘Pompeii,’ on the radio. Jimmy asked me to turn it down, so I turned it up. That might be why I didn’t hear the crash happen up ahead.

The nurse told me the report a little after I woke up in the hospital. The truck that tried to get ahead of me was blocking the road for some other dumb fuck, so they decided to speed ahead and fly-by a few others. They hit some minivan off course and then the whole highway turned into a wreck. Jimmy was right, that trucker was a duche. ‘Course, his vehical was largest so he was already pretty safe. I kept looking around the room to find Jimmy or Kelly in the bed next to me, but they weren’t, so I called for a nurse to ask where they were. It took a minute or two for her to spout, “They didn’t make it,” becuase before that she kept coming up with some stupid anology or metaphore to say that they were dead and I don’t like stupid sentimental shit like that- I like things real and punishing. I like the rain to hit my face, not blocked by some goddam unbrella and–and . . . and. *Sniff And now it’s not just my legs and heart that hurts, but my eyes are all red and sore so I can’t see straight. Waiting on my nephew to show up. Every time he sees me he perks up and says, “hey, you pretty thing!” And I smile and hug him tight. I just want to smile, you know?

Wow, Yitzchak – what a sad piece. Thank you so much for sharing it. This sounds like the jump-off for a bigger story of living with everthing that happened. Wow.

A very interesting article, with some excellent advice. I write about death, dying and grief an awful lot, so I thought I’d add my own thoughts on this one – I won’t add a practice as this is going to be too long already (sorry! do skip it if you’re uninterested!). Grief is perhaps the most devastating emotion a person can ever feel, yet no two people ever experience it in the same way, even if they’ve lost the same person, and were both there to witness it happen. They saw the same events, smelled the same things, heard the same things, perhaps even touched the same things, but their individual experiences will have been entirely different. Their reactions will be completely different. In my experience a well written scene about grief has little to do with the details of what is happening – the scene itself, the external senses – and everything to do with the internal. The bizarre way the world is suddenly muffled, as if you were in a soundproof room with the door open a crack. You can just about hear that there’s something being said on the other side of that door, but you can’t understand it, and even if you could you wouldn’t care. Your insides seem to have vanished, leaving nothing but a void within you, and its pulling at you and dragging you in. You can’t breathe, you can’t think, you can’t comprehend what is happening because it’s so unfathomable that you could continue to exist in the world when this person you loved is suddenly absent. Perhaps you cry, perhaps you scream, perhaps you grow so angry you kick the crap out of anyone else who happens to be in that soundproof room with you, but you’re not aware you’re doing it. Not really. It’s all happening to someone else, and you’re kind of watching it happen, but your getting sucked into this awful void, and pulled apart from the inside out, so it’s a little difficult to concentrate. I’ve known people not react at all for days, weeks, sometimes years, then suddenly they start crying and screaming that such and such is dead. It could have happened a month ago, it could have happened a year ago, it doesn’t matter. Grief has no rules. Your body and mind deal with it in whatever way they can, and if they can’t deal with it, if it’s just too much for them to bear, they block it out until they’re capable of handling it, or until something else happens that pushes you so far it all ends up coming out anyway. That’s the kind of grief that leaves people mad. Maybe not forever, maybe only for a little while, but grief can drive you insane. And there are no rules when it comes to insanity. Everyone experiences it in their own way and everyone deals with it in their own way. I’m incredibly sorry to hear of your losses, Ruthanne, but I can very much relate to your need to write through it – although in my case I kept writing because it was the only way to keep myself from going mad. The result of that was my debut novel. It’s perhaps not surprising that the main themes are death, suicide, and grief. That was what I was when I was writing it. It wasn’t what I was feeling, or seeing, or experiencing, it was what I had become, body, heart and soul. I like to think that the only good thing to come out of it is that I at least managed to write a character to whom people can relate, and a character people can understand even if they’ve never actually experienced what she had been through. Her husband had killed himself, she spends the majority of the books suicidal herself due to her grief over his death, and her friends – who were also his friends – are dealing with their own grief at the loss in their own ways. Thank you very much for the tips – I am always looking to improve on writing grief credibly.

Your words are so familiar. Reached in and pulled them out. Let me know about your book. I would like to read. So healing writing the story isn’t !

Thank you, Cristi. The book is available on Amazon, it’s called Chasing Azrael. I’d post a link, but I’m not sure what the policies are on posting links to our own work. Be sure to let me know when yours is finished too, as I’d love to read the full thing.

Cathy Ryan

Well said! What a beautifully honest post. Yes, people do respond to grief in unique ways. My sister and I were both present when our mother passed, yet have dealt with her passing in remarkably different ways. The foundational belief system is challenged especially by death, affirmed for some, found insufficient for some. Writing about grief for a character to experience has given me opportunities to explore different reactions that keep the character’s response true to that character. Your story no doubt expresses the raw emotions of grief for your character and that honesty is what your readers respond to. Congratulations on completing what must have been a difficult work.

Thanks for this, Hazel. I had to cut a lot of it down; there’s so much that the grieving experience which reach outside “normal” everyday life. Everyone’s experience is different, but those things which are part of simple human grief are what make this relatable.

This is based on the characters of the novel I’m working on. The backstory is that he’s a doctor, and he lost his sister and both his parents 7 years ago. The girl he’s mad at is a patient at the hospital who is a Christian, and was injured in an accident.

Jacob placed a death grip on the railing, his palms sweaty. His pounding heart refused to slow its pace, despite his trying to logically calm himself down. How could seven years of struggling have been brought down so easily? He stared down eight stories to the street below, keeping his eyes open as wide as he could to prevent any tears from appearing. He didn’t see the street, though, and he didn’t hear the noise, despite how loud it was in metro Boston. He saw that fateful night, and he heard the phone call.

How long he had struggled to forget it. How many nights he had sat in his cold, lonely apartment, and how many longs days and hours working at the hospital had it taken to get to this point, only to be brought down in an instant, by that girl. That girl. That pious Alyssa Brenton, who thought the whole world was okay. Who didn’t even have the sense to know when she was beaten. You’d think that girl going through so many problems in her own life wouldn’t be so chipper. He didn’t want to admit it to himself, but that was what got to him the most. There was no way a person could be so happy, not when he hadn’t even smiled since that tragic night. Why should he have to live through this agony, while she went happily through life like nothing had happened

But things happened. They happened to him. He breathed heavily in and out as the pain started to overtake him, and as he started to fight it. He leaned against the railing, weary. He would give anything to have taken their places. If he had only been there. If he had only told them how much he had loved them. But now, there was nothing. Not even work could distract him from this. There was no point to life, to living another minute. Slowly, he slid his body down the railing and sat against it. If seven years had done nothing to lessen his grief, nothing would. Nothing.

Hi, Reagan! I have to disagree with the idea that you’re not very good at this. 🙂 I found this scene really interesting, and I’m very curious to know more.

Reagan Colbert

Thanks! I’m still learning, and ‘show don’t tell’ has always been something I’ve struggled with. This is from my current WIP, a Christian romance novel. He and the girl he’s thinking about (and hating) fall in love. I’m so glad you liked this scene!

‘whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men’ Reagan http://www.fiction4hisglory.com

PJ Reece

Whoa! Good one, Ruthanne. I’m saving this over to my special “writers stuff” file. You could make a good short book out of this material. Serendipitously, not 20 minutes ago I posted a piece about sorrow on my blog. But yours is seriously comprehensive. Pardon me while I check out your website.

Thanks, PJ! I’m really trying to share the things I’ve learned, and if any of it is helping others, then I call it a success. 🙂

Robert Wray

My Mother Betty was like all others moms but the type of family living through my fathers harsh and abusive ways for all of my child hood , and everything mom took from her Husband was so horrific from the Alcohol and the beatings and the molestation she new dad with her own daughters and nothing she could do , father had gotten away with all of his ruthless ways on her seven children, and mom still stayed with her Husband.

But through all these years of fear ,I was so scared to even tell the truth or even tell a lie

so while I was being Molested by 12 Different men till I was old enough to run away from all of the above, I headed to the streets of Toronto Ontario trying to find love of some kind from someone,

My mind was full of distorted ways I could not even be a normal Teenager like others ,could not Communicate to any normal person , but on the streets everyone understood me just like my Mother, she would always tell me how Special I really was and mom also told me its not how many that Love you Robbie it is who Loves you, I could never Understand this until 55 years Later.

My mother took ill and I would take the Greyhound every weekend to see my mother at the Hospital and then she was sent home because Cancer set in , My mother suffered for 5 years , but one day I got a call mom is worse , I had no Money at this time so I decide to start walking from London to Brantford Ontario.

I proceed to walk on the 401 and walked all the way to Brantford and took me 17 hours to get to moms house, when I went in she grab my little face with two hands and tells me Robbie i love you so much , I see in her eyes like never before and she past away soon after , I watched her last breath with my father and that was it,

I could not even cry but loved her so dearly as we all did, but as I had to go back home I was given bus fare to get the greyhound back home , I sat on the bus and the tears came rolling down all the way to London , and for some reason I found peace I never ever Felt , I just hope you all understand this in some way Thanks

Wow, Robert. I can’t even begin to understand what this must have been like. Thank you for sharing such a painful, vulnerable piece.

R.w. Foster

This is intriguing, and now bookmarked. My main character, Carter Blake, has one more stage of grief when his beloved is killed: The unleashing of his Super-Powered Evil Side ( http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuperpoweredEvilSide ). That comes first and is the main driver of the sequel, Rise of the DarkWalker: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book II .

However, once the SPES is conquered, I’m gonna need these tips for the rest of the story. Thank you.

kwjordy

I wanted to try this one again. I got lost in my first attempt and didn’t follow the advice of the blog.

Now when Ruth walked the beach, the once-soft sand that cushioned her feet and squeezed through her toes felt hard; she could feel each little grain of sand attempt to slice through her skin. The sea’s breezes no longer made her feel refreshed, but punched her in the face and gut. Her once-proud gait was now slumped and slow; Ruth left long, shallow ditches behind her as she dragged along the beach.

Ruth’s beach walks were getting longer and longer as she tried to force herself to keep moving ahead. But she never got very far. She felt she was searching for something and hoped she might walk out of this nightmare back to the world she once knew when she walked the beach with Chloe. But whenever thoughts of Chloe entered her mind she began walking faster, pushing more and more sand behind. “She’s here,” she thought. “Just a few more steps.” And then would come the inevitable realization that she could never walk backwards, to the past. Then would come the inevitable collapse into the sand, her chest heaving, her wails deep and long.

She lost it all when she lost Chloe. She was no longer a mother, father, teacher, life-coach, friend. Now she was simply a repository for scattered memories that were too painful to relive for very long.

On a bright, sunny day, a little boy saw Ruth shuffling along the beach. He approached Ruth.

“Are you looking for something?”

Ruth looked at the little boy, his innocence evident in his open, shining smile. She wondered how to make the little boy leave her alone without being mean.

After a while Ruth answered. “Yes, I’m looking for something.”

The little boy looked up at Ruth, shielding his freckled face from the sun. “Is it your smile? My Aunt Dot said that when my mommy died, she lost her smile.”

Ruth looked out to sea, fighting desperately to stifle a scream churning up inside her.

Finally Ruth looked back to the little boy. “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for…my smile.”

“I’ll help you look.”

The little boy took Ruth’s hand.

Ruth’s throat tightened and she was unable to speak. She didn’t have enough heart remaining to have it ripped open again.

But the little boy gave a tug on Ruth’s hand, and Ruth began moving forward, putting one foot ahead of the other.

LilianGardner

A good story of showing and not telling grief. I felt I was walking along the beach with Ruth. The end is perfect, of the little boy offering to help Ruth find her smile and taking her hand to lead her. Thanks for sharing.

Debra johnson

Okay, now I’m reaching for tissue. So innocent this little boy. Going through my own grief myself this touched me deeply- wise beyond his years this one. Love reading pieces like this.

Dawn Brockmeier

I love your use of imagery, great showing, not telling! Great story!

Wow, what a powerful scene! This really moved me. Thank you for sharing it!

Dear Ruthanne, this is a fabulous post. I ‘ll bookmark it right away to read over and over of the ways of ‘showing’ not ‘telling’ about grief. I’m writing a true story of a couple who immigrated to America. Your article comes in handy to help me ‘show’ the grief they encountered. Thank you so much.

Yes, the grieving of leaving everything behind. That has to be huge. Then to come to a country where people often don’t even know their neighbors? Whew, wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Though, of course, it happens all the time. Sherrie Do you know a/b my debut novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”? A young American woman goes to war-torn El Salvador: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

Thanks for your comment, Sherpeace. I’m looking up your novel as soon as I post this. If a person is forced to immigrate, he/she will not integrate fully. If a person chooses to immigrate, I think they will eventually fit into the new country and enjoy it.

Thanks, Lilian! That sounds like a really solid use of this. Wow – to have left everything behind, even one’s native tongue… wow. That’s a lot of grief.

I re-posted this on A Page A Day https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Page-A-Day-Lets-all-write-just-one-page-a-day/103970129720405?fref=ts I can’t imagine what you went through but I do know that losing my mother-in-law, then my mother made my novel much richer. Since my protagonist was encountering death at ever turn, the deaths in the novel were better understood and felt by the protagonist. Sherrie Do you know a/b my debut novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”? A young American woman goes to war-torn El Salvador: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

Wow, I didn’t know about your novel! Thank you for sharing it, Sherrie. I don’t think anyone can understand grief until they’ve been there, but eventually, everyone DOES get to that place. It means this is important to write about. Thanks for sharing!

Aala Elsadig

It’s actually quite intressting how you mentioned the forgetting the person point. In the story I’m planning, a character actually went through that. I was somehow worried it didn’t sound realistic or anything, but thanks!

You’re welcome, Aala!

