THE POWER OF THE KEYBOARD

 In Blog

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
Anne Frank

 

Our Western values are not culturally equipped for grief.  Death is such a taboo that we call it the “D-word,” the way we used to refer to cancer as the “C-word.”  By tagging grief as a taboo, it becomes a dreadful surprise and shock, and we are not primed to deal with its ramifications.  When Peter died, I was in total disbelief.  How could this befall me?  How could he suddenly be gone from my life?

After my tragic loss, the one thing that saved me was writing.  When I was little, I would write funny poetry à la Ogden Nash.  I would compose hilarious stories with weird and wacky characters.  I loved writing but when I became a food writer, recipes were my outlet.  When I was suddenly thrust into widowhood, I returned to writing prose and it became a much-needed release from the immense feelings of pain that hit me so hard.  When I was little, a new notebook and pens brought a smile to my face.  I treasured my paper and pens like they were jewels.  Now, my keyboard is my savior.  I can type away for hours, get my feelings into the computer, and feel a whole lot better about my existence. I can pull all the thread of my ideas into a concept to be woven into an essay.  I type away in stream of consciousness style, and keep writing until I achieve a sense of peace or at least a grammatically cohesive bunch of sentences, with enough humor to keep me smiling.

Writing is one of the oldest methods of expressiveness.  People diarize or journalize constantly to relieve stress.  I never did that until I was faced with grief.  Now I write with a need to release the pressure of grief that builds up in my soul. The writing helps me clarify the confusion and conflicting emotions that surface daily.  With my keyboard, I can reflect on the meaning of Peter’s death.  Once I have put my thoughts and feelings into the computer, I can sit back and relax.  I know they are there, and they will be there so I can review them and notate the progress I have made as I trek through the valley of grief.

Journalizing in grief is a powerful tool.  Many people set up a regular time to write.  Those with artistic talent have the ability to draw their feelings on paper.  My drawing skills are limited to drawing Charlie Brown and/or Snoopy so I have use prose as my conduit.  The key for me is to write when I am motivated.  By using the computer, I have a record of the dates and can therefore look at my progress, and feel pride in the small steps I have made toward restoration.  I sometimes record dreams or write letters to Peter, and a few letters to grief, letting him know that I am not pleased that I have to deal with him on a daily basis!

If you are having trouble journaling try these thought triggers to start you off:

  • Today I…
  • I was really infuriated today when…
  • I fell apart today because…
  • I finally did it. I succeeded at…
  • Today was a killer…
  • Tomorrow, I will try to…
  • I know I’m getting better because…

Writing is my path to make sense of what has happened in my life.   When I started to blog, I was embarrassed by my extreme sorrow.  I was ill-prepared for the power of death and used writing to find my way.  I was so baffled by my grief that I had to pour my words onto the paper to make the unspeakable fathomable.  In the depth of grief’s grip, the only release I had was writing.  Profound loss leaves us flailing and uncomprehending of our loss.  Speaking my pain and blogging it weekly, has returned my vocal powers.  Knowing that I am giving voice to the D-word and grief, has helped me and other widows who follow my blogs, cope with the art of living again.

My name is Laurie, and I am a proud writer.

 

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