Maybe Journals Can Help Us Heal

It seems as though everything happens at once. You know the saying, “when it rains it pours.”

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of heartache around me lately. Friends, family of mine are losing people they love so much. You think to yourself… what do I do, what can I say? How would I feel? I remember that feeling when it happened to me. It’s awful. There is no solution. No resolve. The best thing you can do is provide comfort and make them feel safe.

I remember when my Grandmother got sick. My Mother moved to New Jersey temporarily to take care of her.  In a small apartment, doing what she could to provide comfort, and go through the acceptance process herself, she began to organize and go through my Grandmother’s things. She found a box of letters.

My Grandfather
My Grandfather

My Grandfather had passed when my Mom was 14 years old. My Grandmother, Italia (or Tily as we called her), never remarried. In the box, were letters to my Grandfather. Not letters from when he was alive, but letters she had written afterward. She had written things like, “you are the love of my life.” It was so moving. THAT provided comfort. Sadness that she had lived this long life without him, but comfort that she would be with him again soon. She missed her partner, and her friend. Nobody compared. I’m sure she must have been attracted to people through the years, and had male friends. But, nobody could be her “companion” like my Grandfather could. Love, support, friendship go a long way. Lust is temporary.

I’m Catholic, I believe in heaven. I truly believe there was a great reunion when she crossed over.  The thing is, I only knew my Grandmother to be happy. She laughed. She made me, “eat, eat, it’s good for you!”


It’s amazing what you can discover from what people write down.

I’m public, yet private. Sooo private. People think they know me from what they see or what I put out there publicly, and sure, that’s a side of me. But, only about 10 people know me completely.

M, T, M, S, D, B, A, my Mom…. okay, make that 8.

I’m so protective, that sometimes it can be annoying. It can. But, covering the news for so long, I’ve heard it all. This is a popular soundbite I’ve heard over and over through the years, “I never thought it could happen to me.” So… I’m a bit of a privacy nut. I’m okay with it though. I like the private conversations I have with special people, that people don’t know exist, because I don’t tweet it or status update it. It’s private and special. There’s a whole entire world outside my public world. I think it’s important to keep it that way. I like balance.

Okay, so where is this going.

Basically, I’m saying this…. it’s been said for a long time that writing things down can help you. Seeing it, writing it. Reading it over. It’s healthy. It’s between you and you. But maybe we can also provide the people we love some sort of comfort. My Grandmother’s letters were beautiful, therapeutic. If we all left our feelings and stories for our loved ones to read, would it help them heal? I think it might.

What’s been happening around me has unfortunately made me think of these things. We are all going to experience extreme pain from losing someone close to us at some point. I had a friend tell me he hurts knowing that I will feel how he feels someday.  So I guess I’ve been thinking how can it be less painful? What can we do?

Maybe we can write some things down at key moments in our life, when we are feeling happy or sad, inspired… whatever. We aren’t all vocal about how we really truly feel. That’s a fact. So it’s easier to write it down. Maybe it would help if people could read our stories. They could learn something they didn’t know, or laugh out loud at something they wrote. Maybe someone has always wondered what you truly thought about them, they just weren’t sure, and you have more love for them then they knew. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find out in a note or letter. Maybe we don’t have the courage to say how we really feel now, but we want people to know what they meant to us. All this, makes me think it’s a good idea. I have always journaled, but stopped once my life became writing. I have notes and things I’m grateful for written down, but I will soon make a conscious effort to do it. It is therapeutic, I know this.

As I always say, this is all just food for thought. Might be worth it. You might feel better too.

4 thoughts on “Maybe Journals Can Help Us Heal

  1. RE: your quote above, “I never thought it could happen to me.” is so true. I have said that a lot this past few months as I have dealt with very serious dental problems. My mom lost her teeth 25 years before she was my age and now I am going through it now at the ripe old age of 61. When I was the age she went through it I never expected to still be alive long enough for it to happen to me.

  2. You’re a living angel Dayna. You said so many things I feel internally and can’t get out. I list my husband of 40 years in 2006. I only hope and pray I meet someone to share my life with again. I have children, family and all the love one could ask for. But I want another love in my life. That must come to my open heart. I too am catholic and don’t think one moment that I don’t pray for this in my life everyday.
    I thank you for sharing what you wrote in your blog.
    You are an amazing person.
    I read all your posts which brings me to this: our smiles hold so many other feelings that we hang on to internally.
    Love and hugs to you
    Doris Ebertowski Maleski

  3. I have been telling myself for years that I should start a journal, but it always gets put off….”Maybe next week, etc”. It all overwhelms you after awhile. I lost my father many years ago as I lost my oldest child 25 years ago. In the last 7 years, I have lost my mother, my youngest son, a nephew, and a younger brother. I thought, “My God, what else”. Now my wonderful wife of 45 years has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. I need to get some of my thoughtson paper for my sole surviving son to know how I felt and what I have been going thru all these years. After all, he lost a brother and a sister too.

  4. It’s all too sad, Dayna. You think you have coped or ARE coping with the loss of someone; then “poof”! Something stirs up in you, you see something, you hear a special song, you experience a special dream, or you run across something very special; and the memories and heart ache flood back in. In my case it was a picture of the “perfect” vacation with special people I love. There was six of us and we took a vacation to Jamaica a few years ago. When I first ran across the picture after so many years, I smiled with wonderful memories . . . then like a bolt of lightning . . . the realization hit me . . . I’m the only person alive in that picture. I realize I need to write about them so I never ever forget those treasured memories; and so that the kids can enjoy them in the years to come. Yes, yes, yes! We need to journal everything precious to our lives. It goes by so quickly, and it is very difficult to cope with the losses. But to keep them all locked up inside is a very selfish act. Privacy is one matter, but when you are gone; someone should be able to tell your “real” story, Dayna. Someone should be able to tell the Dayna story that no one else knew outside the media and not-so-close friends. But I also believe that if you have 8 or 10 people who really know you well, then you are rich indeed! You’ve lived well, and your legacy is what you are living now. Nothing can replace those special conversations with those you love who know you best. Just don’t let them slip away when you are older and they are gone. I believe in Heaven, too, and I know there is a great place for me there with my friends and family. Just as there will be with you!

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