When someone we love dies, it feels like a part of us also dies. It can be difficult to know how to start the healing process. A grieving journal can be a great way to honor your loved one’s memory and start the healing process. These prompts will help you get started.
Grief Journal Prompts
The grief journal prompts are journal writing prompts that aren’t meant to be answered word-for-word or in just one sentence. They’re meant to trigger thoughts or memories so you can explore them more deeply if it feels right. It’s like your daily grief support.
- What’s your earliest memory of the deceased?
- What things make you happy and grateful to have experienced this person?
- When was the last time you saw this person?
- What do you wish you could say to the deceased person that you never got to say?
- What did you like best about this person?
- What do you miss most about this person?
- Why does the loss hurt so much?
- What was your favorite memory of this person?
- What’ll you miss most about this person?
- What were his or her hobbies and interests?
- If you could tell your loved one about your day, what would you tell him or her?
- What’re the things he or she used to say to you?
- How are you feeling right now?
- What’s one thing that reminds you of him or her every day?
- Do you regret how you treated your loved one before he or she died? If so, which ones and how can you cope with them now?
- Did your loved one’s death help in any way to improve your relationships with others, or did it open up new opportunities or experiences for you or others close to you? If so, what’re they, and how can we use them as lessons if we’re facing a loss ourselves soon?
- What do you wish they could’ve experienced in their lives with you?
- What kind of support would you want from others in your own time of grief and loss? What kind of support have you received in your own time of grief and loss?
- What would be your first question if you could ask it now?
- How are you dealing with this loss in your life?
- What’s helped you deal with your grief in the past?
- What things have helped you recover from this loss?
- How has your life changed since her death?
- How have your relationships with other people changed since your loved one died?
- What do you think will help you cope with grief in the long run?
- What’s been most difficult for you in this process?
- How has their death impacted your life?
- Do you think they’d want you to stop grieving or move on with your life? Why or why not?
- Who can support you now during this difficult time? Has anyone in particular helped you cope with the grieving process so far?
- How has your family (or friends) been since they lost their loved one?
- Are you supporting them? How?
- Think about what you’d say to someone who’s grieving.
- What’s the most important thing that’s happened since your loved one died? Why is this so important to you at this difficult time?
- What’re some things people don’t know about death until it happens to them personally (and what can we do as a society to avoid these situations)?
- How do you feel about yourself in your grief?
- How this person lived their life makes it hard for you to accept their death.
- Is any part of this process that seems unfair or unjust to you? If so, how do these feelings affect what’s happening in your life right now?
- How has this experience changed your understanding of life in general? How has it changed your overall attitude toward death?
- Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what do you think it might be like for people there?
- What do you want other people to remember about this person?
- How do you think your relationship with the deceased has changed over time? How?
- How will you keep their spirit alive in your life?
- What’s been the hardest part of grieving so far?
- What things make you feel like the person who died is still with you, even though they’re no longer physically there?
- What song or piece of music reminds you most of your loved one and why?
- What makes you laugh or feel happy when you think about him or her or talk about it with others who knew him or her well?
- How does this loss affect how you identify or see yourself in society?
- What can you do to take care of yourself when you feel overwhelmed by a difficult emotion?
- What’re your hopes and dreams for the future?
- What’re your plans for the future, and how are they different from the ones you had before the loss?
- Do you want to be remembered as a person who’s always laughing or a person who’s always crying? And why?
You Can Also Write a Funeral Letter to the Deceased
Writing a condolence letter to the deceased helps you grieve and express gratitude.
It’s not easy to just let go of someone you love. You may have many questions or feel that you could’ve said or done more to keep her or him with you.
But grief journaling prompts aren’t about answers – it’s about accepting that she or he’s gone and allowing that you’re sad about it without trying to fix anything or figure out what went wrong. And grief journaling is one way to do that. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it; all that matters is that you get the feelings out of your head and onto the paper (or screen).
When we write down how we’re feeling, it becomes real to us – and when our feelings are real, they can change. We can recognize all the little details of how we felt and how our loved one’s death affected us, and we can begin to process all those feelings so that when we look back later, we’re able to say, “I’m fine,” instead of “I don’t know.”
