Grief and intense sorrow are emotions we all experience in our lives. They can leave us feeling emotionally raw and overwhelmed, struggling to accomplish daily tasks.

Several years ago, when I was heartbroken over a loved one’s serious illness, I put aside my writing and told myself that I couldn’t write during this difficult time. Even when there was nothing else I could do except let the medical team do their best, I ignored my internal voice that told me to keep writing.

A wise friend of mine, who is an extraordinary artist, encouraged me to channel my raw emotions into my writing. “When we experience the sharpest, most painful emotions,” said my friend Rada Yakova, “that is when we should focus on our creative expression more than ever.”

“Grief is not linear and it has no endpoint,” says grief expert Krista St-Germain. “Our goal is not to move on from grief, but move forward with grief.” Allowing our feelings to be woven into the fabric of our life, including our creative side, is an important part of how we process intense emotions.

“Feelings are not problems to be solved,” continues St-Germain, ”they are experiences to be allowed.” Our society often encourages us to focus on the happiness in our life as if positive emotions are the only ones we should aspire to, the only ones that are worthwhile. Yet, the so-called negative emotions – grief, sorrow, anger, despair, anxiety – are an important element of our existence and personal growth.

Moving forward with grief has been at the forefront of my mind these past few weeks as I have said farewell to my dear father and delivered the eulogy at his funeral. I have experienced intense emotions – from sorrow to joy – during this time of farewell. It has been difficult. But it has also been amazing to share with loved ones the memories of his extraordinary life and legacy.

To all those who have strong creative leanings, I encourage you to push all of your intense emotions into your creativity. Continue to write, paint, sing, dance, design and create alongside your hurt and pain.

And, dear Dad, I will put all my energies into my writing because that is the way I express who I am and how much you meant to me.


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