Sunday, February 6, 2011

Writing About Loss

If  the focus of your memoir is loss, you may want to explore how society treats death and dying.  As a friend recently said, "This country cannot deal with death." 

Others are often uncomfortable with your pain.  They try to convince you there is no point to  "living in the past."  Be happy, they say.  Life is short!

This is why we write our stories - to give ourselves the gift of expressing our feelings, knowing it is the way to heal.

You might want to begin writing about loss by trying this:
  • What is my first memory of him/her?
  • I loved him/her because (finish in three sentences).
  • I am most afraid of (finish in three sentences).
  • If I could describe three insights about myself, they are . . .
When my husband John died, I lost my youth, my dreams of happily-ever-afters -- although I didn't realize at the time what I was mourning. For the next several years, I frantically tried to replace him. I avoided looking at the depth of my loss. Sounds simple, doesn't it?  It took the writing to understand all of that.

It Takes Time
DO NOT let people con you into thinking that "moving on" or "closure" is something you should or can do  overnight. Look at the warts as well as the beautiful spots in the relationship. Once you start writing, you are re-energized. You remember the kiss, the romance, the one red rose on the first wedding anniversary. You remember the love. Your story is your legacy.  Treasure your memories.

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