From the minute we got the terminal cancer diagnosis, we were hustled into counseling. Dan’s was different than mine. Mine should have been called “How To Become A Widow” counseling (totally vomit inducing since I hate that word), but one thing was constant. Every session, every social worker, psychiatrist, and grief counselor all said the same thing…you should journal.
I am VERY good at following instructions, so I did. I wrote out everything I was too afraid to talk to Dan about. And after he died I wrote out my pain. It was endless. And horrific. And sad. And miserable. And lonely. One day I was
complaining journaling how I missed being able to talk to him. How I missed being able to share my thoughts, fears, and dreams with my best friend in the whole wide world. In that moment I decided to stop using my journal to log my misery, but to start talking to Dan. I decided to write the same kind of letters I did when he was away on military training, and something crazy happened.
This promised coping mechanism finally started to help me start coping. The tone of my journal entries changed. Instead of focusing on how awful I felt, I was reminded that I WAS actually doing things. I wasn’t as stuck as I thought I was. By writing to Dan as if he was still alive, I was slowly helping myself realize that I was still alive. The darkness was starting to fade.
Will that approach work for everyone? Of course not…is there anything that works for everyone? It’s working for me, so I’m sharing it with you, my lovely W’s.
Diary Dan, I miss you.