My daughters and I are writing our Tiny Stories for the Death Dialogues Project. Have you heard of them? In 100 words you write your story about how dying or death has touched you. This is an amazing exercise in mental health.
We tend to carry within our memory every death encounter we have ever had. Yes, even we professionals who work with end of life. BUT it is the personal deathbed memory, of mom, of grandfather, of cousin, of next door neighbor, even of someone we don’t know but happened to be there or maybe we just heard a story, that is the memory we will remember and carry within us forever.
Most of the time the memory hides back in the recesses of our mind. It is quiet there in its place—until something awakens it. Someone shares their story, a word, a thought, a scene floats through our consciousness and wham, the memory is awakened and we feel, we think, we re-experience.
Back to the Tiny Story— as I wrote my story to get it into 100 words (that is the magic of Tiny Stories, only 100 words) it seemed impossible to do! I had so much to say, so many adjectives to use. I had to rewrite, rethink. I had to determine what was really important and what was fluff. Rewriting and rewriting allowed me to process, to re-examine my experience. I was able to put it in a clearer light.
In grief work I recommend writing a letter to the person who died. Putting all the thoughts and words down on paper. There is something healing about funneling the thoughts in our head down through our fingers to pen and onto paper. It tends to realign, to make more organized the scattered thoughts we carry. It allows us to see more clearly and then even unconsciously release some of what we have carried for so long.
Tiny Stories does all that also. I’ve now added them to my dealing with grief ideas.
Thank you Death Dialogues Project. So healing!
Something More... about My New Tool For Working With Grief
I have a booklet for the bereaved. My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience addresses the normal process of grieving and the stages of grief while offering suggestions for moving forward into living. It is intended for the newly grieving. This booklet is part of the End of Life Guideline Series Bundle.
Hi Martha, you asked how you can read Tiny Stories. Here is a link to Death Dialogue Project.https://www.deathdialogues.net/ .
Scroll down and you will find the stories. Thanks for asking.
My husband of 55 yrs. passed last January4, 2021, I am still not able to think rationally, I want to tell him things and there is so much pain, I feel like its not real. He died at home and I was his primary care giver, I feel as though I should have been able to keep him alive longer and that I gave up.
BK Books replied:
Hi Ann, you wrote: “My husband of 55 yrs. passed last January4, 2021, I am still not able to think rationally, I want to tell him things and there is so much pain, I feel like its not real. He died at home and I was his primary care giver, I feel as though I should have been able to keep him alive longer and that I gave up.” Try to remember that we always do the best we can when we are doing something. Hindsight makes us second guess ourselves but we never set out to do a poor job particularly with someone we care about. You might write your husband a letter. Put all your thoughts, feelings and tears down on paper. Tell him how scared you were, how tired, how alone, how you did everything you knew to do, how much you love and miss him. Put it all down on paper then burn the letter and scatter the ashes to the wind. As the ashes fly see your feelings of regret go with them. Let how well you now live your life be the testament to how much you love and miss him. My blessings are with you. Barbara
Thank you so much Barbara. When our son-in-law was dying in the Covid ICU, my daughter, 3 grandchildren and I were able to be with him. Hospice workers gave us 2 booklets: The Eleventh Hour, and My Friend, I Care. The first one was so very helpful to me as I supported my loved ones. At the end, my wonderful daughter hugged me, saying: “You were my Doula for the birth of my children, and you were my Doula for the birth of my husband into his new life.” Your booklet made the difference for me.
We have used My Friend, I Care to help us discuss and process our grief. As I have helped facilitate over 10 grief-support groups (in 8-week sessions), I can appreciate the profound wisdom it contains in such a simple format. And the large print is great: easier to read through tears! I liked it so much I have ordered more copies to give as gifts, along with a sympathy card to close friends and family. Again, thank you.
BK Books replied:
Hi Marcie, Sounds like you are an “all of life doula”. What a beautiful gift you gave your family and as a grief group facilitator you are giving others. My blessings to you in the special work you are doing. Barbara
I would like to read these stories.
I lost two wives-ovarian cancer and Alzheimer-to me a beautiful caring love journey- that overcame the tears and aches that so many endure -God’s pure love shared -humbled me -the privilege to care 7/24 at home. rwb
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