Friday, June 26, 2009

Writing for Wellness

Today, I'd like to share some touching quotes from Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing, by Julie Davey who leads writing groups for "cancer patients, their family members, doctors, nurses, caregivers, and others who may have suffered tragic events in their lives."

When Davey's own father was dying of cancer, she wrote: "My parents were not ones who often said 'I love you' to each other or to my brother and me. ...My parent's actions always showed their love; my brother and I knew how they felt. I assumed my father always knew how I felt, too. But, somehow, when a person is terminally ill, all of these emotions rise to the surface. If the opportunity to speak them or write them is not taken, then it is truly lost forever.

"With pen and paper, I told him how much he meant to me, how much I loved him, and how grateful I was to have had him for my father. I sobbed as I composed the letter and had to recopy it because of my tear stains. It was my first experience with the healing power of writing.

"I felt greatly relieved after I finished writing the letter. I wrote things I had wanted to tell him for years and never did..."

Perhaps because of my lengthy illness, I have often written letters to relatives or friends to tell them how much I love them, and/or to thank them for standing by me when I was ill. Have you?

Exercise: If there are people in your life with whom you need/want to share your feelings, perhaps now is the time to write to them.

Ms. Davey recommends the following prompts: "Dear...As I look back over my life, I remember a time when...

"I feel fortunate because without you..."

I believe that one of the values of having been so ill is that I have learned how to express my feelings honestly and openly. What have you learned from your illness?

6 comments:

Periwinkle said...

Susan,
what happended to Mariposa I dont see her on your blog anymore always enjoyed her comments and reading her blog :(
Periwinkle

mmaaggnnaa said...

Hi, Susan -

What a great question!

Through my healing, I am learning to really connect with people -- to deeply connect.

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)
http://mmaaggnnaa.wordpress.com/

Paula Joy said...

I am CONSTANTLY writing some of my closest friends and telling them how much I love and appreciate them. Sometimes I feel like I write them too much!!

I wish my Mom and my Grandpa had internet so I could write them more - I'm not good at getting to the Post Office!

Telling someone close to you how you feel is very important. You may think they know already, but everyone needs to hear they are loved.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Periwinkle,
Mariposa got a new job and is busy adjusting to it. But, she's still around and I'm sure she'll be commenting more regularly once things calm down.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marie,
It's nice to know that good things come about from things we might not consider a "blessing."

Glad to hear it!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Paula Joy,
I couldn't agree more. I grew up in a household where my parents always told us how much they loved us, and how proud they were of us.

And, I always told them how much I loved them as well. But, when my mother had dementia and there were so many memory issues, I wrote an essay about how much I loved her, and all the things about her that I admired and loved, so that she could read it, or I could read it to her.

Susan