Sometimes there is a release of emotions from an image instead of words.

When Writing About Grief Isn’t Enough

January 24, 2018

Sometimes there is a release of emotions from an image instead of words.

When dealing with an extraordinary experience, people often suggest writing about the event. Many, like me, believe in the abundant release that writing can provide. Putting your thoughts on paper or typing them on the computer gives you the ability to truly realize what your emotions are and possibly make more sense of the tangled webs inside of you. Words are powerful and being able to articulate thoughts and emotions is often times the key to successfully coping or living through trying times. What if words are not enough, though? What if your words are constantly taken out of context and are therefore rendered insignificant?

Related: The Healing Power of Writing

Words do have strength. I believe that wholeheartedly, but there are times that even I scramble to assemble a phrase or cohesive thought to say or write. In those moments, I feel utterly helpless. I feel as I did the moment I learned my son had died. I loathe that feeling. It isn’t the helplessness that I experience when I can’t seem to get my 2-year old to sleep or my 5-year old to eat a vegetable; it is that incapacitating grip that paralyzes you. The moment sometimes can feel like forever, when in reality, it is only a 3-minute pause in your daily routine. I would not handle those incidents well in the beginning. I realized quickly that I had other options for expressing the weight on my mind or heart that was just as effective, sometimes even more so.

Actions can speak louder than words. Maybe you don’t like writing. Perhaps the thought of keeping a journal or creating a blog overwhelms you more than anything. You long to honor your child, children, spouse, family, yourself, but the words just aren’t coming. Find something to get your hands in to.

  • Grow a garden. Maybe start with just one plant, if you’re not plant-savvy.
  • Volunteer for an organization that helped you and your family through your loss.
  • Participate in walks/runs for organizations dear to your heart that would help those nonprofits.
  • Do a good deed. Do it in honor of the person or people your heart is really struggling with at the time. Sometimes that person is you.
  • Donate to a hospital. At several hospitals around me, the nurses pitch in to send families home with mementos of their child or children that passed away. Beads for bracelets, spools of ribbons, ink pads, and cardstock paper go a long way.

Related: Protecting the Memory of Our Lost Child

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words; I say that a good picture could write a novel. Now, I do not draw well. The talent train lost that boxcar for me, but I know some phenomenal artists that use their sketching pencils and paints to say a whole lot. Your creation doesn’t have to be displayed. It isn’t for recognition; it is allowing you to cope with a hurt always remains. Imagery may not manifest through drawing; it might be through the lens of a camera. I love taking pictures. I always have, but it wasn’t until this chapter of my life happened that I realized I could find moments of peace through my 140 mm lens. Occasionally, I find him or a surging calm in part of the photograph that wasn’t even the original focus.

Find what eases your heart when the words can’t be found.

Photo By: Heather Welch




  • Heather Welch

    I am a mother of 3 boys, a wife, and a teacher. Anytime I get to talk about my sweet Wyatt, I know he is smiling. I want the conversation about child loss to not be one that we are scared of. We can learn so much from each other by talking, writing, or simply just being with one another.

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