I see the grief journey as being in two main strands.
One strand is the living with grief aspect. Surviving, finding ways to cope with the heartbreak and maelstrom of emotions, as well as the practical changes, that our loss has brought. It’s the “be kind to yourself” strand.
The other strand is remembering with love; honouring the memories of our loved one, keeping a connection with them or “continuing bonds” as it is often called, keeping their memory alive.
Both strands have one common feature: Creativity.
How many blogs, poems and even books have been written, how much art and music created, as a form of self-therapy whilst living with grief, and/or as a loving remembrance of a loved one?
How many charities have been set up or funding raised, miles walked or mountains climbed, tea parties organised (thinking of Jo Cox here)?
How many gardens have been designed, how many trees planted, how many memorial benches organised?
Do a quick google search on “grieving through art” and you’ll see what I mean, though more to the point, most people reading this blog have their own experience.
It seems to me that personal creativity bursts out of our innermost being after the tragedy of loss. It’s not always intentional. A song or poem from the depth of our soul, a splash of paint on the canvas.
On the other hand, sometimes we have to make time and space for it, and perhaps explore different mediums of creativity. Sometimes we may discover something by surprise, like I did when I went to a felting weekend with other bereaved parents.
The creativity of grief can be as much in the process as in the product. It does not bring our loved one back, but it can help us emotionally and psychologically, it can help relieve some of our stress, and it can also help us in find ways of memorialising our loved ones.
It’s my daughter Catherine’s birthday next week. She would be 37. I’ve been inviting friends to light a virtual candle on her birthday cake by doing a good deed in her memory. It is helping keep her memory alive, and also makes me feel a little better going through her birthday, as I visualise those on the receiving end of those acts of kindness. That’s something that Catherine would appreciate too.
Our individual creativity is as unique as our grief. It is reminder that whilst other people may have had similar experiences and even similar losses, our own life and loss is unique to ourselves. We can allow ourselves to grieve in the way that feels best to us; there is no wrong or right way to grieve.
Have you had a creativity burst since your loss? Maybe you blog, maybe you paint, maybe you just doodle. You’re welcome to share about it here in comments.
See more Grief art on Pinterest