Personal Journey to Mourning

I have written about grief before, but it now seems much more relevant than it had previously. So here we go down the rabbit hole.

2018 was a rough year for my family. It started with the death of my great-grandmother, “Grandma Rosey”, (my mother’s grandma). There was a lot of drama surrounding her declining health after she had a stroke several years ago which lead to my grandmother, “Grandma Ginny” (mom’s mom) not attending her own mother’s funeral. We all tried to convince her to go because we know she will regret it, but it was to no avail. I had just arrived to work when I received a message that Grandma Rosey had passed. I was set to go to the funeral, but at the last minute, I stayed home because a nurse I worked with made me feel full of guilt for planning to be out of work. This wasn’t one of my proudest moments.

Next my father’s dad, “Grandpa Fink”, was in the I.C.U. In my family’s fashion, I received a call at work telling me that he was on life support and that they were letting him die the following morning. I was a mess of guilt and sorrow. My dad’s family hasn’t been a part of my life for a long time because of an argument my father and I had ten years ago. When I went to visit him in the hospital, he was unable to communicate and seemed confused. He wasn’t actually on life support (confusion runs in the family I suppose), but he was in bad condition. He’s now in a nursing home instead of being at home taking care of my grandmother (his wife) who is unable to care for herself properly.

Then my Grandpa Pauly (mom’s dad) was admitted to the hospital for organ failure. An infection was taking over his body and he was dying. Luckily, after dozens of tests, procedures, and treatments (and a week in the hospital), he was discharged in stable condition. My Grandpa Pauly is someone I have always connected with and that was a really scary time for me.

After that, my Great-Grandma Burns (Dad’s grandmother) got sick while in the nursing home with Dementia. She is refusing medication treatments and is not well.

Her husband, my Great-Grandpa Burns, can no longer walk independently and uses a wheelchair often. My dad thinks that his time with us is limited too.

Lastly, my Step-Grandma Pat (my mom’s mother-in-law), passed away on the last day of the year. In her last days, she was but a hollow shell of the woman she once was.

This year has taught me so much about myself, but it has also taught me a lot about the people around me. How we perceive things and how we grieve are both very personal experiences. Some people grow stronger in times of stress. They throw aside their fears and do their best to hold up those around them. They take charge of the situation and work diligently to make those around them comforted. Others watch in silence. They disconnect themselves from the situation and view things from the outside – they shut down. Some people use humor as a coping mechanism. They will find comfort in making the people around them smile in the darkest moments. Others become angry at the world around them. They refuse to accept the situation that has been set in front of them.

There is no one “right way” to deal with death and dying. Over the past year I have felt strength, silence, humor, and anger in vulnerable situations. And that is okay.

Allow yourself and those around you to mourn in their own way. We each have our own path to take in the journey of healing.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

Writer’s Block

Yesterday I posted about building your skills as a writer. Today I want to talk about writer’s block. Like I said previously, I am not at all a professional author, but I do enjoy writing. It can be incredibly frustrating when you sit down to write and nothing out. You just stare at the blank screen or piece of paper hoping that inspiration will find you. I have found a few things in the last couple years that help me when I am in a slump and I want to share them with you.

  • List ideas in your phone. I sometime find myself inspired at the most mundane moments in my life. This means that an idea could come to me while I am in the car, taking a shower, or at work. I don’t know about you, but my phone goes with me everywhere. When these moment happen, I type a quick statement in my notepad on my phone. I just write a sentence or string of words that will remind me later about my idea. When I am sitting down to write and don’t have any ideas that make me excited, I refer to the list.
  • Take a walk. Sometimes it’s best to just get up and walk away for a moment. Take your dog for a walk or go for a jog. While you are out, look around you and truly experience the area. You will be surprised at what can remind you of a memory or inspire you. When your walk is finished, write your ideas on the list mentioned above and get back to writing.
  • Accomplish tasks. Is there something that is stressing you out that may be leading to writer’s block? Maybe knowing that there is laundry to be done and dishes to be washed is subconsciously prohibiting your brain to focus on the task at hand. Take a 15 minute break to take care of what is bothering you and then return to writing with a clearer mind.
  • Reflect on life. Is there something going on in your life that is overwhelming your thoughts? Is this something that you could write about? Are there things that you recently (or not-so-recently) learned that others could benefit from? Maybe this is a place that you could start to brainstorm from.
  • Flow Chart. These are great if you have an idea, but aren’t sure how to construct it into an actual story. Start with the central word or idea and branch out into topics and subtopics within that idea to build the story. You don’t need to write paragraphs at this point, just words or phrases that signify a different piece of the puzzle. When you are done, you will probably have a better understanding of the topic. This can help you decide which avenue(s) you would like to take the writing piece.
  • Prompts. You can find online prompts or prompt books that ask questions or have you write about things that you wouldn’t normally think of. Some of them can be silly, but others are quite insightful and constructive. Regardless, it is one way to get your creative juices flowing. I posted on my Instagram “love.always.elizabeth” a few weeks ago about the prompt book I picked up at a local discount shop. It has been a helpful tool when I am not motivated to write or feeling uninspired.

 

It’s okay to take a deep breath and refocus your attempts. Just like everyone has their own style of writing, everyone has their own process too. Find what works for you and continue expressing yourself.

Love Always,

Elizabeth