Grief journaling how to's and realizing there are no rules

Grief journaling how to's and realizing there are no rules

How many of you journal here? Do you journal daily or weekly?  Do you prefer a prompted journal or more of a freestyle notebook journal?  Did you know I'm creating a journal to start selling? (insert excitement, but it's a time process let me tell you). 

I had a friend reach out to me asking me about journaling and how.  How could she make it personal without perfectionism?  That right there was the key to her question.  IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT AND THERE ARE NO RULES!! 

That's the beauty of journaling.  Journaling is a form of expressing our thoughts and feelings when we aren't ready to talk out loud about them.  It's a release of anger and sadness, joy and hope.  Journaling is very personal for you.  Journaling is very healing to our minds and souls. Journaling is a form of expression with no fear of being judged.  Journals don't have to be shared, they are meant to be personal.  

So when you are journaling, here are few tips from me:

  • Just let the pen or pencil glide across the pages
  • Don't think and edit your writing. This is what we call free-style journaling; this is my method.
  • Don't worry about spelling or grammar.
  • Don't even worry if it's sloppy, slanted, or sideways. 
  • Give all your emotions---just GO for it.  (I honestly have words on some of my pages that just say "Fuck it all" and that's it...and that's okay too)
  • Start writing.  Just start and stop overthinking it. Also, continue to write and try to create a ritual, whether it's in the morning or in the evening or if it's over the lunch hour. 
  • Don't overthink it with "what do I need"?  It can be paper & pen or it can be computer or your phone notes. 

I have probably 6-7 journals/notebooks going on at one time.  I love paper products and notebooks (maybe that's why I started my business)? I have a notebook by my bed stand, my notes app on my phone is a cluster of thoughts I have continuously going on in my mind.  I have SO much I want to share and I just can't get it out fast enough! LOL 

Our caring bridge page when Jack was sick, that was our journal.  I love it because I have his thoughts and feelings written down; I have my own words beyond my personal journals.  This is where I can start writing my book.  I can take my story and I can turn our words into something that will give people empathy, compassion, and hope!  It will help maybe guide other people through their journey's of loss or even a journey of a terminal cancer diagnosis.  My book won't be a guide on how to survive so many losses, but when you read it and the words from feelings, you will see how I am surviving all my losses.

What I love the most about journaling is this; my thoughts were ugly...very, very ugly after Garret died.  I was in a dark place, my life as I knew it was over.  I didn't have the good coping skills, I didn't know how to move forward after losing my son. BUT, after 6 months I could go back and read my journal and think "wow, I was bat shit crazy" or "wow, look how far you have come Angie".  I didn't have those same very dark feelings as I did month three.  I was slowly healing.  Then I did the same after the 1 year mark; "WOW, boy have I really started healing" or "I am so proud of my mind & soul for moving through this journey with more grace". My sister gave me my first journal after Garret died, it's black leather and it has a butterfly on it; wow...what a sign and symbol.  I had Jack's caring bridge page printed into a book with all the entries and all the comments from his journey and I look back on that all the time especially now because with all my writing and doing what I'm doing, I have to reflect more and add more specifics in to different moments of my journey.  The BIGGEST takeaway for me with journaling is this...I have healed in ways I never knew I could or that I would.  I feel beyond blessed to have come this far in my journey and I'm beyond proud of myself.  That's the blessing of journaling and that's why I think it's SO highly important to do it.  That's always my go to when someone asks me "what can I do"; just journal, please it will be good for you I promise. 

With my friend who was asking me about starting journaling, she's more of a perfectionist and that's totally okay.  She gives in different ways and better ways than I can that's for sure!   I'm a total fly by the seat of my pants girl, but I do have OCD in me to be organized.  So with her maybe a structured or prompted journal is the key to her success in journaling.  

Here are some prompts to go off of if you want to just start in a notebook: 

  • I remember when....
  • The first time I...
  • My happiest memory of you is...
  • This is what I want to say to you that I never got the chance to...
  • Today I am really missing...
  • I wish I knew how...
  • If I could forgive you for something it would be...
  • This is how I will celebrate you...
  • Write down a word or words on how you're feeling today. 
  • Describe your person who died; their personality, likes or dislikes.
  • Create a mantra that you can write and repeat every day. 

These are just many prompts, but use your imagination.  Just start and just write.  Let it all ebb and flow.  

I hope this was helpful and I hope you begin the journey of journaling if you haven't already.  Remember that by me guiding you, we are BETTER TOGETHER! 


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    1 comment

    Very helpful to those who are grieving or for those who want to keep from screaming out loud.😁

    Judy Hanson

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