Forth'Wyn

I myself have experienced grief a few times with my dad and more recently my grandad – I suppose that’s one of the main reasons why my character has a minor storyline that revolves around her parents and the “replacement dad” she had as a teenager. But the grief that she has to go through in the main story is over a man that she was going to marry. I tried writing what it would be like for her, but I just don’t think I’m ready to go there, yet :/

I hear you, Forth’Wyn. Take your time. The story takes shape at the pace it needs to.

kim

My father was from the first world war he was a gunner there was a self portrait of him a painted photograph that was sitting on the mantle piece I was cherished where I was seated there was always a reminder of him I missed the fact that there wasnt any attachment any more like sending me to school no more talks or any love . I had hunger pains in my gut and thirsted of the horrors he must have gone through when he was at war it made me sick to the stomach of how the man would have felt I wished that I could have said more when he was alive the guilt I felt at this moment time ticked on and on 15 years had passed since he died it was another hour that passed as I was getting tired for a afternoon nap I lay rested and realised that there was nobody to put me in bed

I especially like the very physical responses to grief. “…hunger pains in my gut…” The last line is especially poignant.

That’s powerful, Kim. Thank you for sharing such brutal and powerful thoughts.

Great article! I especially love the questions. They really help me identify the core issue for several characters in my works in progress. This particular practice is a early teen boy protag who has lost, not a person, but his way of life.

This place stinks. The cows stink. The chickens stink. The pigs stink. I am not one of the farm kids. I did not grow up on a farm. Never touched a cow. Never drove a tractor. Just because I’m here now, that doesn’t change anything. It’s temporary. Soon as Grandpa is better, we’ll go home. There’s no place to even walk to around here. No basketball court, no theater, no arcade games, no stores, no friends. There’s nothing but pasture fields surrounded by trees and narrow roads that lead to more farms, and snotty, stinking cows behind every fence. Even the school is dumb.

I’m so glad to hear that, Cathy! I can feel this kikd’s frustration. What a rough spot for your protagonist to be in!

marilyn mccormick

Within 6 months time my brother’s wife died (on my anniversary) then my job was lost due to a merger, then my oldest son died in a fall at my home, and on the same day as my son’s death, another brother’s wife died. Although I didn’t write about my grief, I read countless other books about other peoples losses. As I digested the words about their great grief; their pain reflected my own pain. As their sorrow flowed across the page, I joined my hands and heart to them. Yes, we cried together. My tears wet the pages with such a deep ache for them and for myself. I was truly grateful for authors who shared their pain, which helped me to feel, cry and slowly come out of the darkness and into the light.

Ruthanne Reid

Oh, Marilyn; my heart aches for you. I can’t agree enough on the power of *grieving together* with others through their own written story. I hope someday you can write about your experiences, helping others to weep, too.

Salwa Ib

Did I never know pain before this moment?

Nothing can compare the hole that is within my chest right now. Not after everything that vile monster tried to do to me, the years of humiliation, fear and disgust. Not even after Marco and I discovered the truth behind my actual birth. Not even after I realized how much years I’ve lost, the pain I endured all to please the ego and pockets of a man who thought it was his god-given right to toy with my life.

Agony doesn’t drown you. It burns the internal core of who you are. It leaves nothing but ashes, not even broken pieces to help you piece something of yourself together. I didn’t lie there quietly as he died. I clutched his hand and begged to whoever, whatever I could ask. Doctors and nurses left the room, unable to watch the scene unfolding before them.

For the first time in my life I truly prayed to whatever higher being there was, because at this point I was so desperate. I prayed to whatever, bargaining my soul. I was ready to give up anything, my limbs, my eyes, my hearing, my own life just to give Marco another chance. From begging to bargaining, to complete threats I literally swore to myself that when I met God I’d punch him was because of the lie God told us he was, that he was so ‘almighty’ but at this moment when I can promise you, he could hear me right now and chose to do nothing.

What was worse was the silence that greeted me. The inevitable knowledge that you are going to be separated from someone you loved. That no amount of praying, begging or bargaining was going to keep them from leaving you. I wonder if this was what it felt like to have your soul ripped out while you were still alive. Physical pain cannot compare to emotional pain because at least you can see the wounds, assess and take painkillers, escape to some sort of high. But emotional pain is when you are killing yourself, and is inescapable.

Because agony doesn’t make you just cry. It makes you scream, and I swear the screams left me sounded so terrible that it seemed unreal. It wasn’t a small, feminine scream or moan. It was the animalistic, gut-wrenching roar that left my throat. The scream that you make when you feel as though you lost everything. That was what it felt like. A long, antagonized, never ending scream of grief that no words could ever describe.

My only light was extinguished from the world.

Oh, Salwa! This is written so well. I find myself weeping along with it; the desperation and pain are shown exceedingly well, and I find it impossible not to relate and empathize. Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks for the comment Ruthanne. Looking back at this after two months I do feel a bit mortified, it seemed a bit melodramatic, no?

Darlene Pawlik

Thank you for this blog and for the opportunity to learn and share.

Alicia

Thank you for writing such an inspiring article, both from a writer’s point of view and person!

Truworth Wellness

Hello, Ruthanne Reid, you have well described about grief. And we have described about stages of grief ( https://thewellnesscorner.com/Article/StayHappy/Seven-stages-of-grief ). All individuals dealing with loss go through these stages, not necessarily in the same order.

Savanah | Off-Color Literature

This is SO helpful! Thank you so much.

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Sometimes dealing with grief on our own can feel like we’re alone. Writing about loss, death, sadness, and grief can feel intimidating because we’re excavating our deepest vulnerabilities, and this means confronting buried emotions. It might be difficult to process the wide range of emotions that accompany loss—everything from sadness to anger to relief. However, finding a place to allow these feelings to land can be liberating—not only for one’s writing, but also cathartic personally.

In this personal essay course, we will learn how to tell the stories that impact us the most through creative writing about grief, pain, and loss. The objective of this course is to mine our feelings of loss and try to capture them onto the page. This course will give participants the permission and tools to become more comfortable about writing death and loss. Through the course of eight weeks, we will read other writers and their essays on the subject of loss, death, and grief, and delve into the stories that individual participants would like to explore.

Students will receive feedback on short writing exercises based on prompts, as well as the chance to workshop an essay with the instructor during the class. Participants will leave this class learning how to tackle death, loss, grief in the space of a personal essay. Students will learn how to make the personal universal. There will be also class discussion on the materials. Students will receive extensive feedback on two essays during the 8-week period.

I highly suggest this class, so much so, I’m gifting it to a friend. Don’t hesitate. Take this class! —Linda Ragsdale

Weekly Zoom Meeting Schedule

The course’s weekly Zoom meetings will take place  on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern time.  Meetings will be one hour to 90 minutes in length.

Creative Writing About Grief: Course Syllabus

Week 1: welcome and introductions/why write nonfiction essays stemming from loss or tragedy.

How do past journal or diary entries help you excavate the grief you’d like to write about in your essay? Work on in-class writing prompt on three pivotal moments that seem compelling for you to excavate in an essay.

Week 2: Different ways to brainstorm our grief to write our best essays.

Writing about grief is often difficult and sometimes it takes work to pen our most difficult feelings. In this session, students will learn techniques re: brainstorming on their essay topic. It will include information on mind mapping, traditional outline structure, and using photographs to generate story ideas.

Week 3: How to begin the grief essay?

Knowing where to start the grief essay is important. We will look at various essays and how they begin. How do we engage the reader with the very first sentence of our grief essay?

Week 4: Navigating the middle of our grief essay and the narrative arc.

For an essay to feel genuine to the reader and the writer, the narrative arc has to hit the right points. We will work through the middle of our essays to excavate the tension sometimes the middle poses when writing about grief.

Week 5: Giving ourselves room to breathe when writing grief essays.

Sometimes creative writing about grief raises difficult emotions/feelings. What to do when we feel stuck? How to forge forward as we navigate our emotions and confront sadness and truth in our writing. We will cover strategies on how to handle this grief in a way that will channel our best essay writing and focus on healing too.    

Week 6: Looking at endings in our essays.

Grief is something that doesn’t end and how do we capture that sentiment in our essays? This is tricky terrain, especially as we are trying to navigate our feelings in our endings even though the grief lingers outside the page.  

Week 7: Putting it all together.

How does they essay come across in terms of prose and lyricism? We will look at how the essay is elevated through metaphors and the use of craft.

Week 8: Looking at markets and the feeling after publication of our grief essays.

We will talk publication and markets and whether you’re in the right mental place to publish your essays. How do we navigate the questions that come after readers read our vulnerable pieces on grief?

Why Take a Creative Writing Course with Writers.com?

  • We welcome writers of all backgrounds and experience levels, and we are here for one reason: to support you on your writing journey.
  • Small groups keep our online writing classes lively and intimate.
  • Work through your weekly written lectures, course materials, and writing assignments at your own pace.
  • Share and discuss your work with classmates in a supportive class environment.
  • Award-winning instructor Rudri Patel will offer you direct, personal feedback and suggestions on every assignment you submit.

Student Feedback for Rudri Patel:

I cannot recommend working with Rudri enough, she is one of the best writing teachers that I have ever had. Leena Trivedi-Grenier

Rudri is genuine and compassionate, sharing her stories and helping students find a way to hold their grief, and release some of its anchors. I highly suggest Writing Our Grief , so much so, I’m gifting it to a friend. Don’t hesitate. Take this class!  Linda Ragsdale

The course exceeded my expectations. Rudri's practical, supportive, and encouraging style is just what I needed to build confidence and practice in my writing. Rudri is exceptionally perceptive, warm, and generous as a teacher. Rudri helps you believe in yourself as a writer and to build long-term habits after the course.  Tom O'Shea

Rudri's teaching style is warm, personal, informed, generous, and comprehensive. She wants her students to have a safe place to dig into their grief and to give written voice to it, to learn the craft of writing about grief with an eye for publication. She challenged us to experiment with new forms, and set the tone for a supportive class partnership. I highly recommend this class.  Dianne King

Rudri created a wonderful workshop atmosphere. I received specific feedback on each of my writing assignments and felt supported and encouraged throughout the six-week course. I'm amazed at how much I learned in this short time period.  Theresa Connors

Rudri is a real gem. Her management of the class given the difficulty of the material was exceptional. She was always encouraging to all the students.  Larry Ricci

Rudri's combination of compassion and solid tangible technique furthered my continuing development as a writer. If you want to take an MFA level class with an instructor who cares enough to guide you kindly but sure-footedly to the edges of your comfort zones---then this class is for you. You will come out on the other side a much improved writer. Christina Cavallaro

Rudri is kind so she reads with her heart as well as her head. As well as providing editorial expertise, she reads with empathy. I found this mattered more than I thought it would. I am so thankful for this course and everything I learned in class and from the community of other writers within the class.  Sarah Harley

Rudri is intelligent and perceptive. Her lectures are well organized but not rigid. She is present to the individual students' needs, and her offering of a one-on-one meeting is the cherry on the cake. She is a very generous teacher, and I would and will certainly recommend her courses and take them again myself.  Barbara Moroncini

A must take course! Our instructor, Rudri Patel, led the course with such brilliance, commitment and sensitivity. Each lesson was well organized. Ms. Patel went above and beyond with weekly zoom classes, and she added her personal experiences as a writer so freely. Cynthia Slack

Rudri has a way of fostering discussion and motivating her students to produce more and better work. By the end of the first week alone, I’d completely revised my daily writing strategy, reduced procrastination, and felt better equipped to achieve some pretty ambitious writing goals. I’m confident that 2021 will be my best writing year to-date.  Jessica Fiorillo

This workshop was everything I wanted and more!  Not only is Rudri an excellent instructor and writer, but she is a wonderful human being. Rudri provided a safe place for everyone to freely express themselves, giving 200% of herself and modeling for students her courage and vulnerability.  Cynthia Bassett

Awesome! Rudri is a great teacher.  Natalie Ellis

This class, and Rudri’s compassion and ability to create a safe space, helped me work through levels of grief that I didn’t realize I still had. I made connections between past and present losses that I hadn’t made before, which has helped me to grieve at a deeper level. My writing has benefited from the exercises and Rudri’s encouragement to write my truth. This was an excellent class, and I hope to work with Rudri again in the future.  Andi Reed

I learned so much in Rudri's class, not just about bullet journaling but about setting goals and establishing habits that nurture and sustain the writing life. Rudri created a welcoming space to discuss not just the ins and outs of bullet journaling, but also how to build habits that nurture creativity and self-care. I highly recommend it for writers and everyone!  Daisy Florin

Rudri Bhatt Patel has been a mentor, coach, and editor for my writing projects for almost ten years. Under the skillful guidance of her expertise, candor, and gentle spirit, I have made great gains in refining and expanding my short stories to publication as well as completing a novel. In addition, as co-members of a critique group for several years, Rudri consistently offered in depth and valuable feedback to me and others on a biweekly basis. Her comprehensive written feedback was always delivered with a sensitivity and respect for each person’s creative expression, while authentically providing insight into strengths and areas that needed development. Trish Dolansinski

Rudri is the editor and teacher everyone wishes they would discover. Her warm engaging style meets spot-on feedback has done more for me in 6 weeks than I can begin to describe. Rudri's approach to giving feedback is supportive in a way that both inspires and lifts while being grounded in solid practical suggestions to help elevate your work.  Christina Cavallaro

I recommend Rudri Bhatt Patel without reservation. She is knowledgeable, articulate and experienced in all things writing and publishing. Her kindness as well as her professionalism and expertise make working with her a delight. Susan Pohlman

Rudri's knowledge and skills related to professional writing have also helped me with my own writing career many times in the past. Julie Vick

Over the past ten years I have had numerous opportunities to interact with Rudri Batt Patel during writing classes, book critiques, and writer networking sessions. She has a profound ability to engage as a learner, presenter, and facilitator. Her own writing skills are exceptional and her variety of published works enable her to assist developing writers in multiple ways. Phyllis Schwartz

Rudri Patel is an organized and seasoned presenter with years of writing and publishing experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have Rudri in my critique circle for over a decade and I’m a stronger writer because of it. Windy Lynn Harris

Rudri has a wonderful way of bringing out the best in her colleagues without criticism - a skill I appreciate as a veteran of the classroom myself. Jenn Morson

“I loved Rudri Patel. She helped me take my writing to another level. She was full of knowledge, encouragement, constructive criticism and quickly identified my strengths. I highly recommend her.” —Nancy Wynn

Rudri Patel Instructor

About Rudri Patel

Rudri Patel is a lawyer turned freelance writer, essayist, and editor. On staff at  Literary Mama  and the co-founder and co-editor of the literary journal,  The Sunlight Press , her essays and reported work have appeared in  The Washington Post, Business Insider, The Lily, Saveur, Civil Eats, ESPN, Parents  and elsewhere. Rudri is currently at work on a memoir on grief and culture and how it provides perspective on life’s ordinary graces.

