Monday, May 15, 2017

Shepherding the chaos into some form of expression

When grief comes, it can seem like the meaning of everything changes. Time seems to go fast or slow. Our jobs seem meaningless in the aftermath. Our priorities have changed. Relationships evolve or fall away. As a very specific example, I was an artist before the death of our child, and after his death, the value of art even seemed to change. Frankly, grief can make everything seem like chaos.

In doing outreach with bereaved parents in my early grief years, I came across variations on this chaos everyday. One parent had been a prolific writer prior to the death of his child. After grief's arrival, he felt he wasn't doing justice to his child's death because he couldn't write a thing about it. The previously prolific writer mentioned that he had only been able to write emails since his child died, but nothing else. I encouraged him to consider those emails! Emails can be a form of journaling if you ask me. Back in the early 2000's, we even published a memoir under our KotaPress imprint that was partially made of email communications a woman had while she was facing cancer and treatments.

And so, if you are using the net as a form of support after grief's arrival, look at what you are writing in that medium. Those posts and emails can easily be the expressions of memoir writings or prose pieces. Maybe those are the first draft of a book to come. Maybe they are completed pieces themselves. Or the beginnings of support themed articles you might want to publish someday.

Who knows? But one thing I try to offer those wrestling with creativity in grief's aftermath is this:

Practice being open to expression in whatever form it comes!

Now, I'm not saying that all our creativity in the face of grief will turn into something public or that all emails will turn into books. We may not want to do anything like that with the expressions that come. But I am saying that the initial expressions after grief's arrival can come in a variety of ways. Don't discount any of those ways!

Because grief creates the potential for everything to change, so too can forms of expression change in grief's wake. We may or may not use our old medium for creating. We may discover new mediums for these experiences. It is okay to let expression come in whatever form, to whatever degree, at whatever pace.

Let yourself be tender as you shepherd all grief's chaos into some form of expression!

Miracles to you,
Kara

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