I attended a conference at Bereaved Families of Ontario Midwest Region specifically aimed towards how adults can help children with the grieving process. I met a lot of wonderful people and I also had the opportunity to hear the keynote speakers share their knowledge.
The audience consisted of caregivers, parents, academics and volunteers. As we talked about the concept of guided journaling and how it could benefit those who suffered a loss, it was very interesting to note some of the questions.
Q: How long does the person have to be deceased before I can start to journal?
A: Everyone’s journey is different, so I posed the question: Has the person integrated the death of the loved one? Are they healed and can they move on in a healthy and contributing way? If the answer is not yet, then journaling has no timeframe for completion. Moreover are there any unfinished business? Then they can start to journal.
Q: Is the loss journal good for people who haven’t died yet? (We learned that calling death by its name is much more powerful when dealing with children.)
A: The grieving process can start at anytime. Starting a journal before the person actually dies can help greatly in knowing some of the emotions that might come up before, during and after death. If a family does the journal together, they can proactively start dealing with some of the challenges and to some extent limit a complicated grief.
Q: The artwork is really beautiful. How did you decide on which ones to include?
A: My best friend Vivienne is an established artists, she hand-painted all of the images in the journals, including the front page. No two images are alike in any of the journals. The idea with the images is also to give you an idea of what the journaling section is about, it is motivational, aesthetic and inspirational.
Q: Is this journal for children?
A: This specific journal is for teenagers and up. As one of the keynote speakers, Andrea Warnick mentioned, children do have a different concept of death at certain ages in their lives. The physical concept of death also specific to their understanding based on environment and age.
Q: I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with it yet.
A: It being the death of a loved one. This was an interesting and surprisingly common comment. Think of the journal as part of your self-care kit. Maybe in the future you will have a trigger that plummets you into the depths of your emotions, or you finally feel like you are empowered by something or someone else’s story. Having the journal with you means that you can begin your journey of healing right away.
The best place to start is at the beginning and the brightest light can come from our darkest hour.
For more information: click on Journaling Through Loss & Grief