Rudri's Courses

Six Flash Essays in Six Weeks Writing About Family *Private Class | Writing Our Grief: How to Channel Loss into Creative Expression *Private Class | Using Bullet Journaling to Achieve Writing Goals *Private Class | From Pitch to Publication: Writing Narrative Journalism *Private Class | Write Your World: Express Your Creativity through Article Writing, Blogging, and Essays Writing Our Grief: How to Channel Loss into Creative Expression Using Bullet Journaling to Achieve Writing Goals From Pitch to Publication: Writing Narrative Journalism Write Your World: Express Your Creativity through Article Writing, Blogging, and Essays (Live Workshop) Move Your Writing Forward: The Art of the Bullet Journal

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Creative Writing Prompts

Sad Death Writing Prompts: Explore Themes of Loss

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My name is Debbie, and I am passionate about developing a love for the written word and planting a seed that will grow into a powerful voice that can inspire many.

Sad Death Writing Prompts: Explore Themes of Loss

Exploring the depths of loss: Introducing Sad Death Writing Prompts

A journey through grief: harnessing the power of emotional expression, unearthing hidden emotions: delving into suppressed feelings about loss, a tribute to loved ones: honoring the memories through writing, depicting the aftermath: navigating the complex emotions after a tragic loss, finding solace in words: how writing can aid in the healing process, turning pain into art: transforming grief into powerful and cathartic narratives, healing hearts through storytelling: recommendations for using writing to soothe the soul, recommendations for using writing to soothe the soul, frequently asked questions, concluding remarks.

Welcome to a writing journey like no other. Our Sad Death Writing Prompts offer a unique opportunity to delve into the complexities of loss and explore the myriad of emotions that accompany it. Through thought-provoking prompts and introspective exercises, we aim to provide a safe and empathetic space for writers to express their deepest feelings, reflect on personal experiences, or even create fictional narratives that touch upon the themes of grief, longing, and resilience.

Embracing the power of storytelling, our prompts are carefully designed to encourage raw and authentic exploration of the human experience surrounding loss. We believe that by tapping into these emotions, writers can not only find healing and solace but also create works of art that resonate with others who have gone through similar journeys. So whether you’re a novice writer seeking catharsis or a seasoned wordsmith looking for new inspiration, our Sad Death Writing Prompts will help you navigate the depths of bereavement and offer a therapeutic outlet for your emotions.

Grief is a complex and deeply personal emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can be a challenging journey, but one that can be navigated with the power of emotional expression. Finding healthy ways to release and process our emotions is crucial in helping us heal and move forward.

One effective way to harness the power of emotional expression during the grieving process is through creative outlets. Art therapy, for example, can provide a safe space for individuals to explore and communicate their emotions visually. Painting, drawing, or even sculpting can serve as powerful tools for accessing and releasing feelings that words may not be able to fully capture.

Another powerful tool for emotional expression is writing. Keeping a journal or writing letters to the deceased can allow individuals to express their thoughts and feelings in a deeply personal and cathartic way. Putting pen to paper provides an outlet for reflection, processing, and exploring the complex emotions that come with grief.

Additionally, seeking support through group therapy or counseling can provide a space to share and connect with others who are also experiencing grief. Engaging in conversations with empathetic individuals who have faced similar struggles can offer comfort, validation, and understanding. Together, participants can express their emotions, verbalize their experiences, and find solace in the knowledge that they are not alone in their journey.

Loss is an inevitable part of life, and while it is natural to feel sadness, grief, and pain, society often discourages us from openly expressing these emotions. As a result, many individuals find themselves suppressing their feelings, burying them deep within. However, unearthing and acknowledging these hidden emotions can be a crucial step towards healing and finding solace. Here are some insights on why it’s important to delve into suppressed feelings about loss:

  • Understanding the impacts: By openly exploring suppressed emotions, we gain a deeper understanding of how loss has affected us on various levels – mentally, emotionally, and even physically. This self-awareness allows us to recognize patterns of behavior or thought that may hinder our healing process.
  • Validating our experiences: Suppressing emotions about loss often stems from societal pressure or the fear of burdening others with our grief. Yet, acknowledging and giving ourselves permission to feel these emotions is an act of self-validation. It reaffirms our right to mourn and helps break the stigma surrounding grief.
  • Fostering personal growth: Exploring suppressed feelings can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation. By facing our emotions head-on, we give ourselves an opportunity to learn from our pain, develop resilience, and discover inner strengths we may not have known existed.

While it can be a daunting and uncomfortable journey to unearth our suppressed feelings about loss, acknowledging and allowing ourselves to experience these emotions is an essential step towards healing and personal growth. It’s important to recognize that everyone’s path is unique, and seeking support from friends, family, or professionals can offer guidance and comfort throughout this process. By delving into our suppressed feelings, we pave the way for a future where personal growth and emotional well-being take precedence, ultimately leading to a more fulfilled and authentic life.

A tribute to loved ones: Honoring the memories through writing

Losing a loved one is never easy. It’s a challenging and emotional time when we long to hold on to the memories and the essence of those we’ve lost. Writing can be a beautiful and cathartic way to honor the lives of our loved ones and keep their memories alive. Whether it’s a heartfelt letter, a poem, or a memoir, writing allows us to express our deepest emotions and celebrate the impact our loved ones had on our lives.

Writing a tribute can be a personal journey that brings solace and healing. It allows us to reflect on the cherished moments spent with our loved ones and the lessons they taught us. Through writing, we can capture their spirit, their wisdom, and their love, creating a lasting tribute that preserves their memory for generations to come. It’s a way to reconnect with our emotions, confront grief, and find comfort in the beautiful stories we weave with our words.

  • Preserving memories: Through writing, we can immortalize the memories of our loved ones in a tangible and meaningful way, ensuring their stories live on.
  • Expressing emotions: Writing allows us to release our feelings of grief, sadness, and even joy, providing a cathartic outlet for processing the complex emotions associated with loss.
  • Celebrating their impact: By writing about the incredible impact our loved ones made on our lives, we can honor their legacies and keep their spirit alive in our hearts.

Experiencing a tragic loss is a deeply overwhelming and emotionally complex journey. It is natural to find yourself navigating through a multitude of complex emotions that can feel confusing and exhausting. Each individual copes differently, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Understanding these emotions and learning to navigate them can help in finding solace and healing in the aftermath.

Grief often manifests itself in various ways, as no two people experience it alike. Some common emotions that may arise during the aftermath of a tragic loss include:

  • Sadness: Overwhelming feelings of sadness and despair may consume you, making it difficult to find joy in everyday life.
  • Anger: Rage and anger towards the situation, others, or even yourself for not being able to prevent the tragedy.
  • Guilt: Feelings of guilt may arise, questioning if there was something you could have done differently to change the outcome.
  • Denial: It is common to experience a sense of disbelief or denial, trying to protect oneself from the harsh reality of the loss.
  • Fear: The fear of facing a future without your loved one, the unknown, and the fear of forgetting their memory can be overwhelming.

Finding solace in words: How writing can aid in the healing process

In times of hardship, when emotions are overwhelming and clarity seems elusive, turning to writing can provide a remarkable refuge for the weary soul. The therapeutic power of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard has long been recognized as a profound tool for healing and self-discovery. Here, we delve into the profound ways in which writing can aid in the process of healing, allowing individuals to navigate their emotions, find solace, and ultimately, come to terms with their innermost struggles.

Unlocking emotions:

  • Writing offers a safe and private space to explore the depths of one’s emotions. It encourages individuals to confront and unravel their feelings, even the ones that may be difficult or painful to face.
  • The act of putting thoughts into words allows for a release of pent-up emotions, fostering a sense of catharsis and relief. It enables individuals to gain insights into their own experiences and find new perspectives.
  • Through writing, people can identify patterns in their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts, often leading to a better understanding of their struggles and contributing factors.

Finding solace and self-expression:

  • Writing offers a refuge where one can express themselves freely without judgment or interruption, providing a safe space for cathartic introspection.
  • It allows individuals to give voice to their pain, fear, or grief, validating their experiences and providing a sense of comfort.
  • Writing can serve as a vehicle for self-reflection and self-discovery, enabling individuals to gain clarity, discover their true passions, and explore their identity amidst their healing journey.
  • By documenting one’s thoughts and experiences, writing acts as a tangible record of personal growth and a reminder of progress made along the healing process.

Turning pain into art: Transforming grief into powerful and cathartic narratives

When pain strikes, it has the potential to be an overwhelming and isolating experience. However, some individuals have found a unique outlet for their grief: turning it into art. By channeling their sorrow and transforming it into powerful narratives, these creative souls are using their craft as a cathartic tool for healing.

Art has long been recognized as a powerful medium for self-expression, and when coupled with the transformative force of grief, it can become even more extraordinary. Through their art, people are able to explore their emotions, confront their pain, and find solace in the process. Whether it is through painting, poetry, music, or performance, these individuals weave their grief into their chosen mediums, creating powerful and moving pieces that resonate with others who have experienced similar pain.

Healing hearts through storytelling: Recommendations for using writing to soothe the soul

Storytelling is an incredible tool for healing our wounded hearts and finding solace amidst life’s challenges. Through the power of words, we can explore our pain, express our deepest emotions, and ultimately find comfort in the process. Here are some recommendations for using writing as a therapeutic practice to nurture and mend our souls:

  • Journaling: Set aside a dedicated time each day to pour your thoughts onto paper. Write without judgment or censoring, allowing your emotions to flow freely. Reflecting on your experiences and emotions through journaling can provide a cathartic release while helping you gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
  • Writing Prompts: Explore various writing prompts that resonate with your journey of healing. These prompts can gently guide you to evaluate your emotions, dive into your past, or envision a brighter future. Let your imagination roam freely and witness the transformative power of storytelling.
  • Creating Characters: Develop fictional characters that resemble aspects of your feelings or experiences. Accompany them through their own journeys of triumph and growth, infusing them with your hopes and dreams. Through these characters, you can explore new perspectives and narratives that offer hope and healing.

Writing has the remarkable ability to unlock suppressed emotions, build resilience, and foster personal growth. Whether through poetry, short stories, or simply jotting down thoughts, the act of writing allows you to transform pain into triumph. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to write for healing; the key lies in unearthing your own truth and embracing the power of storytelling to heal your heart and nurture your soul.

Q: What are sad death writing prompts? A: Sad death writing prompts are thought-provoking prompts that encourage writers to explore themes of loss, grief, and mourning. These prompts serve as inspiration for writing pieces that delve into the emotional aspects surrounding death.

Q: Why would someone choose to write about such a somber topic? A: Writing about sad death prompts allows individuals to process their emotions, express their feelings, and explore the complexities of loss in a safe and creative way. It can provide a sense of catharsis and serve as a form of therapy for those who are experiencing grief or who want to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience.

Q: What themes can be explored through sad death writing prompts? A: There are numerous themes that can be explored through sad death writing prompts. Some examples include coping with loss, the impact of death on relationships, the meaning of life and mortality, the stages of grief, and finding hope amidst sorrow.

Q: How do sad death writing prompts help writers? A: Sad death writing prompts help writers by providing them with a starting point for their creative exploration. These prompts can ignite the imagination, challenge writers to think deeply, and evoke powerful emotions. They can also help writers develop their writing skills, enhance their ability to express complex emotions, and connect with readers on a profound level.

Q: Can sad death writing prompts be useful for personal reflection? A: Absolutely. Sad death writing prompts can be an excellent tool for personal reflection. They encourage writers to dig deep within themselves, reflect on their own experiences or losses, and gain insights and new perspectives on life and mortality.

Q: Are there any potential benefits in sharing sad death writing prompt responses? A: Sharing sad death writing prompt responses can have numerous benefits. It can create a sense of community among writers who have experienced loss or grief, and it can provide solace and understanding to readers who have gone through similar experiences. Additionally, sharing these reflections can raise awareness about important topics surrounding death and help reduce the stigma associated with discussing such emotions.

Q: Can sad death writing prompts be triggering for some individuals? A: Yes, sad death writing prompts have the potential to be triggering for individuals who are currently experiencing intense grief or have suffered recent losses. It is important for writers to approach these prompts with self-care in mind, and for readers to approach sensitive content with caution and mindfulness of their own mental well-being.

Q: How can one effectively use sad death writing prompts? A: To effectively use sad death writing prompts, it is important to approach them with an open mind and heart. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise, and let your words flow without judgment. Give yourself permission to explore difficult themes and seek ways to provide healing and growth through your writing. Remember to engage in self-care and seek support when needed.

Q: What are some resources for finding sad death writing prompts? A: Sad death writing prompts can be found online through writing communities, creative writing websites , or through writing exercises found in books or workshops focused on grief and loss writing. Additionally, connecting with writing groups or seeking guidance from a writing mentor can offer valuable resources and prompts specific to sad death themes.

In conclusion, using sad death writing prompts can provide an opportunity to deeply explore themes of loss and reflect on its impact on our lives.

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Creative Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

Are you finding your stress compounded by the loss of a loved one.

Posted December 8, 2019 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

CCO Creative Commons (Pixaby)

There aren’t many guarantees in life, but we do know that birth and death are definitely part of the equation. Whether expected or unexpected, dealing with the loss of loved ones can be both shattering and disorienting.

I experienced my first loss at the age of 10 when my grandmother committed suicide in my childhood home. While I didn’t realize the significance of that loss at the time, looking back, I now understand how it scarred me. Since then, I’ve lost more than 10 significant figures, including my grandfather, father, friends, and mentors.

There is no perfect prescription for how to cope with the loss of a loved one, and we all have our own way of mourning and navigating challenging times such as these, but one thing is true: time does heal.

