Using poetry to help in the grieving process

Hi, friends.

I am sorry that this month’s ‘article’ is late…it’s taken me a while to get a handle on what I wanted to write about…I suppose this should have been one of my first posts, because it’s something I’ve been doing all the way through, but there we go.

Words are a gift when we find ourselves grieving the loss of a friend or another loved one. (Granted, when cyberloss is up for discussion, the right words seem to be more difficult to come by.) Perhaps a friend or family member might offer some words that start the healing process.

In the midst of it, however, it can be very helpful to simply take the time to absorb what has happened. It is during this time that we often become our own best advisers. Many times I have reached for a notebook in the middle of a sleepless night, and written with my own hand the truth I needed to hear.

Each of us who have experienced loss has our own unique story, our own truth. Writing poetry is just one way to get access to it. Sharing such poetry is optional, although it can be one way to spark a rewarding conversation. Your relationship with the person who passed was a unique gift, and one way of continuing to honour them is to share their impact on your life.

Of course, if writing isn’t your thing, there are a variety of other creative ways to at least help externalize some of those feelings. I’ve written before about origami as a tool, and music can be helpful as well. Playing it, or listening to it.

What are your favourite creative ways to deal with grief? Please feel free to share in the comments. 

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

blog signature - 'Casey B'


About Casey Bottono

I am in love with language. I write poetry and fiction in a wide variety of genres. Most recently, I have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities' Pen2Paper contest.
This entry was posted in Grief Loss and Bereavement and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Using poetry to help in the grieving process

  1. I only lived 2 years of my life in the same town as my Grandmother. My father was in the Marine Corps and we moved often. Having someone who loved me in a permanent location was a comfort that I didn’t understand until I didn’t have it anymore. Grammie and I had a special bond. She would make bookmarks, for me, out of greeting cards. She would cut out the verse or write a quotation on the back. Occasionally, she would write “I love you” or “I’m thinking of you” and send them to me. When Grammie died, a piece of me seemed to die. Because I so obviously mourned the loss of Grammie, my Mother began to make bookmarks for me and cut out verses or poems from magazines and gave them to me or mailed them to wherever I was living. Sometimes I open a book that I saved throughout the years, and one of their bookmarks falls out. I used to marvel how appropriate the quotation was when it arrived. The words always seemed to comfort and/or recharge me. Eventually, I began to write down quotations, song lyrics, or fragments of a conversation that I had with someone. I have kept up the habit and have filled many Journals. After my car accident and could not work, I found a blank journal at a Thrift Store and filled it with my favorite quotations and poems. I gave it to my Mother for Christmas. To the day she died, that book was always on the table by her bed. She would let the book fall open to “wherever” and receive comfort from what the words said. How wonderful it has been to know that I was able to give “something” meaningful back to her.

    When I was in Group Therapy for depression, after the car accident, I brought quotations or song lyrics to share with others. Because of the brain injuries, I had trouble saying what I wanted to say or because I was simply too depressed. As I grew more fond of the group members, I wanted to help them in any way I could to keep them from the deep pain and sorrow of depression. One day, I was asked to stay after the group. When I stayed, so did one other woman in the group. The woman told me that she had bought a “Lot” at a store that went out of business. Within that “Lot” were 2 complete computers (monitor, CPU, mouse, software, etc). She said that of all the people she knew, she felt that I would get the most joy out of a computer. She wanted to give me one of the computers. The Group Leader said that normally she wouldn’t approve of such an expensive gift but that she felt the woman truly had no motive except to give. I went home with a computer that day. Since then I have used it (and then the others that replaced it) to bring peace and comfort to myself, and hopefully to others. Very few days go by that I am not reminded of the woman’s kindness. The woman moved away not long after she gave me the computer and never left a forwarding address. With the computer she gave me, I was able to add quotations to images. I was able to make copies of these quotation/images and add them to photo albums that I got from the Dollar Store. I made the albums and gave them as thank you gifts or thinking of you gifts. Mom treasured the ones that I made for her. When I came to visit her, I would find one of the albums opened to a different photo/quotation … sitting in a place of honor next to the basket of Snickers that she kept filled for everyone who came to visit her. Through social media, I have tried to reach out to people in hopes of gracing their life with something positive and caring.

    I have written a lot of words to tell you that words are my comfort. Lyrics, parts of poems, bits of conversation … words fill me by letting me know that I’m not alone … that someone else has felt the same thing and lived through a situation. Words have given me the strength to live hour by hour … even minute by minute. And, when I began to share words with others, I realized that by trying to give to others … that I have received a far bigger gift … my heart is filled with a special kind of peace, love, and hope.

    • Casey B says:

      My dear friend,

      Thank you for sharing such a personal and poignant memory with me. It’s a gift that your mother saw how much the bookmark tradition meant to you, and sought to continue it. I like the idea of a quotes book, and will consider starting one. Your words about using a computer to bring peace and comfort to yourself and hopefully to others really ring true for me. Your mother sounds like a wonderful person…but it takes a special kind of grace to be a mother, I think. 🙂 ‘Words have given me the strength to live hour by hour, even minute by minute’…what more can I say but Amen…I share that feeling about helping others.

      Thank you for opening your heart- take care, my friend.


  2. melissa says:

    I have read your post and the comments here as well. They are both very inspiring. I haven’t done much these past couple of months but stay with the kids and love them…

    I also became deeply engaged with my other activities like work and have spent more time with the world outside.

    I don’t write much poetry but I have music… it is very healing. I’ve cut some strings and I found that to be very helpful…

I love it when you share your thoughts- so feel free.

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