Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Isak Dinesen and Grief




All sorrows could be borne if they were put into a story, Isak Dinesen said. I think she’s right. Writing  things out unties grief’s knots.

Writing about our grief unhooks its claws from our flesh. 

We write grief out of our system by recording all our thoughts, feelings, memories, heartaches, and sorrows, writing until we can’t think of anything else to say. When something more shows up, we write that down, too. Eventually we have no more grief to write.

By writing about our grief, we face up to death and deal with its issues.

Whether this is in a journal, in stories or in essays, we find the words that encapsulate our feelings, put sorrow into context, and find our meanings. Until we face grief, it isn’t going to go away. It will rumble under the surface like tiny earthquakes, pushing against each other until one day all the pent-up tension releases and our lives go flying against the walls.

If we don’t deal with grief, we close off our emotions. We won’t let anyone get close, because we don’t ever want to lose anyone again.

By writing, we take grief out of our lives and place it on paper where it can live instead of inside us.

Writing creates distance between us and sorrow, and opens up space for something new to happen. By writing, we take charge of our lives instead of letting death run it.

Writing about grief moves us from being victims to being survivors.

Letting go of grief is not about forgetting the one who died. We won’t ever forget those we love. Grief is the journey to the place where we are able to celebrate and honor them. 


Without taking grief’s journey, we stay buried with those who died.

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