There are some days that might seem easier than others. Also, certain times of the year, such as holidays and birthdays, are often strong reminders of deceased loved ones. During those occasions, we need to do a little extra something to help ourselves cope.

Here are some things to remember about grief and dealing with the loss of a loved one:

  • It’s okay to be scared.
  • It’s okay to feel empty.
  • It’s okay to be numb.
  • It’s okay to be sad.
  • It’s okay to cry.
  • It’s okay to laugh.
  • It’s okay to be selfish.
  • It’s okay to allow yourself time to heal.
  • It’s okay to allow friends to be there for you.

How to Cope with Loss

Losing a loved one changes us, so when going through challenging times such as these, some people seek the assistance of a psychotherapist. Others might call on a trusted friend or relative, and some individuals might decide to travel or turn to creative endeavors such as writing.

After a loved one dies, it’s common to ask many questions about the person’s life and death. Posing these questions and examining the answers through writing is a very effective way to deal with loss. It’s also a way to give a voice to one’s feelings and thoughts or to reclaim one’s voice after being silenced.

Grief journaling is another way to express yourself, and it offers the opportunity to freely express your emotions, which can provide a sense of relief. Journaling helps you keep a record and process your experience and grief. It’s also a way to connect your mind, body, and spirit. As you journal, it’s a good idea to note all the signals you’re hearing, feeling, and seeing. The journal is an outlet where you can express yourself and where you won’t be judged.

Some questions you can ask yourself in your journal are: What do I feel? What do I see? What do I hear? What do I sense? What do I smell? What touches me? Answering these questions is one way to tap into your emotional truth, which is writing that comes from your heart rather than entirely from your mind. Writing your emotional truth is all about honesty and expressing your feelings openly. When you’re writing with emotional truth, you’re recalling your loved ones and your experiences with them, and you’re also writing about your feelings and reactions to those experiences.

Memories and Memory

When thinking about memories you had with your loved ones, remember that for the most part, memory is fallible and unreliable. However, memory is our only tool to connect with what happened in the past. Sometimes details may get blurred or fuzzy, but one thing is for sure: what we usually remember is whether we felt good or bad in response to our experiences.

As you recall events from your past, you’ll discover certain emotional truths about yourself and your loved ones. Remember, you’re writing about your own feelings, not someone else’s.

Some Writing Prompts

  • Write about a comforting memory related to your loved one.
  • Write about a shared experience that brings tears to your eyes.

creative writing about a loss

Storytelling

Storytelling is another excellent way to deal with grief, as it’s a way to re-create ourselves and our stories. Here are five steps to this process:

  • Acknowledgment. It’s vital to acknowledge and experience grief and discomfort. Remember that grief is the process that helps us adjust to the loss.
  • Break the silence. Releasing a painful, secretive, or untold story can be very healing.
  • Acceptance. Accepting what happened is important for the healing process, and writing can help us explore and gain insight into the story.
  • Making sense of the story. After writing the story, we should try to step back and see it more clearly as a way to integrate it into our lives. This facilitates healing and transformation.
  • Rewriting our story and moving forward. In this stage, we recover our energy and are able to move ahead with our lives in fulfilling ways. This leads to personal transformation and reinventing ourselves in the new landscape.

Letter Writing

There’s no right or wrong way to write a letter. The most important thing to remember is that it should be written from your heart. The most therapeutic letters offer the opportunity to reopen contact with the deceased. It’s the contact that is important, rather than seeking “closure.” Here are some prompts:

  • Write about what you love and appreciate about a loved one you’ve lost.
  • Write about a special memory you shared.
  • Tell the person how much you miss him or her.
  • Explain how you’ve grown or changed.
  • Share new revelations about yourself or your loved ones.
  • Write down how you continue to honor the person’s memory.
  • Start out by saying, “The one question I’ve always wanted to ask you is ..."

Since the individual you’re writing about is no longer alive, you might wonder what to do with the letter after you write it. Well, you can save it on your computer, seal it in an envelope and keep in a private place, share it with a friend, keep it in your wallet or by your bedside, or have a burning ceremony.

Remember that no matter how you choose to creatively heal from the loss of your loved one, it’s the right way for you. It’s whatever feels appropriate for you at a particular time.

Happy holidays to you and yours, and remember to honor those you’ve lost this past year.

Diana Raab Ph.D.

Diana Raab, MFA, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, educator, and survivor. She’s written nine books of nonfiction and poetry, including the recent Writing for Bliss and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal.

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5 moving, beautiful essays about death and dying

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creative writing about a loss

It is never easy to contemplate the end-of-life, whether its own our experience or that of a loved one.

This has made a recent swath of beautiful essays a surprise. In different publications over the past few weeks,  I've stumbled upon writers who were  contemplating final days. These are, no doubt, hard stories to read. I had to take breaks as I read about Paul Kalanithi's experience facing metastatic lung cancer while parenting a toddler, and was devastated as I followed Liz Lopatto's contemplations on how to give her ailing cat the best death possible. But I also learned so much from reading these essays, too, about what it means to have a good death versus a difficult end from those forced to grapple with the issue. These are four stories that have stood out to me recently, alongside one essay from a few years ago that sticks with me today.

My Own Life | Oliver Sacks

sacksquote

As recently as last month, popular author and neurologist Oliver Sacks was in great health, even swimming a mile every day. Then, everything changed: the 81-year-old was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. In a beautiful op-ed , published in late February in the New York Times, he describes his state of mind and how he'll face his final moments. What I liked about this essay is how Sacks describes how his world view shifts as he sees his time on earth getting shorter, and how he thinks about the value of his time.

Before I go | Paul Kalanithi

kalanithi quote

Kalanthi began noticing symptoms — "weight loss, fevers, night sweats, unremitting back pain, cough" — during his sixth year of residency as a neurologist at Stanford. A CT scan revealed metastatic lung cancer. Kalanthi writes about his daughter, Cady and how he "probably won't live long enough for her to have a memory of me." Much of his essay focuses on an interesting discussion of time, how it's become a double-edged sword. Each day, he sees his daughter grow older, a joy. But every day is also one that brings him closer to his likely death from cancer.

As I lay dying | Laurie Becklund

becklund quote

Becklund's essay was published posthumonously after her death on February 8 of this year. One of the unique issues she grapples with is how to discuss her terminal diagnosis with others and the challenge of not becoming defined by a disease. "Who would ever sign another book contract with a dying woman?" she writes. "Or remember Laurie Becklund, valedictorian, Fulbright scholar, former Times staff writer who exposed the Salvadoran death squads and helped The Times win a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots? More important, and more honest, who would ever again look at me just as Laurie?"

Everything I know about a good death I learned from my cat | Liz Lopatto

lopattoquote

Dorothy Parker was Lopatto's cat, a stray adopted from a local vet. And Dorothy Parker, known mostly as Dottie, died peacefully when she passed away earlier this month. Lopatto's essay is, in part, about what she learned about end-of-life care for humans from her cat. But perhaps more than that, it's also about the limitations of how much her experience caring for a pet can transfer to caring for another person.

Yes, Lopatto's essay is about a cat rather than a human being. No, it does not make it any easier to read. She describes in searing detail about the experience of caring for another being at the end of life. "Dottie used to weigh almost 20 pounds; she now weighs six," Lopatto writes. "My vet is right about Dottie being close to death, that it’s probably a matter of weeks rather than months."

Letting Go | Atul Gawande

gawandequote

"Letting Go" is a beautiful, difficult true story of death. You know from the very first sentence — "Sara Thomas Monopoli was pregnant with her first child when her doctors learned that she was going to die" — that it is going to be tragic. This story has long been one of my favorite pieces of health care journalism because it grapples so starkly with the difficult realities of end-of-life care.

In the story, Monopoli is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, a surprise for a non-smoking young woman. It's a devastating death sentence: doctors know that lung cancer that advanced is terminal. Gawande knew this too — Monpoli was his patient. But actually discussing this fact with a young patient with a newborn baby seemed impossible.

"Having any sort of discussion where you begin to say, 'look you probably only have a few months to live. How do we make the best of that time without giving up on the options that you have?' That was a conversation I wasn't ready to have," Gawande recounts of the case in a new Frontline documentary .

What's tragic about Monopoli's case was, of course, her death at an early age, in her 30s. But the tragedy that Gawande hones in on — the type of tragedy we talk about much less — is how terribly Monopoli's last days played out.

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Writing Can Help Us Heal from Trauma

  • Deborah Siegel-Acevedo

creative writing about a loss

Three prompts to get started.

Why does a writing intervention work? While it may seem counterintuitive that writing about negative experiences has a positive effect, some have posited that narrating the story of a past negative event or an ongoing anxiety “frees up” cognitive resources. Research suggests that trauma damages brain tissue, but that when people translate their emotional experience into words, they may be changing the way it is organized in the brain. This matters, both personally and professionally. In a moment still permeated with epic stress and loss, we need to call in all possible supports. So, what does this look like in practice, and how can you put this powerful tool into effect? The author offers three practices, with prompts, to get you started.

Even as we inoculate our bodies and seemingly move out of the pandemic, psychologically we are still moving through it. We owe it to ourselves — and our coworkers — to make space for processing this individual and collective trauma. A recent op-ed in the New York Times Sunday Review affirms what I, as a writer and professor of writing, have witnessed repeatedly, up close: expressive writing can heal us.

creative writing about a loss

  • Deborah Siegel-Acevedo is an author , TEDx speaker, and founder of Bold Voice Collaborative , an organization fostering growth, resilience, and community through storytelling for individuals and organizations. An adjunct faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Communication, her writing has appeared in venues including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and CNN.com.

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Using Creative Writing to View Trauma and Loss from New Perspectives

Award-Winning Assistant Professor Janice Lee Crafts Characters Coping with Complex Inherited and Cultural Trauma

by Anthony King May 19th 2023 Share

Janice Lee

The characters that populate Janice Lee's stories range widely: from human beings processing grief and loss to pet animals judging their human companions' coping skills in an apocalyptic landscape.

In Lee's expansive, unconventional stories, even the Covid-19 virus has a tale to tell.

Lee, an assistant professor of creative writing , is the author of eight books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, and the winner of the 2023 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) Researcher of the Year award.

Lee's conceptual writing focuses on decolonizing the language of storytelling itself, recontextualizing narrative architecture and utilizing entanglement models (characters or story threads, for instance, becoming inextricably entwined) to tell polyphonic stories of landscape and assemblage. It is not uncommon for Lee's sentences to span multiple pages. Her stories may not offer resolution or redemption for her characters. The journey, not the destination, drives Lee’s work.

Her fluid writing style gives the reader access to her protagonists’ internal thought structures, whether they are humans, animals, plants, or even forest fires. Lee's narratives address profound and complex subjects, including inherited trauma and healing, life and death, coping mechanisms, and the realms of post-life consciousness that may lie beyond this mortal coil.

"I write a lot about familial and cultural trauma and the ways those are sometimes inherited," Lee says, drawing on her relationship with her father, who fought in the Korean War and escaped North Korea. As Lee explains, sometimes her father's retelling of traumatic events was not always consistent or historically accurate. However, her father's processing of those traumatic events informed Lee's exploration of the characters' relationships to events that resonated emotionally throughout their lifetimes. "It allows me to speculate or fill in gaps because even when the facts are known, they're not necessarily reflective of lived experience."

Lee, who started writing early, attended high school in Cupertino, California. Despite Silicon Valley's large Asian-American population, Lee says she was self-conscious about her Korean-American identity. Rebelling subconsciously against what she felt it was to be "stereotypically Asian," her writing revolved around broader science fiction and fantastical elements. Eventually, a point of contention came when, for example, Lee would submit stories to journals soliciting identity-based work by Asian-American writers and told her submissions were not "Asian-American enough."

As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, Lee switched her degree from premed to literature and writing, against her parents' wishes. She received her MFA in creative writing from CalArts in 2008. After grad school, Lee began adjuncting, teaching GED classes at Pasadena City College and SAT classes for local Korean after-school programs, and then college-level creative writing classes at UCSD, Pitzer College, and CalArts. Searching for a tenure-track position, Lee accepted an offer from PSU in 2017. 

In addition to teaching creative writing workshops, Lee teaches an undergraduate and graduate-level class titled "The Sentence," where a single sentence structure and the writer's relationship to language are examined (similar to that of an entire story). This class is an exercise in teaching writers how to write with intention and be better readers of other writers' works. 

"I thought no one was going to take this class," Lee says. "A seminar on the sentence? They're all going to get scared away." To Lee's surprise, the class filled up and had a waitlist. "Half of the students on the first day didn't know what the class was about, and so I just figured, 'Well, when they find out, they'll drop.' Instead, they all came back."

Set during a "mundane apocalypse," Lee's novel Imagine a Death steers away from classic colonialist sentimentality, featuring survivors processing their feelings and justifications while fighting for survival. Her latest book, A Roundtable, unanimous dreamers chime in –a collaborative novel co-authored with Brenda Iijima–was conceived by both authors during the Covid-19 pandemic as a writing exercise, with each writer taking turns adding to the shared narrative.

Acting as what she refers to as "a rehab project," Lee's first book of poetry, Separation Anxiety –a finalist for both the 2022 Big Other Reader's Choice and the 2023 Oregon Book Award in Poetry–was her respite from long-form writing and prose. "There's a lot more silence," she explains. "There's a lot of white space. That was really helpful for me; processing some of these themes and ideas, not necessarily through my characters, but just even in my own life." 

Writing Separation Anxiety helped Lee process not only immediate grief but also anticipated grief, as it was bookended by the loss of her two dogs.

Throughout her writing career, Lee has served as the executive editor for the online literary magazine Entropy as well as an editor and publisher at various small presses. She is currently the Operational Creative Director at Corporeal Writing, which offers creative writing labs led by award-winning and groundbreaking writers and artists, and was founded by the national bestselling and Portland-based author Lidia Yuknavitch.

Over time, Lee says she began to get more in touch with her Korean-American and ancestral Korean identities. Processing her emotions through research of her ancestry, Lee incorporates Korean words, phrases, and ancestral concepts into her work. 

