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.