On the day of Steve’s wake, my dear friend Nicki Porter gave me a gift which literally changed my life. It was a blank journal and on the front she’d drawn a heart with our names. She added the year we’d met. 1971.
I had never kept a diary before let alone written in a journal but on April 2nd 2017 I wrote my first journal entry. I’m looking at that first piece of writing now and the poem I’d included by Mary Oliver, In Blackwater Woods:
“you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
Yes, I’m crying now, the tears are running down my face and I’m having intense doubts about sharing my personal life via this blog. The question keeps coming into my mind, should I be raking up all these emotions a year later when I’ve moved on. But the answer that comes back, carry on your words may help others deal with their loss.
This is what I wrote in my journal in April 2017, just a few months after Steve died.
“I don’t want to relive all the horrors of January and February. The medical notes I kept for Steve during that time, I’ve thrown them all away. My aim with this journal is to write about all the amazing things we did in the last 7 months of his life”
And that’s precisely what I did, page after page. Not only was the act of writing cathartic at times, I’ve really enjoyed re-reading my words. I loved the 60 things I wanted to thank Steve for page. I was moved to tears by the intensity of those pages.
18 months later, I’ve continued to keep a journal. I’m now on journal #8. I went to Sicily this Summer and during those 3 weeks, I kept an art journal which included a few sketches, I never thought I could do that, another first for me. My mantra is, it’s never too late to try something new.
Give it a Try
Start a journal. Buy a colourful book that will inspire you to write every day. Don’t be too worried about writing nonsense, your journal is just for you. Collect memorabilia to add to your journal pages and photos too.
Do you keep a journal?
What are the benefits do you think? For me, it’s a great way to remember. I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below