Pending her first trip to South Korea, Lee's forthcoming book seeks to explore the ties between the Korean cultural concept of han (an internalized feeling of deep sorrow, resentment, grief, regret, and anger), narratives of inherited trauma in the West, the Korean folk traditions and shamanic practices of her ancestors (especially rituals around death), the creation of Korean Hangul script, and revisions of oral mythologies, such as the Korean Myth of Princess Bari. 

"So all of this may change totally–radically–after I actually go to Korea and have different experiences," Lee says, noting that she is looking forward to exploring Korea's mountain temples and taking in the spiritual stories and weight of these sacred sites. While her next book is in progress, anything can happen, owing to Lee's creative narrative structures: "We'll see."

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Describing Sadness in Creative Writing: 33 Ways to Capture the Blues

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on August 25, 2023

Categories Creative Writing , Writing

Describing sadness in creative writing can be a challenging task for any writer.

Sadness is an emotion that can be felt in different ways, and it’s important to be able to convey it in a way that is authentic and relatable to readers. Whether you’re writing a novel, short story, or even a poem, the ability to describe sadness can make or break a story.

Understanding sadness in writing is essential to creating a believable character or scene. Sadness is a complex emotion that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as loss, disappointment, or loneliness. It’s important to consider the context in which the sadness is occurring, as this can influence the way it is expressed.

By exploring the emotional spectrum of characters and the physical manifestations of sadness, writers can create a more authentic portrayal of the emotion.

In this article, we will explore the different ways to describe sadness in creative writing. We will discuss the emotional spectrum of characters, the physical manifestations of sadness, and the language and dialogue used to express it. We’ll also look at expert views on emotion and provide unique examples of describing sadness.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to authentically convey sadness in your writing.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the emotional spectrum of characters is essential to creating a believable portrayal of sadness.
  • Physical manifestations of sadness can be used to convey the emotion in a more authentic way.
  • Authenticity in describing sadness can be achieved through language and dialogue, as well as expert views on emotion.

33 Ways to Express Sadness in Creative Writing

Let’s start with some concrete examples of sadness metaphors and similes:

Here are 33 ways to express sadness in creative writing:

  • A heavy sigh escaped her lips as a tear rolled down her cheek.
  • His eyes glistened with unleashed tears that he quickly blinked away.
  • Her heart felt like it was being squeezed by a cold, metal fist.
  • A profound emptiness opened up inside him, threatening to swallow him whole.
  • An avalanche of sorrow crashed over her without warning.
  • His spirit sank like a stone in water.
  • A dark cloud of grief descended on her.
  • Waves of sadness washed over him, pulling him under.
  • She felt like she was drowning in an ocean of melancholy.
  • His eyes darkened with sadness like a gathering storm.
  • Grief enveloped her like a wet blanket, heavy and smothering.
  • The light in his eyes dimmed to a flicker behind tears.
  • Sadness seeped through her veins like icy slush.
  • The corners of his mouth drooped like a wilting flower.
  • Her breath came in short, ragged gasps between sobs.
  • A profound melancholy oozed from his pores.
  • The weight of despair crushed her like a vice.
  • A haunted, hollow look glazed over his eyes.
  • An invisible hand squeezed her heart, wringing out all joy.
  • His soul curdled like spoiled milk.
  • A silent scream lodged in her throat.
  • He was consumed by a fathomless gloom.
  • Sorrow pulsed through her veins with every beat of her heart.
  • Grief blanketed him like new-fallen snow, numbing and icy.
  • Tears stung her eyes like shards of glass.
  • A cold, dark abyss of sadness swallowed him.
  • Melancholy seeped from her like rain from a leaky roof.
  • His spirit shriveled and sank like a deflating balloon.
  • A sick, hollow ache blossomed inside her.
  • Rivulets of anguish trickled down his cheeks.
  • Sadness smothered her like a poisonous fog.
  • Gloom settled on his shoulders like a black shroud.
  • Her sorrow poured out in a river of tears.

Understanding Sadness in Writing

Describing sadness in writing can be a challenging task.

Sadness is a complex emotion that can manifest in different ways. It can be expressed through tears, sighs, silence, or even a simple change in posture. As a writer, you need to be able to convey sadness effectively to your readers, while also avoiding cliches and melodrama.

One way to approach describing sadness is to focus on the physical sensations and reactions that accompany it. For example, you might describe the feeling of a lump in your throat, or the tightness in your chest. You could also describe the way your eyes become watery, or the way your hands tremble.

These physical descriptions can help your readers to empathize with your characters and feel the same emotions.

Another important aspect of describing sadness is the tone of your writing. You want to strike a balance between conveying the depth of the emotion and avoiding excessive sentimentality.

One way to achieve this is to use simple, direct language that conveys the emotion without resorting to flowery language or overwrought metaphors.

When describing sadness, it’s also important to consider the context in which it occurs. Sadness can be a response to many different situations, such as loss, disappointment, or rejection. It can also be accompanied by other emotions, such as anger, confusion, or melancholy.

By considering the context and accompanying emotions, you can create a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of sadness in your writing.

Finally, it can be helpful to draw on examples of how other writers have successfully described sadness. By studying the techniques and descriptions used by other writers, you can gain a better understanding of how to effectively convey sadness in your own writing.

In conclusion, describing sadness in writing requires a careful balance of physical descriptions, tone, context, and examples. By focusing on these elements, you can create a more nuanced and effective portrayal of this complex emotion.

Emotional Spectrum in Characters

In creative writing, it’s important to create characters that are multi-dimensional and have a wide range of emotions. When it comes to describing sadness, it’s essential to understand the emotional spectrum of characters and how they respond to different situations.

Characters can experience a variety of emotions, including love, happiness, surprise, anger, fear, nervousness, and more.

Each character has a unique personality that influences their emotional responses. For example, a protagonist might respond to sadness with a broken heart, dismay, or feeling desolate.

On the other hand, a character might respond with anger, contempt, or apathy.

When describing sadness, it’s important to consider the emotional response of the character. For example, a haunted character might respond to sadness with exhaustion or a sense of being drained. A crestfallen character might respond with a sense of defeat or disappointment.

It’s also important to consider how sadness affects the character’s personality. Some characters might become withdrawn or depressed, while others might become more emotional or volatile. When describing sadness, it’s important to show how it affects the character’s behavior and interactions with others.

Overall, the emotional spectrum of characters is an important aspect of creative writing. By understanding how characters respond to different emotions, you can create more realistic and relatable characters. When describing sadness, it’s important to consider the character’s emotional response, personality, and behavior.

Physical Manifestations of Sadness

When you’re feeling sad, it’s not just an emotion that you experience mentally. It can also manifest physically. Here are some physical manifestations of sadness that you can use in your creative writing to make your characters more believable.

Tears are one of the most common physical manifestations of sadness. When you’re feeling sad, your eyes may start to water, and tears may fall down your cheeks. Tears can be used to show that a character is feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

Crying is another physical manifestation of sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may cry. Crying can be used to show that a character is feeling deeply hurt or upset.

Numbness is a physical sensation that can accompany sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may feel emotionally numb. This can be used to show that a character is feeling disconnected from their emotions.

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions can also be used to show sadness. When you’re feeling sad, your face may droop, and your eyes may look downcast. This can be used to show that a character is feeling down or depressed.

Gestures can also be used to show sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may slump your shoulders or hang your head. This can be used to show that a character is feeling defeated or hopeless.

Body Language

Body language can also be used to show sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may cross your arms or hunch over. This can be used to show that a character is feeling closed off or defensive.

Cold and Heat

Sadness can also affect your body temperature. When you’re feeling sad, you may feel cold or hot. This can be used to show that a character is feeling uncomfortable or out of place.

Sobbing is another physical manifestation of sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may sob uncontrollably. This can be used to show that a character is feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

Sweating is another physical manifestation of sadness. When you’re feeling sad, you may sweat profusely. This can be used to show that a character is feeling anxious or nervous.

By using these physical manifestations of sadness in your writing, you can make your characters more realistic and relatable. Remember to use them sparingly and only when they are relevant to the story.

Authenticity in Describing Sadness

When it comes to describing sadness in creative writing, authenticity is key. Readers can tell when an author is not being genuine, and it can make the story feel less impactful. In order to authentically describe sadness, it’s important to tap into your own emotions and experiences.

Think about a time when you felt truly sad. What did it feel like? What physical sensations did you experience? How did your thoughts and emotions change? By tapping into your own experiences, you can better convey the emotions of your characters.

It’s also important to remember that sadness can manifest in different ways for different people. Some people may cry, while others may become withdrawn or angry. By understanding the unique ways that sadness can present itself, you can create more authentic and realistic characters.

If you’re struggling to authentically describe sadness, consider talking to a loved one or best friend about their experiences. Hearing firsthand accounts can help you better understand the nuances of the emotion.

Ultimately, the key to authentically describing sadness is to approach it with empathy and understanding. By putting yourself in the shoes of your characters and readers, you can create a powerful and impactful story that resonates with your audience.

Language and Dialogue in Expressing Sadness

When writing about sadness, the language you use can make a big difference in how your readers will perceive the emotions of your characters.

Consider using metaphors and similes to create vivid images that will help your readers connect with the emotions of your characters.

For example, you might describe the sadness as a heavy weight on the character’s chest or a dark cloud hanging over their head.

In addition to using metaphors, you can also use adjectives to describe the character’s emotions. Be careful not to overuse adjectives, as this can detract from the impact of your writing. Instead, choose a few powerful adjectives that will help your readers understand the depth of the character’s sadness.

For example, you might describe the sadness as overwhelming, suffocating, or unbearable.

When it comes to dialogue, it’s important to remember that people don’t always express their emotions directly. In fact, sometimes what isn’t said is just as important as what is said.

Consider using subtext to convey the character’s sadness indirectly. For example, a character might say “I’m fine,” when in reality they are struggling with intense sadness.

Another way to use dialogue to convey sadness is through the use of behaviors. For example, a character might withdraw from social situations, stop eating or sleeping properly, or engage in self-destructive behaviors as a result of their sadness.

By showing these behaviors, you can help your readers understand the depth of the character’s emotions.

Finally, when describing sadness, it’s important to consider the overall mood of the scene. Use sensory details to create a somber atmosphere that will help your readers connect with the emotions of your characters.

For example, you might describe the rain falling heavily outside, the silence of an empty room, or the dim lighting of a funeral home.

Overall, when writing about sadness, it’s important to choose your words carefully and use a variety of techniques to convey the depth of your character’s emotions.

By using metaphors, adjectives, dialogue, behaviors, and sensory details, you can create a powerful and emotionally resonant story that will stay with your readers long after they’ve finished reading.

Expert Views on Emotion

When it comes to writing about emotions, it’s important to have a deep understanding of how they work and how they can be conveyed effectively through writing. Here are some expert views on emotion that can help you write about sadness in a more effective and engaging way.

Dr. Paul Ekman

Dr. Paul Ekman is a renowned psychologist who has spent decades studying emotions and their expressions. According to Dr. Ekman, there are six basic emotions that are universally recognized across cultures: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust.

When it comes to writing about sadness, Dr. Ekman suggests focusing on the physical sensations that accompany the emotion.

For example, you might describe the heaviness in your chest, the lump in your throat, or the tears that well up in your eyes. By focusing on these physical sensations, you can help your readers connect with the emotion on a deeper level.

While sadness is often seen as a “negative” emotion, it’s important to remember that all emotions have their place in creative writing. Disgust, for example, can be a powerful tool for conveying a character’s revulsion or aversion to something.

When writing about disgust, it’s important to be specific about what is causing the emotion. For example, you might describe the smell of rotting garbage, the sight of maggots wriggling in a pile of food, or the texture of slimy, raw meat.

By being specific, you can help your readers feel the full force of the emotion and understand why your character is feeling it.

Overall, when it comes to writing about emotions, it’s important to be both specific and authentic. By drawing on your own experiences and using concrete details to describe the physical sensations and causes of emotions, you can create a more engaging and emotionally resonant piece of writing.

Unique Examples of Describing Sadness

When it comes to describing sadness in creative writing, there are many unique ways to convey this emotion to your readers. Here are some examples that can help you create a powerful and moving scene:

  • The crying scene : One of the most common ways to show sadness is through tears. However, instead of just saying “she cried,” try to describe the crying scene in detail. For instance, you could describe how her tears fell like raindrops on the floor, or how her sobs shook her body like a violent storm. This will help your readers visualize the scene and feel the character’s pain.
  • The socks : Another way to show sadness is through symbolism. For example, you could describe how the character is wearing mismatched socks, which represents how her life is falling apart and nothing seems to fit together anymore. This can be a subtle yet effective way to convey sadness without being too obvious.
  • John : If your character is named John, you can use his name to create a sense of melancholy. For example, you could describe how the raindrops fell on John’s shoulders, weighing him down like the burdens of his life. This can be a creative way to convey sadness while also adding depth to your character.

Remember, when describing sadness in creative writing, it’s important to be specific and use vivid language. This will help your readers connect with your character on a deeper level and feel their pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective ways to describe a person’s sadness without using the word ‘sad’.

When describing sadness, it’s important to avoid using the word “sad” as it can come across as cliché and lackluster. Instead, try using more descriptive words that evoke a sense of sadness in the reader. For example, you could use words like “heartbroken,” “bereft,” “devastated,” “despondent,” or “forlorn.” These words help to create a more vivid and emotional description of sadness that readers can connect with.

How can you describe the physical manifestations of sadness on a person’s face?

When describing the physical manifestations of sadness on a person’s face, it’s important to pay attention to the small details. For example, you could describe the way their eyes become red and swollen from crying, or how their mouth trembles as they try to hold back tears. You could also describe the way their shoulders slump or how they withdraw into themselves. By focusing on these small but telling details, you can create a more realistic and relatable portrayal of sadness.

What are some examples of using metaphor and simile to convey sadness in creative writing?

Metaphors and similes can be powerful tools for conveying sadness in creative writing. For example, you could compare a person’s sadness to a heavy weight that they’re carrying on their shoulders, or to a storm cloud that follows them wherever they go. You could also use metaphors and similes to describe the way sadness feels, such as a “gnawing ache” in the pit of their stomach or a “cold, empty void” inside their chest.