Write a Letter of Condolence to the Family
A letter of condolence is a written message expressing sympathy for the loss of a loved one. It can be sent to the family as part of the funeral or after the funeral.
When writing your letter, remember that the family has just suffered a loss and is probably grieving. The tone of your letter should be respectful and kind without being overly sentimental or sympathetic.
You should also avoid mentioning details about the deceased person or their death. Instead, focus on expressing your condolences and hoping you’ll find comfort during this difficult time.
Dear [person’s name],
I’m very sorry to hear about the death of [name]. I know you’re going through a very difficult time, and I wanted to express my sincere condolences.
[Name] was such a great person, and I know how much you loved him/her. I hope this letter finds you well and brings you some comfort during this difficult time.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything I can do for you or if you need someone to talk to.
How Writing Helps With Processing Grief
The grief journey is a process. Some people talk about the deceased daily, while others have the hardest time expressing their pain to another person. Writing is a different way to manage it and gives some mental health benefits in the healing process.
When You’re Grieving, It Can Be Hard to Express Yourself
Grief journaling helps you focus on your experience instead of worrying about what others might think or say. You can write about your feelings without worrying about how they might come across – and in doing so, you’ll find that your thoughts become clearer and more orderly.
Writing also helps with the grief process because it allows you to face your pain and express it healthily. This can be especially important for people who’ve experienced trauma or abuse in the past and those who’ve experienced a sudden loss or change. When we experience trauma or loss, we often don’t know how to respond.
Writing allows us to process our feelings safely and effectively so we don’t feel overwhelmed by them later (which could happen if we don’t take time out now).
Writing each thought helps you process complex emotions like anger or frustration that seem overwhelming when talking to others but seem much smaller on paper (or in an app).
How Do You Know What Stage of Grief You’re In?
Grief is a process. The stages of grief aren’t set in stone and aren’t necessarily sequential. They can occur or repeat in any order and can also be experienced with varying intensity. You may feel like you’ve gone through the phases perfectly, only to be back at square one when something happens that triggers your grief again.
If you’ve lost someone important to you, it’s normal to go through these stages at some point. Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace, but there are some general signs of where you’re in the grieving process.
The Final Stage of Grief, Acceptance, Can Take a Long Time
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to rush through the other stages to get to acceptance.
When you grieve a loss, these stages don’t happen in the same order for everyone. For example, some people go from denial to anger before they get to bargaining. Others may start with depression before moving to anger.
You may also experience each stage differently at different times in your grieving process. Some days you may feel numb and unable to feel anything at all. On other days, you may be overwhelmed by your grief that nothing else seems important.
These are normal reactions when you’re grieving – they’re part of managing the process!
What Happens When You Don’t Grieve
Grief is a normal reaction to loss. It’s part of the human experience, and we all go through it at some point in our lives.
When you grieve, your body goes through mourning and healing. The same thing happens when you’re not grieving – your body just doesn’t know how to process what happened, so it repeatedly plays out the same scenario in your head.
When You Don’t Grieve, It’s Like a Wound That Never Heals
Many people think that they should just get over it when they grieve. But the problem is that grief is an important part of the process when you lose someone you love. You can’t just ignore it and expect to move on with your life. If you try to avoid or suppress your grief, it’ll resurface and make you feel even sadder or angrier than if you’d allowed those feelings in the first place.
Grief is like a time machine that takes us back to the painful memories of our loved ones dying. It also allows us to remember her or him as she or he was before they died and helps us mourn their loss for what it was: a loss that changed our lives forever.
What Happens After the Grieving Process
After grieving, you may have a new appreciation for the person who died. After going through the pain of losing someone close to you, you often feel that they’re still with you in some way. It can be hard to imagine going through life without seeing that person again – and often, that’s because we didn’t have a chance to say goodbye or share our feelings with them.
But if you keep a happy memory of him or her alive and think of them often, you may feel their presence even more strongly. This is especially true if they were a positive influence in your life and went out of their way to let you know how much they liked you.
You may also find it easier to think positively about yourself and your future now that they’re gone. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but consider what would have happened if they’d lived longer: You probably would have spent more time thinking about how much time you’ve left instead of enjoying the time you’ve left as much as possible. So instead of mourning their absence, celebrate what life has given you so far and plan for the future by taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically, as well as those still alive.