“Mourning is love with no place to go.” – Anonymous
HEALING THROUGH CREATIVE GRIEVING
Mourning the loss of a loved one can be a difficult journey if not for ways to express your grief in a positive, healing way. Expressing your grief in words may not always come easily, but there are other ways that help you through the process, thereby giving you the freedom to achieve a calm, inner peace. “Creating grieving” through arts and crafts can give you something else to focus on while still memorializing your lost loved one.
You don’t have to be an artist to put your own private thoughts on paper with drawings or paintings. Get some sketch pads and pencils, paints or watercolors. Set up a quiet, private spot in your house to begin creating. Put on some soothing music or nature sounds, close your eyes and let inspirations come to you while thinking of your loved one. Using music that contains lyrics can interfere with your thought processes. When you’ve finished, turn the painting or drawing over and put the date and maybe even a title for what you’ve just created.
If you do feel the need to use words, buy a nice journal book. Give yourself a few minutes each day to sit quietly and jot down your thoughts about losing your loved one, dating each entry. Store your journal in a safe place, as your thoughts are only between yourself and your loved one.
With something as simple as a shoebox or cigar box, you can create a loving tribute to your loved one. Covered and lined in a nice fabric and decorated with ribbons, flowers or stickers, the box can be filled with photos, letters, prized possessions, or anything that symbolizes your loved one. Visiting the box will help you connect spiritually with that person.
This project can involve the whole family as you all remember what made your lost loved one so special. Even the kids can get involved in this one. Start out by making a timeline of your loved one’s life so you have a guide to follow throughout the pages. Each family member can tell a story about the loved one with poems or drawings that reflect a certain part of that loved one’s life. Gather photos, event ticket stubs or menus from special events, along with ribbons, awards or CD jackets from a favorite albums – anything that had meaning to that person’s life while alive.
Perhaps your loved one is remembered for fabulous family meals and incredible recipes. Everyone in the family probably has a favorite, along with a story to tell or photo to share. Old recipe cards, seldom seen or used anymore, can be a treasure trove of family favorites. Print out pages of recipes, memories and photos onto letter-sized paper and tuck them into three-hole binders, or have them bound at an office supply store such as Staples. What a meaningful and practical way of remembering your loved one!
Grandma’s dresses and aprons or grandpa’s shirts, jackets or ties can be incorporated into a memorial quilt that you have created or had done by someone else. Whenever you feel the need to “feel” your loved one near you, wrap yourself up in the quilt for some spiritual comfort.
A garden or dedicated lawn area can be the perfect place to memorialize your loved one with an engraved bench, engraved or painted garden tiles or stones, special plaque, garden flag, or even personalized wind chimes. Your garden or lawn area might be just the place to even plant a tree in your loved one’s memory!
Any of these projects can have the ability to redirect your energy from loss and hopelessness to finding that peace within. By trying these simple, positive avenues to creative grieving, you may surprise yourself.
As the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renois once said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
By Sandi Austin