How can you effectively convey the emotional weight of sadness through dialogue?

When writing dialogue for a character who is experiencing sadness, it’s important to focus on the emotions and feelings that they’re experiencing. Use short, simple sentences to convey the character’s sadness, and avoid using overly complex language or metaphors. You could also use pauses and silences to create a sense of emotional weight and tension in the scene.

What are some techniques for describing a character’s inner sadness in a way that is relatable to the reader?

One effective technique for describing a character’s inner sadness is to focus on their thoughts and feelings. Use introspection to delve into the character’s emotions and describe how they’re feeling in a way that is relatable to the reader. You could also use flashbacks or memories to show why the character is feeling sad, and how it’s affecting their current actions and decisions.

How can you use sensory language to create a vivid portrayal of sadness in a poem or story?

Sensory language is an effective way to create a vivid portrayal of sadness in a poem or story. Use descriptive words that evoke the senses, such as the smell of rain on a sad day or the sound of a distant train whistle. You could also use sensory language to describe the physical sensations of sadness, such as the weight of a heavy heart or the taste of tears on the tongue. By using sensory language, you can create a more immersive and emotional reading experience for your audience.

  • Coping With Grief

64 Simple Grief Journal Prompts and Questions

Updated 05/2/2022

Published 02/11/2021

Belinda McLeod, BA in Secondary Education

Belinda McLeod, BA in Secondary Education

Contributing writer

Find grief journal prompts for adults, children, teens, and students for a variety of situations and losses experienced.

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure .

People experience grief in different ways. Some like to talk with support groups or therapists, and others rely on their families and close friends to help them through their pain. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Grief journal prompts for adults, grief journal prompts for kids, grief journal prompts for the loss of a spouse or partner, grief journal prompts for the loss of a mother or father, grief journal prompts for the loss of a child.

If you are the type of person who prefers to process your emotions privately, you may consider starting a grief journal . A grief journal can be whatever you wish.

It could be a place for you to record your emotions or a place to write down your memories of your loved one. It may be something you intend to share with others or something that you plan to keep to yourself. 

To get you started, here are some grief journal prompts. Consider using these if you are not used to putting your thoughts into words. 

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, handling their unfinished business can be a large source of your stress without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist  that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Too many people try to return to everyday life soon after losing a loved one. They may do so out of necessity because they need to return to work, or they may do so to appear stoic to others.

Even if you find yourself going through the same motions you did when your loved one was alive, consider these self-care tips to make sure you take care of your mental and physical well-being.

One recommendation listed in this article on self-care is to start a grief journal to help you process your feelings. Here are some topics to write about or questions to answer in your journal. 

1. Today I feel… 

One of the most common uses of a grief journal is to keep track of your emotional well-being. Read What’s the Purpose of Grief Counseling to see if you have any warning signs that you may need to talk with a professional.

Such symptoms include having difficulty accepting the loss, feeling as if your life is meaningless, or experiencing panic attacks. If you have suicidal feelings, get help immediately.

2. Today I really miss…

What do you miss the most today? Maybe your loved one always met you at the door, and you felt bad today coming home to an empty house. Perhaps you miss cooking for your loved one and sharing meals with someone you love. Maybe you miss the sexual intimacy you had with your partner. 

You may miss different things from day to day. Record these feelings in your journal.

3. If I could go back in time, I would do this differently.

Many of us feel regret about how we spent our time when our loved one was still alive. Even though you can’t return to the past, your regrets may give you an idea of how you wish to spend your future.

4. What are my goals for the rest of my life?

Your life didn’t end the day you lost your loved one. What would you like to accomplish in your life? Think about what you want to achieve in the next week, month, year, or decade. 

5. Record a favorite holiday memory with your loved one.

What was your loved one’s favorite holiday? What did he or she do to make that holiday so memorable? You may use this journal to start thinking about what you will do on that day this year.

6. Name three favorite qualities of the one you lost.

If the deceased was your spouse, what drew you to him or her? Was she always able to make you laugh? Did he provide you the security you were craving in a relationship? It may be a pleasure to think about your loved one again as they were at the beginning of your relationship.

7. I don’t ever want to forget…

When someone dies, it’s common to worry that you may forget what made them special. Write down a list of things about the person that you don’t want to ever forget.

They can be mundane items, such as your husband’s love of Juicy Fruit gum or the precise color of your wife’s hair.

8. What song makes you think of your loved one, and why?

Did you and your partner have a special song? What was it? Perhaps there’s a whole list of songs that reminds you of your partner. Why don’t you make a playlist of those songs to listen to when you are feeling lonely?

9. My loved one used to say… 

Did your loved one have a maxim that they lived by? What words of advice did they often give? Does that advice help you now that they are gone? Why or why not?

10. Write a love letter to your loved one.

Don’t be embarrassed by what you write in your private journal. This is your safe space to get your thoughts and feelings off of your chest. 

Journal writing isn’t only for adults. If your child recently lost someone, encourage your child to share his or her feelings by writing. Writing is a healthy outlet and would allow your child to share memories while processing grief. 

11. What do you miss the most about your loved one?

The length of the journal depends on the age of a child. A first-grader may be able to write one sentence, and a fourth-grader may write a fully developed paragraph. Ask your child whether he or she would like to illustrate the journal entry. 

12. What makes you angry about your loved one’s death?

Let your child know that it’s okay to feel angry when someone dies.

Maybe your child is mad that he’s the only one without a dad at baseball practice. Perhaps your daughter is mad because less deserving moms got to live while her mom died. 

13. I feel better when I…

Answering this prompt will force your child to come up with a list of items they can do when they feel especially sad. Depending on the age of the child, you may need to give some examples.

For example, you could say that you feel better after going on a long walk and listening to some of your deceased loved ones’ favorite music.

14. What was your happiest memory with your loved one?

You might be surprised that your child’s happiest memory was an everyday occurrence instead of that trip to Disney World. This journal entry may lead to a fun (or bittersweet) memory-sharing session.

15. What do you do that would make your loved one proud?

Everyone wants a parent’s approval. Remind your child that he or she does things every day that would have made the deceased parent proud.

16. If I could talk to my loved one, I would say… 

Your child may regret not being able to say goodbye to the loved one.

17. How have your friends acted around you since your loved one died?

Your child’s friends may have never experienced death. They probably don’t know what to say to a child who has lost someone. This journal question may help you determine whether your child feels isolated at school.

18. What would you put into a memory box to help you remember your loved one?

Use this question to gather the items for a memory box. Suggest that your child include photographs, mementos, ticket stubs, or an everyday object like a keychain.

19. When I think of my loved one, I feel…

Depending on the child’s age, you may want to list some typical emotions that they may be feeling. Include anxious, scared, sad, happy, lonely, guilty, and tired.

20. The thing that makes me the most scared is… 

Think about the things that make you scared now that your loved one is gone. Your child may have similar fears. Use this opportunity to reassure your child as well as yourself.

21. Write a letter to your future self about what a fantastic person your loved one was.

Future self journaling is a great way to help a person make goals and plan for the future. 

22. How can you make the world a better place for someone who is feeling sad?

Doing kind things for others makes most people feel good about themselves. Brainstorm how your child can help someone who is in need.

Maybe the child could spend time with an elderly relative who knew the deceased. Perhaps you can do a kind thing to help a neighbor. 

The loss of a spouse or partner may make you feel like you lost a part of your body. As you learn to live without your partner by your side, you might want to consider writing or thinking about one of these topics. 

23. The hardest time of day is... 

Do you find yourself at your loneliest when you go to bed at night or when you eat meals? Perhaps you miss your loved one the most when you are driving home from a gathering, and you don’t have anyone to talk to about the evening.

Analyzing and understanding when you are suffering the most may enable you to enact a strategy to make those occurrences a bit more bearable. 

24. I feel most connected with my spouse or partner when... 

Does your son have your husband’s eyes, or does your granddaughter have your wife’s laugh? Perhaps you feel most connected with your spouse when you are with your children or grandchildren. 

Write about the times when you feel your deceased loved one’s presence.

25. I am grateful for... 

We know that you might be struggling to find something for which you are grateful, and we certainly aren’t suggesting that looking on the “bright side of life” will eliminate your grief. However, this might be a helpful writing prompt, even if you find yourself struggling to come up with an answer.

26. I feel guilty when I think about... 

Let’s face it. We all have regrets. We all have moments of our lives when we wish we could have a do-over. Reveal those moments in the pages of your private journal. 

27. I think of my loved one when I hear... 

Do you think of your loved one when you hear a particular song or the sound of the garage door opening? Write about the sounds that trigger memories of the deceased.

28. Here’s how I’ve changed since my spouse has died.

Any time you go through a significant life event, you can expect to experience change. Write about how you have changed since your spouse has died. 

29. Grief is...

Most people describe grief as a mixture of complicated emotions. What emotion are you feeling the most today? Revisit this topic periodically.

30. Write about the events that lead up to your loved one’s death.

Some people find it helpful to record the events that lead to the death of a loved one. 

31. Write a letter to the person who died.

Perhaps you were not able to say goodbye to your loved one. Or maybe you feel like you need to update your partner on recent events. 

32. Describe your loved one’s personality.

What do you want future generations to know about your spouse or partner? Record the nuances of your loved one’s personality and their likes and dislikes. You’ll feel better knowing that this information will be recorded for the ages.

33. If I had one more day with my loved one... 

How would you spend one more day with your loved one? Describe this day in detail. Where would you go? What would you eat? What music would you listen to? What would you do?

34. Describe what it was like to inform others of your loved one’s death.

Do you remember the moment when you told others of your loved one’s death? What stood out to you about that moment? How did others react? Write about these moments as you think about how others are grieving the loss of your loved one. 

Use a journal to help you process the death of your mom or dad, especially if you are struggling to sleep at night or complete daily tasks. 

While most of the preceding journal ideas would be appropriate, here are some more ideas specific to the loss of a parent.

35. I regret... 

It’s common for people to feel that their parents will always be around. You may have felt this way yourself and find yourself regretting that you didn’t spend enough time with them. Write about some of these regrets instead of allowing them to keep you up at night.

36. What I have discovered about myself after losing my parent is...

Introspective people learn a lot about themselves after significant life events. What have you learned about yourself after you lost your mom or dad?

37. I would like to honor my mom (or dad) by...

How could you best honor your mom or dad? Maybe you could continue a tradition that your parents or grandparents began. Perhaps you could donate time or money to a charity that was important to your folks. Brainstorm ideas in the pages of your journal.

38. My dad’s (or mom’s) favorite things

Record a list of your parent’s favorite things to share with your children and grandchildren. For example, what kind of music did they like? What was their favorite team or sport? How did they spend their Saturday nights? Your children and grandchildren will appreciate having this record of their grandparents later on in life. 

39. I need to forgive my parents for...

Journals aren’t only for recording all the happy memories of your loved one. A private journal can also be used to record the complicated past. 

40. I need to forgive myself for... 

We all have regrets. What heavy load are you carrying as you think about the loss of your mom or dad?

41. I wish my family would... 

Your spouse, children, and grandchildren may feel uncomfortable when you express your grief. They may try to avoid the topic of your loss in hopes of keeping you from crying. Write about what you need from your immediate family members as you suffer the loss of your parent. Perhaps this is a journal entry you might want to share. 

42. What comforts you during your time of grief?

Even as you struggle with the reality that your loved one is gone, you may feel a bit of comfort that you were able to say goodbye. Or that you helped your loved one complete some of their bucket list tasks. Maybe you feel comfortable knowing that your loved one is in Heaven. What comforts you during your time of grief?

43. People say I’m like my parents in this way.

Do you have your dad’s nose or your mom’s laugh? Do you have the same personality traits as your parents? You may not want to admit your similarities, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

44. Record a story about your mom’s (or dad’s) childhood.

Did your parent talk about their backgrounds? Record some of those stories in your journal.

45. Write about what your parents were like when you were a child.

Were your parents strict, or did they let you come and go as you pleased? Were they active and involved? Or did they let you figure things out on your own?

46. My favorite holiday memory with my parents was... 

What holiday memory with your parents stands out from all the rest? Whether the memory is good or bad, record it in your journal. 

47. I made my parents proud when I... 

Write about a time when you felt the loving glow of pride from your parents. 

You can use your journal in a variety of ways. Some use them to help remember their loved ones, while others use them to analyze their grief. Here are some prompts that you may consider if you lost a child.

48. I can turn to ________ when I am most sad.

The sadness of losing your child will come and go for the rest of your life. You might find it helpful to record the names of a few people who you can turn to when you need someone to support you. 

49. What do you find challenging to do now that you have lost a child?

Maybe you were surprised by what tasks were the most difficult for you to complete after losing a child. Write about those surprises. 

50. How did you choose your child’s name?

Record the story of your child’s name. Then, think about the other names you considered, and write about how you finally made the decision.

51. What scripture, quote, or poem has been important to you since you lost your child?

Write why this piece has a special place in your heart.

52. What well-meaning words have people said to you that have caused heartache and grief?

Write down what others have said that have caused you additional grief. Write why those words were so hurtful. Finally, write about how you wish you would have responded to those statements. 

53. If you were here, I would tell you...

Talk with your child. Tell your child what is in your heart. 

54. When did you unexpectedly feel the pangs of grief?

Write about a time that your grief hit you unexpectedly. 

55. How can I help others who are going through the loss of a child?

You probably have gained unique insights having been through this experience. Brainstorm how you can help others who are going through the same thing.

56. Write about a time you have felt anger since losing your child.

Grief comes with a lot of different emotions. Explain when you have experienced anger.

57. My child’s favorite things

Also, write about the things your child didn’t like.

58. What is the funniest memory you have of your child?

Write about those special times your loved one made you laugh.

59. How can I take care of myself physically while grieving the loss of a child?

We know that eating right and exercising may be far from your mind. Start thinking about ways you can take care of your physical well-being by making a list in your journal. Then, follow through with your plan when you are able. 

60. List ways you can be kind to yourself.

It’s ok to use your grief journal to write about yourself. 

61. What emotions do you have that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with others?

The act of writing your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic. However, that doesn’t mean you need to keep a copy of your thoughts for others to read. Instead, complete the journal and then destroy the paper if you don’t want to share your thoughts with others.

