Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can I Write If I'm Grieving?

In a way, this post follows from ones I've previously written, about how to "settle" into writing, how and whether to write when the inspiration isn't there. And writing as a path to healing. Yesterday I had a nice topic all picked out, and then in the early evening, I received news that my dear friend and Quaker mentor had died. I spent most of last evening in shock and sorrow, and today's not much better. I keep a box of tissues handy. But one thing I've learned is that as long as I can write, I can move through even terrible and dark times.

Truth to tell, this isn't a terrible time.She had been declining for a while, and entered the hospital (funny how Americans say "the" hospital, but Brits say just entered hospital?) 2 days before with a grim prognosis. Her life had been rich and long. She was a cornerstone and anchor for the community, a leader in the peace movement, a loving and tender Friend to everyone she met. She helped me immeasurably through the last parole hearing of the man who killed my mother, she welcomed me and made me feel appreciated as a Jew sitting in Quaker meeting, and she had a way of speaking plain truth that drew people together instead of creating division.

The more I think of what I've lost, the more I remember all the gifts from the times we had together. The thing about grief is that in our deepest selves, we know how to do this. We do it alone and in community, in silence and in tears and in shared stories. Our bodies know the rhythm of sorrow and release and recovery. We have only to let our egos and "shoulds" get out of the way to let those natural processes unfold.

So I'm writing. I'm walking through this. And I'm even a little curious to see what it will be like to sit down with one of my active story projects. I may set them aside and go out into the garden instead. Or I may use the focus as yet another way of connecting this life experience to all others. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, Deborah. The unfair thing about life is that we lose the good ones eventually, no matter how lucky, how healthy.

    I hope you can remember all the joy she brought to your life, and write through this.

  2. Thanks, Katharine. I'm reminded of the saying that sorrows shared are diminished, but joys shared are multiplied. This is a bit of both

  3. Deborah I am sorry for your loss. Share the joys for sure. Thinking of you during this time.