It's LAUNCH DAY! I'm excited to announce my new release–Creative Ways to Grieve: A Guided Grief Journal! I started working on this journal over a year ago and I procrastinated soooo much, until about a month ago, when I decided that I just needed to focus and get this done and publish before moving and starting my new job. And I finally did it! YAY!
I never would have thought that grief could change my life in such a big way. Before losing my dad, I hardly ever expressed my emotions or even told anyone my feelings. But it was through this grief journey that I discovered more about myself–my true self–and that there is no shame in sharing and expressing my emotions. After about two years of isolating myself, suppressing my emotions, and trying to 'get over' my grief, I decided to change my perspective and started embracing all the emotions I felt, writing them down and then sharing with others. Believe it or not, I now give myself time to cry and talk to my dad almost every day in my heart, after realizing that grief never ends. As long as I am alive and still feel love, I will grieve because grief IS love! If I stopped grieving, I'd stop loving, and that is something I don't ever want to happen! So what did I do with all that grief? There was a short period of time when I wondered what the point of life was if we all just die in the end. What's the point of working so hard? What's the point of having a family if our loved ones would eventually leave us? I felt lost and thought life had no purpose and no meaning. Obviously, in my head, I knew this wasn't true, but it was hard for my heart to believe it. Then every time I thought about him and missed him, I wanted to cry. Not wanting to feel the pain, I distracted myself with other pointless and meaningless things like Netflix, random games on my phone, and even worrying about other things. I thought it was better not feeling anything but very soon, I developed serious anxiety. One day, I decided to write a letter to my dad. I wrote about the last day he was with us, his memorial service, what people said about him, what I'd been feeling, regretted about the past, and what I dreamed about doing in the future. It was like a huge weight had been lifted. Later, I started writing stories about him. Some real, some made up, some conversations I imagine having with him. Eventually, I wrote a fictional children's story, which turned into two books–Can You Hear Me, Daddy? and Can You Hear Me? I published them without any expectations, or even thinking I would write more books after that. But the response was beyond anything I had ever imagined. Not only did the books win multiple awards, I connected with readers, authors and others on the grief journey from all over the world, many of whom have become some of my closest friends now, despite the distance. This community is something that I will forever cherish, and I wouldn't have known any of these people if I hadn't had this experience or written those stories. My grief journey started with a lot of pain, sorrow and darkness, but has somehow brought me back to life when I started allowing myself to feel my emotions and express them creatively.
After I recognized and embraced my emotions, I became much happier, even though I practically cry about once a day. But they are mostly full of joy and brings me peace afterwards. It's a cathartic feeling to release them and I found different creative outlets to express myself. The prompts included are things that I have thought about and wrote about in my private journals, blogs and notes. Other than writing, I also started coloring more and found a wide variety of coloring pages with uplifting quotes and scripture, full of beautiful patterns and designs, (obtained through private label rights) some of which have been included in this journal. After trying all kinds of ways to express myself, I began to heal and found even more happiness and hope that I never had before. The connections I made with people became deeper and more genuine. I became more honest with my friends and family, and I wasn't afraid to talk about the uncomfortable topics like death or loss.
I'm still working through my anxiety but I've made so much progress in the last few years, stepping completely out of my comfort zone, doing more than I ever could have imagined. I gained so much more than I have lost through my grief journey. Though I would not wish for this to happen to anyone, I hope to help those who are grieving to find their own outlets to express themselves–recognizing, embracing, and releasing their emotions instead of ignoring or suppressing them, because they will stay with us for a long time and inevitably become a part of our lives. Why not use your grief and create something to honor your loved ones? I hope this journal can help you get started on this journey of creative self-discovery and find new ways to express yourselves and connect with others. Your grief can become a gift and your superpower!
Out now on Amazon: https://mybook.to/CWGrieve