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A Grief Journal

My intention here is to highlight a very simple method to help deal with grief that has proven very useful for many bereaved persons. This method is the “grief journal,” referring to the process of keeping a written journal documenting aspects of your life as your grief process evolves.

Many of the clients that I work with in grief counseling have found that their grief journal has proven to be a very helpful exercise to allow them to express the truth about how they are feeling. This can be especially useful when you find yourself without the comfort of a supportive friend or loved one to talk to about your loss. It is helpful to write down (or speak) our feelings, because when we do not, when we stuff them down deep inside of us, we may not be able to find relief from them – and they will control or affect us in unseen ways. By being more aware of your experiences, you can be empowered to work to change them in a positive direction for yourself. Keeping a written record of how you are doing on a day-to-day (or week-to-week) basis may help you to get through the most difficult days of your grief process. Many bereaved individuals wish to begin “journaling” soon after the loss, while others pick up this useful tool farther along in their journey. By beginning this process, wherever you are currently at in your personal journey through grief, you create for yourself a written record (of your thoughts, feelings, etc.) that you can refer back to at a later point. There is a saying that even the palest ink is much more reliable than a good memory in terms of documenting our past, and so your written words will later be of interest to you in demonstrating the progress that you have made in terms of adapting to the loss you have experienced. Several bereaved persons have told me that they thought they were not making any progress in coming to terms with their loss, until they reflected back on their earlier grief experiences as noted in their journals. It is immensely helpful to know where we have been, as a way to gauge where we are at present, and also as a means to project how much further we would like to (or need to) go. So, if you have not yet begun your journal, I would recommend that you begin to do so. If you have never kept a journal before (or kept a dairy), at first you may find yourself unsure about what to write. Write whatever comes to your mind in relation to your loss and your grief. Do not judge it, write it. It is like putting the cart before the horse to censor your writings. Just write. Write about your emotions, your thoughts, your fears, write whatever comes to mind, even if it appears to not make much sense at the time.

It is my hope that you find the process of writing about your experiences helpful to you - that this may assist you to cope a little better, to suffer a little less, with the tremendous hurt you may be feeling as the result of your loss. If you would like more information or have any questions or comments on the idea of working on a grief journal, I invite you to contact me.

Grief Counselor, Dr. Steven Bailley
Grief Counselor
The purpose of these articles is to provide interested readers with information and thoughts about loss, grief, mourning, and grief counseling. A variety of grief-related topics have been covered. It is my sincerest hope that you will find the information presented here to be of interest and assistance to you. If there are specific topics of interest that you would like to see added in the future, I welcome you to email me with your suggestions. If you have a need to talk with me, please call me at my office at (713) 914-9944.
Collection of papers and articles on grief, and coping with grief
The need to express our grief… Grief is Different For Each of Us The emotions of grief: Guilt
Grief, Mourning and Grief Counseling The Experience of Grief The Emotions of Grief: Anger
Reactions from others… The Seasons of My Heart The emotions of grief: “I feel like I’ve lost control of myself.”
The Closeness of Mortality Ambivalence
A 'Grief Journal' Grief After Suicide
Research and clinical experience support the idea that many bereaved individuals gain benefit from grief counseling. Ideally, counseling can help people to cope as adaptively as possible during difficult times that follow a loss, and can also assist in bringing grief to a more adequate resolution. Should you decide to explore the possibility of seeking professional assistance, at any time following your loss, I welcome you to contact me to explore this option (appointments and fee schedule are available upon request). Every person is unique, and I will work with you to assist you in coping with your specific needs. At this most difficult time in your life, I wish to extend to you my sincerest condolences for your loss.

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Earthman Funeral Directors & Cemeteries • 13102 North Freeway • Houston, Texas • 77060 • (281) 443-0063

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