Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Written emotional disclosure

"That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,
as well as friends."   From Heavy by Mary Oliver

The fall after Tom died, I sublet an apartment close to the college and drove home on weekends, and the occasional weeknight.  As the nights grew longer, I would pull into the driveway to find the house draped in darkness, grief pooled around the foundation.  I was afraid of the grief, of what might happen if I gave it free reign.  If I got too close, would it pull me into its maw, leave me spinning in an endless orbit as if inside a black hole?

I remained skittish for years, going as close as I dared, occasionally stepping in over my head, when the tides and waves of life shifted the unseen sands beneath my feet.  And one day, I went closer.  God and friends both had a hand in things, enabling me to get closer than I would have ever dared otherwise.

I wrote.  Armed with pen, my quiver of words at the ready, bulwarked by prayer (my own and those of others) I could and did get closer.  And I still write.

This brief bit on expressive writing and trauma in the Philly Inquirer the other day suggests I'm not alone!

Patient Spiritual Director and I both read this piece in Wired about ways in which to blunt or erase the memories of trauma.  Had this been an option, would I have taken it?


  1. I am glad that you write and that you use mugs. The combo brought us together, and I guess I could add that it is good that I do those two things too.

  2. Oh Michelle, what expressive writing this is. I am so sorry for the losses that you have suffered, yet... well, I don't have the words. My heart to yours, my friend. Thank you for your generous ways.

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