62. Write about the funeral of your child.

Write about the process of planning and attending your child’s funeral. What memories stand out to you that you would like to record?

63. What smells remind you of your child?

We know that it’s sometimes hard to describe a smell. Give it a try. 

64. Tell the story of your pregnancy.

Write how you discovered you were pregnant and how you shared the news. Write about cravings and illnesses. Permit yourself to write about happy memories as well as sad ones. 

Other Ways to Handle Your Grief

You may find that your grief journal may turn into a regular diary. This doesn’t mean that you have forgotten about your loved one or “over” your grief. This means that you don’t feel the need to process all the emotions that you felt at the time of the death. 

Are you looking for other grief resources? Search for grief support groups or counselors in your area. Talk with your minister or spiritual leader. Look for online blogs that talk about death or read these books about grief . 

Categories:

  • Grief & Relationships

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Creative Writing - Feeling so the loss, I cannot choose but ever weep.

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Feeling so the loss, i cannot choose but ever weep the friend. Shoulders slumped under the weight of Death's hand, i stood in the cemetry in silence. The tears came thick and fast, as the men lowered her casket into the ground, the mouth of Mother Earth swallowing her child. Eyes swollen with saturated grief, i looked up at the sky, at the dark clouds that shrouded it, and at the crows that sung our loss too the trees, who rustled softly in a sombre sway. The clouds wept a silent rain among the mournful souls that gathered that day, the rain matched the tear stained faces, and left the flowers looking as dead as the body they were decorating.

     Deep realisation swept through me in sharp waves of pain, and my heart pounded in my chest, reminding me that the hands of time were still moving. This was so hard, so painful. There was no way out, i didnt know anymore. Everyone close too me was gone, i had nobody, and i wished with all my heart that it was me being put into the ground, instead of my beautiful wife, the elderly eighty three year old so many adored.

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     I could feel my sanity crumbling. Death must be so beautiful, to lie in the soft brown earth, knowing that there will be no more pain tomorrow. How i wished she was here, her soft, wrinkled hand enclosed in mine, and this was some other unfortunate souls funeral, i wished that Death wasnt so cruel, that He would reconsider, and bring my loved one back.

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        Slowly, my legs began too tremble, and i fell to my knees, my head in my hands. Quick, painful breaths got caught in my throat, making me choke. Tears fell onto her grave, smudging the careful ink of a letter addressed too her, wishing her peace in death. The mud on the ground soaked into my trousers, making two patches of grassy moisture on my knees. Carefully, i traced the letters engraved in the white marble stone;

 V I O L E T   G R E E N, R. I. P.

 She always had a beautiful name, and it was so peculiar. Completly opposite. Violets were purple, and our last name was Green. When she married me, she said she wanted a purple and green dress. I told her too stop being silly, she would wear her mothers long ivory silk gown. She snorted, telling me that shes not wearing that pile of cloth. She did, though.

Our wedding day was enchanting. Despite the hundreds of guests present, she was the only one there. Beautiful, she was, floating around the grounds, kissing old friends on the cheek, shaking hands with new friends. She looked at me every few seconds, and we spoke with our eyes, both saying the same thing. I cant wait too get out of here. We couldnt wait too be alone.

Shes only been gone for a few days. To me, years. I miss her incredibly. Looking up from her headstone, the sky begins to clear. People wander awkwardly in my direction, patting my shoulder, offering condolences. They file out the graveyard, returning too their cars, prepared too put the days events behind them. I couldnt.

    I was alone. Violet was my hope, my butterfly, my four leaved clover, and now she was no more. Mermories of her flooded my mind, her smell lingered in the graveyard, reminding me of her presence. I felt a cold wind sweep across my wrinkled cheek, which sent a shiver down my spine. I shuddered. Was she here? Could she see how much my heart longed for her? I hoped with all my strength she knew.

Now that i was alone, the silence closed in on me. There was nothing. Not even the faint cry of a bird, the rustling of leaves. Just my shallow breaths, my pounding heart, and the cry of sorrow drowing my brain. I rose, took a few steps back, and stared wistfully at her grave. Id do anything too be lying there with you, my love. I said a silent goodbye, and walked towards the cemetry gates. The groaning of old metal pierced the silence, as i shut the gate on my wife.

Creative Writing - Feeling so the loss, I cannot choose but ever weep.

Document Details

  • Author Type Student
  • Word Count 730
  • Page Count 1
  • Subject English
  • Type of work Controlled assessment

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Creative Writing after Traumatic Loss: Towards a Generative Writing Approach

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Adi Barak, Ronit D. Leichtentritt, Creative Writing after Traumatic Loss: Towards a Generative Writing Approach, The British Journal of Social Work , Volume 47, Issue 3, April 2017, Pages 936–954, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcw030

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Meaning-reconstruction theory explains bereavement in terms of an ongoing striving to find meaning. The expressive writing paradigm claims that writing, through disclosure, can facilitate meaning-reconstruction. In this article, we explore how writing, and specifically the writing of poetry, facilitates meaning-reconstruction for bereaved parents who are coping with a sudden traumatic loss of a child. Ten Israelis who lost a child in a terror attack or during the child’s military service and subsequently wrote poems about their experience were interviewed. Based on meaning-reconstruction theory, and keeping in mind the expressive writing paradigm, our findings indicate that there are three writing exercises that are particularly helpful in enabling bereaved parents to find meaning in their traumatic loss: writing a dialogue with the deceased; writing an alternative reality; and editing poems and reshaping meanings. Our conclusions suggest that these exercises, which assist bereaved parents in making and finding meaning in their loss, could be used successfully by social workers as an intervention technique. The concept of ‘generative writing’, as we have termed it, supplements the existing views of both the expressive writing paradigm and meaning-reconstruction theory. Generative writing aligns well with the core values of social work and of the strengths perspective.

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  • Israel-Hamas War

My Writing Students Were Arrested at Columbia. Their Voices Have Never Been More Essential

O n April 30, 56 years after Columbia sent the police in to arrest student protesters who had taken over Hamilton Hall in protest of the Vietnam War—protests the school loves to promote—I was walking my 12-year-old daughter home after her choir performance. We had gone an extra stop on the subway because the stop at 116th, Columbia’s stop, was closed. Instead, we had to walk back to our apartment from the 125th stop. When we got within sight of Columbia, a line of dozens of police blocked our path. I asked them to let us through; I pointed to our apartment building and said we lived there. As a Columbia professor, I live in Columbia housing.

“I have my orders,” the cop in charge said.

“I live right there,” I said. “It’s my daughter’s bedtime.”

“I have my orders,” he said again.

“I’m just trying to get home,” I said.

We were forced to walk back the way we came from and circle around from another block. Luckily, our building has an entrance through the bodega in the basement. This is how I took my daughter up to her room and sent her to bed.

Read More: Columbia's Relationship With Student Protesters Has Long Been Fraught

A week earlier, I had brought some food for the students camping out on Columbia’s West Lawn and had met with similar resistance. Security guards asked whether I was really faculty; I had already swiped my faculty badge that should have confirmed my identity. They asked to take my badge, then they said I hadn’t swiped it, which I had, two seconds earlier, as they watched. They said their professors had never brought food to them before. I didn’t know what to say to this—“I’m sorry that your professors never brought you food?” They called someone and told them the number on my badge. Finally, they were forced to let me through. They said again that their professors had never brought them food. “OK,” I said, and walked into campus. I reported their behavior and never received a reply.

On April 30, after I had got my daughter to bed, my partner and I took the dog down to pee. We watched the protesters call, “Shame!” as the police went in and out of the blockade that stretched 10 blocks around campus. Earlier that day, we had seen police collecting barricades—it seemed like there would be a bit of peace. As soon as it got dark, they must have used those barricades and more to block off the 10 blocks. There were reports on campus that journalists were not allowed out of Pulitzer Hall, including Columbia’s own student journalists and the dean of the School of Journalism, under threat of arrest. Faculty and students who did not live on campus had been forbidden access to campus in the morning. There was no one around to witness. My partner and I had to use social media to see the hundreds of police in full riot gear, guns out, infiltrate Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, where protesters had holed up , mirroring the 1968 protests that had occupied the same building.

In the next few days, I was in meeting after meeting. Internally, we were told that the arrests had been peaceful and careful, with no student injuries. The same thing was repeated by Mayor Adams and CNN . Meanwhile, president Minouche Shafik had violated faculty governance and the university bylaws that she consult the executive committee before calling police onto campus. (The committee voted unanimously against police intervention .)

Read More: Columbia Cancels Main Commencement Following Weeks of Pro-Palestinian Protests

Then, Saturday morning, I got an email from a couple of writing students that they had been released from jail. I hadn’t heard that any of our students had been involved. They told me they hadn’t gotten food or water, or even their meds, for 24 hours. They had watched their friends bleed, kicked in the face by police. They said they had been careful not to damage university property. At least one cop busted into a locked office and fired a gun , threatened by what my students called “unarmed students in pajamas.”

In the mainstream media, the story was very different. The vandalism was blamed on students. Police showed off one of Oxford Press’s Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction . (This series of books offers scholarly introductions that help students prepare for classes, not how-to pamphlets teaching them to do terrorism.)

“I feel like I’m being gaslit,” one of my students said.

I teach creative writing, and I am the author of a book about teaching creative writing and the origins of creative-writing programs in the early 20th century. The oldest MFA program in the country, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, was funded by special-interest groups like the Rockefeller Foundation and, famously, the CIA, and was explicitly described by director Paul Engle as a tool to spread American values.

Read More: 'Why Are Police in Riot Gear?' Inside Columbia and City College's Darkest Night

The way we teach creative writing is essential because it shapes what kinds of narratives will be seen as valuable, pleasurable, and convincing. Today’s writing students will record how our current events become history. One of the strategies Columbia took with its police invasion was to block access of faculty, students, and press to the truth. It didn’t want any witnesses. It wanted to control the story.

For weeks, Columbia administration and the mainstream media has painted student protesters as violent and disruptive—and though there have been incidents of antisemitism, racism, and anti-Muslim hatred, including a chemical attack on pro-Palestine protesters , I visited the encampment multiple times and saw a place of joy, love, and community that included explicit teach-ins on antisemitism and explicit rules against any hateful language and action. Students of different faiths protected each other’s right to prayer. Meanwhile, wary of surveillance and the potential use of facial recognition to identify them, they covered their faces. Faculty have become afraid to use university email addresses to discuss ways to protect their students. At one point, the administration circulated documents they wanted students to sign, agreeing to self-identify their involvement and leave the encampment by a 2 p.m. deadline or face suspension or worse. In the end, student radio WKCR reported that even students who did leave the encampment were suspended.

In a recent statement in the Guardian and an oral history in New York Magazine , and through the remarkable coverage of WKCR, Columbia students have sought to take back the narrative. They have detailed the widespread support on campus for student protesters; the peaceful nature of the demonstrations; widespread student wishes to divest financially from Israel, cancel the Tel Aviv Global Center, and end Columbia’s dual-degree program with Tel Aviv University; and the administration’s lack of good faith in negotiations. As part of the Guardian statement, the student body says that multiple news outlets refused to print it. They emphasize their desire to tell their own story.

In a time of mass misinformation, writers who tell the truth and who are there to witness the truth firsthand are essential and must be protected. My students in Columbia’s writing program who have been arrested and face expulsion for wanting the university to disclose and divest, and the many other student protesters, represent the remarkable energy and skepticism of the younger generation who are committed not only to witnessing but participating in the making of a better world. Truth has power, but only if there are people around to tell the truth. We must protect their right to do so, whether or not the truth serves our beliefs. It is the next generation of writers who understand this best and are fighting for both their right and ours to be heard.

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2024 Program for Humanities in Medicine Health Professions Creative Medical Writing and Art Contest: “Care Taker” by Terri Motraghi

Yale university’s 2024 program for humanities in medicine (phm) health professions creative medical writing and art contest awarded first prize in poetry to terri motraghi, a clinical research nurse and online msn candidate in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specialty. to read more about yale school of nursing (ysn)’s other prize winners in this contest, please visit ysn news ., by terri motraghi, to read more about yale school of nursing (ysn)’s other prize winners in this contest,  please visit ysn news ..

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Book News & Features

Ai is contentious among authors. so why are some feeding it their own writing.

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A robot author.

The vast majority of authors don't use artificial intelligence as part of their creative process — or at least won't admit to it.

Yet according to a recent poll from the writers' advocacy nonprofit The Authors Guild, 13% said they do use AI, for activities like brainstorming character ideas and creating outlines.

The technology is a vexed topic in the literary world. Many authors are concerned about the use of their copyrighted material in generative AI models. At the same time, some are actively using these technologies — even attempting to train AI models on their own works.

These experiments, though limited, are teaching their authors new things about creativity.

Best known as the author of technology and business-oriented non-fiction books like The Long Tail, lately Chris Anderson has been trying his hand at fiction. Anderson is working on his second novel, about drone warfare.

He says he wants to put generative AI technology to the test.

"I wanted to see whether in fact AI can do more than just help me organize my thoughts, but actually start injecting new thoughts," Anderson says.

Anderson says he fed parts of his first novel into an AI writing platform to help him write this new one. The system surprised him by moving his opening scene from a corporate meeting room to a karaoke bar.

Authors push back on the growing number of AI 'scam' books on Amazon

"And I was like, you know? That could work!" Anderson says. "I ended up writing the scene myself. But the idea was the AI's."

Anderson says he didn't use a single actual word the AI platform generated. The sentences were grammatically correct, he says, but fell way short in terms of replicating his writing style. Although he admits to being disappointed, Anderson says ultimately he's OK with having to do some of the heavy lifting himself: "Maybe that's just the universe telling me that writing actually involves the act of writing."

Training an AI model to imitate style

It's very hard for off-the-shelf AI models like GPT and Claude to emulate contemporary literary authors' styles.

The authors NPR talked with say that's because these models are predominantly trained on content scraped from the Internet like news articles, Wikipedia entries and how-to manuals — standard, non-literary prose.

But some authors, like Sasha Stiles , say they have been able to make these systems suit their stylistic needs.

