Monday evening I met via Zoom with a group of widows who are in a group using writing as part of their grief healing. I just met with them for about 10 minutes to talk a little about writing as therapy and about writing my blog. I also offered to publish anything that they write that they would like to put out into the world. This morning in my Morning Pages, I wrote down some thoughts after that Zoom meeting and thought I would express them here for this week.
Every time I talk about grief, it takes me back to those initial days of my own grief journey and trying to find my new footing in a life that had completely been blown off course. As I prepared for the Zoom, I certainly revisited those early days of my grief, and as always, I’m so happy to be in a better place mentally and emotionally today.
Genesis Of Now Choose Life
I told this group of widows about the genesis and the naming of this blog. I’ll tell it here because I had someone ask me about the name recently.
I started getting daily emails from GriefShare a few weeks after R passes away. Because GriefShare is a Christian organization, a scripture come with each motivational emails. A couple of months in, I received an email and Deuteronomy 30:19 was the scripture reference. It says:
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
That scripture changed my life that day. I printed it and taped it to my refrigerator so that I would see it every morning. This was my new way of looking at life. Those words impacted my life in ways that only God-Breathed scripture can do. Of course, I wanted my children to live full lives. I needed to make sure that I too lived a full life as an example for them. I told them the night their father passed away that we were not going to fall apart because we lost him. We became the Three Musketeers, and we were going to get through this together. I had a tremendous burden in my heart for my children and how they could respond to his death. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to show them how to keep living in the midst of this terrible loss.
I had always been a reader. I’ve never not had a book I was reading. Some books took me a while to read, but there was always a book beside my bed. Grief too away my attention span. My gnat-like attention span coupled with a mind that needs to do research to try and understand everything led me to blogs written by widows. Blog reading was wonderful for me. It only takes a few minutes to read a post. I was able to keep my attention on those posts when it couldn’t be kept in the many chapters of a book. Blogs became my new reading.
Some of those blog posts became prompts for some of the journaling I was doing. A post was easily relatable or motivational for me so I wrote my ideas about the subject.
I fell in love with words again by reading and writing them. So after a year of journaling, I decided to start a blog. I knew the name had to be based on the scripture that changed my life- Now Choose Life. The simple act of hitting “publish” was like a release of sadness. It was cathartic to hit publish and send my words out into the vastness of the internet. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a blog for several years. I just let whoever needed to find my words find them.
The blog has certainly evolved over the years. I didn’t stay in the horrible days of grief. I’ve rebuilt my life on a firm foundation, and so what I share had to change too. I write to my best friend now-YOU, my reader. Many people suggest having an imaginary person to whom you write your blog posts. I have always had faith that whoever needs to read it will read it so I don’t have anyone in mind when I write.
I think it’s only fitting to include all of the verses around Deuteronomy 30:19 because they are so powerful.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I love those words- Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life!
It is my hope and prayer that this space helps others choose life, love God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him!
I hope the women in the group I met with last night find the words they write to be as healing as I have.
Have you used journaling as a means of healing? Have you used journaling as a way to strengthen your mental health? If so, I’d love to hear from you!