USING JOURNALING AS A TOOL TO WORK THROUGH GRIEF

Managing Grief through Journaling
by Nancy Elliiott, Jay’s mom

Conventional wisdom tells us that writing a journal in times of catastrophic trauma is a good and helpful thing to do.   Two-thirds of people who have experienced traumatic stress, such as the death of a loved one, described writing in a journal as difficult, frightening, overwhelming or counterproductive.

IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING THROUGH YOUR GRIEF
Most of these can be accomplished in 15 minutes or less, which is helpful for two main reasons. First, when grief is new, feelings are so close to the surface and pain is so raw that short writes are less likely to pitch you into overwhelm. Second, our culture doesn’t really support us in grieving, and we are expected to return to work and resume the mantle of everyday life almost immediately after even a catastrophic loss. For many people, shorter writes are friendlier and more adaptable to daily realities.

There aren’t any rules.
Journal writing isn’t like flossing; you don’t have to do it every day. And it isn’t school: You don’t have to spell the words right, or punctuate them, or worry about grammar. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes. You’re not being judged or graded by anyone else, so please don’t judge or grade yourself.

Choose a journal that fits your lifestyle. Some people treasure lovely blank bound books. Others favor spiral notebooks that can be chucked into a backpack. If you think at your keyboard, keep your journal on computer. There is excellent journal software available;  LifeJournal, available at major bookstores, or on the internet (www.lifejournal.com). Or write your journal via e-mail to a support group or mailing list of chosen friends and family.

Get in the habit of writing three words that describe your feelings at the beginning and end of every journal entry. This helps you track your feelings over time and gives you an opportunity to notice that emotions shift with time and process.

Because it is common for memory to be affected with acute grief, make to-do lists, and keep them right in your journal.  Make other lists, as well.  Lists are great for organizing and categorizing, and their structure is comforting when things feel like they are spinning out of control.

Before you go to bed, choose something you’d like to experience the following day — a feeling of hope or pleasure; an item crossed off a to-do list; an experience such as a productive meeting or a gym workout. Write this “Choice du Jour” in your journal. As you go to sleep, reflect on your choice. How would you recognize success? What can you do to arrange your day to increase the likelihood that your choice will manifest? At night, write for five minutes reflecting on outcomes.

When you are aching with longing for your loved one, write “Captured Moments” –brief vignettes written quickly.   Make them intense with vivid descriptions; the sight, smell, touch, taste, feel of things.  A collection of Captured Moments becomes like a written photo album, preserving precious memories for all time.

Unsent Letters are an excellent way to maintain a sense of communication with your loved one and can offer deep opportunities for soothing and comfort.

Sometimes the only way to get through devastation is to imagine a time when it might not hurt so much. Write a “One Year from Today” entry in which you fast-forward yourself to the healing side of the grief. Allow yourself a glimpse into the future. Imagine your life as if you have wheeled around through four seasons, and you are one year distant from the losses you are experiencing today.♥

Scientific research shows that brief, intense bursts of emotional release writing — only 15 minutes a day, for only four consecutive days — is correlated with increased immune system functioning that can last for several weeks. Since grief often compromises the immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to colds, flu and infection, these writes can help your physical as well as your emotional health.

HELPING THOSE WITH BROKEN HEARTS TO HEAL

July 9, 2011
The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT. Chapter
hosts the FIRST EVER STATEWIDE
WALK TO REMEMBER
Connecticut’s Walk To Remember is being held in conjunction with the
National The Compassionate Friends Walk to Remember,
this year held on July 17 in Minnesota.

Wondering what YOU can do to Help?

Join Our Virtual Walk Team ~ Holding Hands Hugging Hearts
Our Goal Is To Have At Least 10 Members Join Our Team ~ We Are Only Half Way There!
Send Emails To Family And Friends Requesting A Donation Through The Secure Website TCF Walk to Remember (follow the link for directions on how to  join)

Help Us Raise Funds!  Our Goal Is $5,000.00- We Are About Half Way There!