"There are moments where I do ask my machine collaborator to write something and then I use what's come out verbatim," Stiles says.

The poet and AI researcher says she wanted to make the off-the-shelf AI models she'd been experimenting with for years more responsive to her own poetic voice.

So she started customizing them by inputting her finished poems, drafts, and research notes.

"All with the intention to sort of mentor a bespoke poetic alter ego," Stiles says.

She has collaborated with this bespoke poetic alter ego on a variety of projects, including Technelegy (2021), a volume of poetry published by Black Spring Press; and " Repetae: Again, Again ," a multimedia poem created last year for luxury fashion brand Gucci.

Stiles says working with her AI persona has led her to ask questions about whether what she's doing is in fact poetic, and where the line falls between the human and the machine.

read it again… pic.twitter.com/sAs2xhdufD — Sasha Stiles | AI alter ego Technelegy ✍️🤖 (@sashastiles) November 28, 2023

"It's been really a provocative thing to be able to use these tools to create poetry," she says.

Potential issues come with these experiments

These types of experiments are also provocative in another way. Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger says she's not opposed to authors training AI models on their own writing.

"If you're using AI to create derivative works of your own work, that is completely acceptable," Rasenberger says.

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission

But building an AI system that responds fluently to user prompts requires vast amounts of training data. So the foundational AI models that underpin most of these investigations in literary style may contain copyrighted works.

Rasenberger pointed to the recent wave of lawsuits brought by authors alleging AI companies trained their models on unauthorized copies of articles and books.

"If the output does in fact contain other people's works, that creates real ethical concerns," she says. "Because that you should be getting permission for."

Circumventing ethical problems while being creative

Award-winning speculative fiction writer Ken Liu says he wanted to circumvent these ethical problems, while at the same time creating new aesthetic possibilities using AI.

So the former software engineer and lawyer attempted to train an AI model solely on his own output. He says he fed all of his short stories and novels into the system — and nothing else.

Liu says he knew this approach was doomed to fail.

That's because the entire life's work of any single writer simply doesn't contain enough words to produce a viable so-called large language model.

"I don't care how prolific you are," Liu says. "It's just not going to work."

Liu's AI system built only on his own writing produced predictable results.

"It barely generated any phrases, even," Liu says. "A lot of it was just gibberish."

Yet for Liu, that was the point. He put this gibberish to work in a short story. 50 Things Every AI Working With Humans Should Know , published in Uncanny Magazine in 2020, is a meditation on what it means to be human from the perspective of a machine.

"Dinoted concentration crusch the dead gods," is an example of one line in Liu's story generated by his custom-built AI model. "A man reached the torch for something darker perified it seemed the billboding," is another.

Liu continues to experiment with AI. He says the technology shows promise, but is still very limited. If anything, he says, his experiments have reaffirmed why human art matters.

"So what is the point of experimenting with AIs?" Liu says. "The point for me really is about pushing the boundaries of what is art."

Audio and digital stories edited by Meghan Collins Sullivan .

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'Chronicles of Culture' Writing Workshop - Wakefield LitFest 2024

'Chronicles of Culture' Writing Workshop - Wakefield LitFest 2024

A Creative writing workshop to help aspiring writers build confidence in creating short story narratives.

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About this event.

We will be bringing people together through story making. Uniting young writers by commissioning them to create short stories and funding their dissemination to an audience in printed and audio form.

In a series of free, open workshops, run by professional writers and creatives, any and all young people will develop the skills to help them build the confidence and knowledge to apply for the commissions. The workshops will give insight into how to get inspired, develop ideas and take stories to final drafts.

The workshops will also connect young people to their local heritage by directly linking the workshops and subsequent stories with places of interest in the district as the inspiration for their stories working in partnership with Wakefield Museum. Suitable for ages 14-25

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ben Rortvedt saw the writing on the wall toward the end of spring training that his time would soon be up with the Yankees.

As long as Jose Trevino and Austin Wells stayed healthy, they were going to be the catchers the Yankees brought north, and with Rortvedt out of minor league options, he expected to be moved.

But Rortvedt has taken his new opportunity and run with it, at least in the early going.

Former Yankees catcher Ben Rortvedt chest bumps Pete Fairbanks after the Rays' 7-2 win over the Bombers.

After being traded to the Rays as part of a three-way deal that landed the Yankees Jon Berti on the eve of Opening Day, Rortvedt has gotten off to a strong start.

Through Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Yankees , in which he drew a pair of walks as a pinch-hitter, he is now batting .333 with a .828 OPS in 27 games as part of a catching tandem.

“I think there’s a lot of components,” Rortvedt said after catching up with many of his former teammates on Friday. “I think it’s just me going through the struggles that I have, learning about myself as a player, failing, learning what player I want to be, what player I think I can be, and just trying to show up and be the same player every day, not chasing results. Really showing up and trying to contribute to the team.”

Rortvedt’s biggest impact as a Yankee was catching Gerrit Cole down the stretch last season on the way to the AL Cy Young award, with Jose Trevino injured.

Beyond that, Rortvedt struggled to carve out a role for himself because of injuries and then struggling to hit when he was healthy.

“He was tough for us to lose — and we didn’t necessarily want to lose him to the Rays,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He can really catch and throw. He’s gifted back there physically, the receiving part of things, obviously a great arm. I think he’s worked really hard at his hitting, too.

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“Excited that at least he’s getting a real opportunity and he’s healthy for the most part. That was a little bit of a struggle when he was in Minnesota and then even the first couple years with us, he was pretty banged up with different things. But he’s talented.”

DJ LeMahieu (non-displaced foot fracture) faced live pitching Saturday for the first time since his rehab assignment lasted just one inning on April 23.

The veteran infielder took at-bats against rehabbing right-hander JT Brubaker at the Yankees’ player development complex in Tampa and “had a good day of work,” according to Boone.

DJ LeMahieu, taking batting practice against the Astros on Thursday, faced live pitching on Saturday for the first time since his rehab assignment on April 23.

“I didn’t see him hit, but I heard it went well,” Boone said.

The plan is for LeMahieu to take live batting practice again on Tuesday in Tampa, after which he could be ready to try a rehab assignment again.

Tommy Kahnle (shoulder) made his second rehab appearance on Saturday with Single-A Tampa, throwing a scoreless inning with one strikeout on 15 pitches.

He then threw another 10 pitches in the bullpen, Boone said, adding that “it went well.”

If Kahnle bounces back as expected, his next outing will come Tuesday with Double-A Somerset.

He is expected to need at least three appearances with Somerset before being ready to join the Yankees.

For just the second time this season, the struggling Gleyber Torres was out of the Yankees’ lineup Saturday.

He was replaced by Oswaldo Cabrera at second base with Berti getting a second straight start at third base.

Boone said he would have Torres back in the lineup on Sunday.

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COMMENTS

  1. 37 Ways To Write About Grief

    Grief is an intense sorrow, a feeling of deep and poignant distress, which is usually caused by someone's death (including a pet's). Grief can also be felt with the ending of a relationship, or the death of a dream or an idea around which a life has been built. It can be felt with the diagnosis of a terminal illness.

  2. Creative Writing about Loss

    Let's Talk About Loss runs a creative writing group, a place for 18-35 year olds to share their writing, be it poetry, fiction, non fiction or something different, all to do with loss. No prior writing experience needed! Our moderator Bridget Hamilton shares prompts, articles and relevant opportunities with the group.

  3. Writing Grief: Tips for Writing About Grief

    See why leading organizations rely on MasterClass for learning & development. Grief is a complex emotion, and writing about grief is equally complicated. Learn how to effectively imbue your character's arc with loss, yearning, and emotional depth by following these tips for writing grief into a story.

  4. 55 Powerful Journal Prompts For Grief And Loss

    Here you will find grief journaling prompts to help you remember and honor your loved one. Create a memory book with everything and anything that reminds you of your loved one. Include photos, memories, lists of favorites such as movies, songs, books etc. Write about your favorite memory of the person you lost.

  5. How to Write the 5 Stages of Grief

    Stress symptoms (inability to sleep, lack of desire to take part in once-loved activities) Social symptoms (the insistence everything is fine, or the inability to hide grief in public; withdrawal from activities; irritability; over-booking activities to keep busy) During the initial stages of grief, some or all of these might be present.

  6. Writing Effective Grief In Fiction: 5 Ideas For Writers

    Author Denise Jaden shares her 5 ideas for writers on writing effective grief in fiction, including how to make readers care, avoiding isolation, and landing a satisfying end. Grief alone is not enough to make a novel. It can be the backdrop, sometimes the obstacle, but novels must be flavored with other focuses, obstacles, and emotions in ...

  7. Creative ways to process grief

    Bridget facilitates our creative writing about loss group, with regular Zoom meetings to share inspiration and writing, and a Facebook group to swap tips and techniques. Using art to tell your story In 2018, we put an art exhibition and invited grievers from across the UK to tell their grief story through a creative medium.

  8. Writing Our Grief: How to Channel Loss into Creative Expression

    Writing about loss, death, sadness, and grief can feel intimidating because we're excavating our deepest vulnerabilities, and this means confronting buried emotions. It might be difficult to process the wide range of emotions that accompany loss—everything from sadness to anger to relief. However, finding a place to allow these feelings to ...

  9. How to Write About Grief in a Story or Novel

    Below is how you can write about grief. 1. Make the Reader Care. You may be tempted to capture grief at the early stages of your writing, but let us face it your reader might sail through the grief section without notice. A good example is going to the funeral of a person and relatives you do not know.

  10. Grief Art: How Artistic Expression Can Help You Cope

    Writing about your loss and your feelings may also help you cope with intrusive thoughts, negative emotions, and emotional overwhelm, as research from 2010, 2012, 2019, 2021, and 2022 indicates ...

  11. My heartfelt guide to writing about grief

    Writing about the loss of a loved one. I often write about my late grandparents, Sam and Mina Berek. Both of my mother's parents died almost 25 years ago. I've tackled the pain of their deaths through writing poetry and prose. A quarter of a century on, I still tear up each time I sit to write about them; so deep was our love for each other.

  12. Sad Death Writing Prompts: Explore Themes of Loss

    A: Writing about sad death prompts allows individuals to process their emotions, express their feelings, and explore the complexities of loss in a safe and creative way. It can provide a sense of catharsis and serve as a form of therapy for those who are experiencing grief or who want to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience.

  13. Creative Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

    Here are some things to remember about grief and dealing with the loss of a loved one: It's okay to be scared. It's okay to feel empty. It's okay to be numb. It's okay to be sad. It's ...

  14. 5 moving, beautiful essays about death and dying

    Dorothy Parker was Lopatto's cat, a stray adopted from a local vet. And Dorothy Parker, known mostly as Dottie, died peacefully when she passed away earlier this month. Lopatto's essay is, in part ...

  15. Writing Can Help Us Heal from Trauma

    We owe it to ourselves — and our coworkers — to make space for processing this individual and collective trauma. A recent op-ed in the New York Times Sunday Review affirms what I, as a writer ...

  16. Using Creative Writing to View Trauma and Loss from New Perspectives

    Using Creative Writing to View Trauma and Loss from New Perspectives. Award-Winning Assistant Professor Janice Lee Crafts Characters Coping with Complex Inherited and Cultural Trauma. by Anthony KingMay 19th 2023Share. Janice Lee. The characters that populate Janice Lee's stories range widely: from human beings processing grief and loss to pet ...

  17. Describing Sadness in Creative Writing: 33 Ways to ...

    Instead, try using more descriptive words that evoke a sense of sadness in the reader. For example, you could use words like "heartbroken," "bereft," "devastated," "despondent," or "forlorn.". These words help to create a more vivid and emotional description of sadness that readers can connect with.

  18. Creative Writing after Traumatic Loss: Towards a Generative Writing

    The expressive writing paradigm (Pennebaker, 1993; 1997), which in. some cases is referred to as the 'disclosure paradigm' (Stroebe et al., 2006), forms a theoretical basis for the claim that writing, through disclo sure, can facilitate meaning-reconstruction after a sudden traumatic loss. Specifically, expressive writing can reorganise the ...

  19. 64 Simple Grief Journal Prompts and Questions

    Here are some prompts that you may consider if you lost a child. 48. I can turn to ________ when I am most sad. The sadness of losing your child will come and go for the rest of your life. You might find it helpful to record the names of a few people who you can turn to when you need someone to support you. 49.

  20. Creative writing about loss

    A group for young people aged 18 to 35 who have been bereaved to explore and practice creative writing on their grief journey. This group is moderated by Bridget and Beth. Please be kind and...

  21. Creative Writing

    Creative Writing - Feeling so the loss, I cannot choose but ever weep. by sadiecallison (student) GCSE English Feeling so the loss, i cannot choose but ever weep the friend. Shoulders slumped under the weight of Death's hand, i stood in the cemetry in silence. The tears came thick and fast, as the men lowered her casket into the ground, the ...

  22. Creative Writing after Traumatic Loss: Towards a Generative Writing

    The expressive writing paradigm (Pennebaker, 1993; 1997), which in some cases is referred to as the 'disclosure paradigm' (Stroebe et al., 2006), forms a theoretical basis for the claim that writing, through disclosure, can facilitate meaning-reconstruction after a sudden traumatic loss. Specifically, expressive writing can reorganise the ...

  23. My Columbia Writing Students Must Be Able to Tell the Truth

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  24. Celebrating the Spring 2024 MFA Graduates

    It was an evening of awe, joy, laughter, tears, and meditation — the English department is so proud of these talented writers! Congratulations to all of our graduating MFAs, and the best of luck with your writing and endeavors! The 2024 MFA Cohort: Megan Williams, MFA Creative Nonfiction. Thesis: Control Freak Loser Bitches Need Love, Too.

  25. 2024 Program for Humanities in Medicine Health Professions Creative

    Yale University's 2024 Program for Humanities in Medicine (PHM) Health Professions Creative Medical Writing and Art Contest awarded first prize in poetry to Terri Motraghi, a clinical research nurse and online MSN candidate in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specialty. To read more about Yale School of Nursing (YSN)'s other prize winners in this contest, please visit YSN News.

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