If you want a creative way to express your grief, then a grief journal may be right for you. A grief journal can be anything you want it to be; a way for you to share your grief, thoughts, feelings, questions, memories of a loved one, or anything else you need during your grief process. It's not just effective for getting things off your chest. It's also meditative and can help you to get at the heart of your emotions. So often when we experience emotional trauma the enormity of it is overwhelming. Giving it a concrete description causes it to feel more manageable. And taking the time to put emotions into words helps to get in touch with and identify the emotions you're feeling. Whether you want something more writing-based or artsier, we’ve brainstormed ideas for you to create your own grief journal.
Grief Journal Type
Depending on your preferred style, there are several types of journals to choose from, such as:
- Blank journals to fill with your thoughts and ideas.
- Journals with pre-written questions and writing prompts.
- DIY journals you construct yourself.
If you want to free write your thoughts, then you may want a blank journal. If you prefer pre-written questions and prompts, then you may want a pre-made grief journal. Or if you’d rather make it yourself, you can construct your own DIY journal. Choose whatever fits you and your needs.
Also, if you prefer to not write at all, check out this art-based journal. You create a list of emotions, assign them a tissue paper color, and fill the page of the day in your journal with the colors/emotions you’re feeling.
Here are a few pre-made grief journals you can buy online:
- Forever in My Heart: A Grief Journal
- Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance
- Always with Me: A Journal for the Grieving
If you want to make your own DIY journal, check out these ideas:
- Create a handmade journal from paper, fabric, and glue.
- Re-purpose an old book or your loved one’s favorite book to make a journal.
- Sew together pages to make your own journal.
For those who want to free write, we came up with some prompt ideas in the next section.
You should decide your journal’s focus, such as if it’s for a specific loss or a variety of events. Also decide if it’s for preserving memories, working through grief, connecting with your loved one, or a mixture of these.
Below are some writing prompts we broke down into various categories. You can choose a prompt to write about each day in your journal. Write your responses in bulleted lists, sentences, paragraphs, charts, or whatever works for you.
Your Loved One:
- What was their personality like?
- What were their hobbies, passions, and interests?
- Describe what their favorite things were, such as food, color, etc.
- Share your favorite memories with them.
- What were their goals and dream job?
- Write about your grief and what’s on your mind.
- Come up with healthy ways to grieve and list them in your journal.
- Think of ways to both memorialize your loved one and help you grieve.
- Describe what emotions you’re feeling each day.
- Share songs lyrics, poems, and quotes to help you grieve or write your own.
- Write down what’s happening in your life as if you’re talking to your loved one.
- Think about your own funeral wishes.
- Contemplate your future goals.
- Describe your thoughts on death and any fears you may have.
- Create a bucket list
Even if you don’t make a DIY journal, you still can personalize your journal cover. You can decorate it with stickers, flowers, photos, memorabilia such as ticket stubs and photo booth strips, and other decorations.
You can write your loved one’s name(s) on it and dedicate it to them. Some other writing ideas are short poems, song lyrics, quotes, favorite memories, and sayings your loved one always said.
You can set aside a time each day to write in your journal, or choose a certain day of the week to sit down and write. Or, you can just write as memories and feelings strike you. Do what works best for you. Choose a comfortable location to write in, such as your living room or bedroom. Don’t dwell too much on trying to always have something to say. Just keeping writing about whatever comes to mind. If you’re a morning person, write when you first wake up. Or if you’re a night owl, write after dinner or before you go to bed.