WALK WITH US!  GET YOUR FRIENDS TO WALK!
CREATE your own WALK TEAM in honor of a loved one!

The More People Who Physically Walk, The More, And More Widespread, Publicity We May Receive.  This Helps To Raise Public Awareness, Making It Easier For Those In Need To Find Us During The Darkest Days Of Their Lives.
We Need Someone To Make Follow Up Calls To All Of The Other Statewide Chapters, Inviting Them To Join Us.

ORDER A T-SHIRT!
We Aren’t Making Any Profit On The T-Shirts, So It Isn’t About Fund-raising – It Is About Looking More Uniform, Which Will Look Better In The Photos.  We Will Be Using Photos On The Website And For Future Outreach.

PUBLICITY
We Need People Willing To Contact Newspapers Statewide To Get The Word Out About The Walk.  We Have Press Releases Ready For Submission.  We Just Need Volunteers To Deliver our Already Written Press Releases To Various Newspapers And Follow Up.
BLOG! Using Strong Keywords!
Facebook Daily!
Tweet Daily!
We Need To Create And Distribute Packets To Area Hospice, Pediatricians, Funeral Homes, Doctors, Other Bereavement Support Groups.

DAY OF THE WALK –Volunteers Needed to:
Man the table”, make sure everyone has filled out and signed the registration form.
Put up WALK TO REMEMBER Signs
Make Sure Everyone Has Water
Help With Set Up, Tear Down, Clean Up
Help With Cooking
Pick Up Any Butterflies Ordered From MAGIC WINGS in Deerfield, Ma

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
We Need Lots And Lots Photos Of The Walk, The Butterfly Release, The Picnic, The T-Shirts, The Signs, The Emotion, The Families

REFRESHMENTS – POT LUCK PICNIC
Baked Good, Cookies, Cupcakes – Foods To Share And Snack On – (carefully marked for anyone with allergies)
POT LUCK PICNIC- Contributions– We Are Supplying The Burgers And Dogs, But Need Salads, Desserts, Favorite Shared Entrées
COOLERS FILLED WITH LOTS OF ICE – Health conscious and Health Department mandated, we need to keep food COLD!

DON’T SEE SOMETHING THAT FITS, BUT WANT TO HELP?
Send An EmailWith Your Idea Or Skills TCFEastOfTheRiverCt.@gmail.com  Subject: VOLUNTEER
Check Back Daily To Check For New Needs

Walking To Remember my Daughter, My Brothers, and ALL Gone Too Soon

We are less than one month away from

Connecticut’s FIRST EVER
THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
STATEWIDE CONCURRENT
WALK TO REMEMBER

JULY 9, 2011
Center Springs Park
Manchester, CT
On Site Check In 10:00
Walk Begins at 11:00

PLEASE JOIN US!!!

WALK TO REMEMBER
those you love who are no longer here to walk for themselves!Together, we honor our loved ones while
creating a public awareness  that
The Compassionate Friends
exists and is here to help those who need us

 INFORMATION AND UPDATES ON THE WALK:
WALK TO REMEMBER HOME PAGE

Registration On-Line
THERE IS NO FEE TO WALK!
DONATIONS AND FUND-RAISING ARE APPRECIATED

registration is necessary for insurance purposes
and to get a head count for food, butterflies and walk bibs

 Can’t make the walk,
but want to make a supportive donation?
How To Make A General Donation

or find my secure donation page directly
and make a donation in Robbie’s honor at:
RobynApril Rivard-Darby Maguire ~ Bettie-Jeanne

PLEASE JOIN ME
ON JULY 9th!
I will be Walking to Remember my daughter
RobynApril
Who does not deserve to be forgotten!

I will be Walking to Remember my brothers,
“Punkins” and Joe

I will be Walking to Remember
every ‘child’ of our chapter
and for every borken heart of every one
of their parents, grandparents and siblings
who miss them so very, very much

 WHO WILL YOU
WALK TO REMEMBER
?

 

 

 

Bettie-Jeanne and Dream Come True, RobynApril