Healing Through Creative Arts
Writing helps bring lost loved ones back to life.
Posted March 9, 2021 | Reviewed by Hara Estroff Marano
Although we are always going through a process of coming to terms with the absence of what once was and no longer in our lives, these days the global pandemic has made loss and grief vividly part of all of our lives. Humans around the world have used the arts to help us through troubled times. One way I find brings peace of mind is poetry.
I dreamt that I died
lost at sea
washed up on shore
and there they were
waiting for me
to return home to them
wagging their tails
licking my face
We lay together
on the sand knowing
that we had never
ever been apart
I wrote this poem as I was reflecting on my dogs who have left this world. It's a lot like thinking about people who have passed on, wondering if they exist in some other form and if our connection still exists. We reflect in this way to cope with the loss of what we have loved.
Religious and spiritual beliefs about afterlife deeply influence our grief process. While they buffer the loss, we all psychologically have to find meaningful ways of moving on in life after losing loved ones. We miss the sight of them and the feel of them, even the smell of them. We may remind ourselves that they are gone in those ways, released from their bodies. And we may reason that their bodies had worn out and could no longer support their lives. We feel some compassion in letting go of them and some comfort in keeping them alive, in spirit.
I think that many people find solace in the growing sense that our loved ones live on in us. This is the beautiful message in the Lion King--that our departed loved ones live on in some mysterious way in us. We feel a growing sense of their presence and a belief that our love keeps them alive.
Writing poetry is healing, and when someone dies, a burst of creativity may be born. Art helps us to say goodbye to our loved ones (Pennebaker,2004). By writing about them we bring them back to life. Writing allows people who are grieving to have a voice and find some power over their pain.
Pennebaker, J. Writing to Heal: A guided Journey for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval. (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Press, 2004).