Updated: Jun 8
A couple of days ago, I shared this on my social media:
It was my grief that started my journey as an author. But it took me awhile to realize I even had this potential. The pain of losing my dad felt unbearable, like it would never end. I was waking up every morning thinking about him, wishing I could talk to him, and crying as I realized I couldn't. Then one day, I started writing what I wanted to say. It was like he was right beside me and had never left. Grief became a gift as I began to write about my experience, emotions, feelings, even regrets and prayers–everything I had suppressed for so long. The words poured out and would not stop. Eventually, those words became two award-winning books. I cannot imagine my life without this special gift now, because I have finally found my purpose in life. This is why I created this journal–to help those on the journey of grief to unlock their creativity and find creative ways to express their feelings and emotions–from letters, stories or paintings, to songs and movies... the possibilities are endless. Even some of the world's most impactful stories, artworks, songs and movies have come from grief. Grief may never end, and it will change your life, but you can use it for good. Your grief can really become a gift.
Today, I wanted to share more about my personal grief journey and what I've learned from it. I hope it encourages others and helps them to know that there is hope and healing, and that grief doesn't have to be just full of pain and suffering. . .
When you hear the word 'grief', it's often associated with sadness, sorrow, anguish, pain, loss, suffering. But have you ever thought of grief as a gift? In the first couple years after losing my dad, all I felt were those negative emotions but I didn't actually allow myself to feel them properly. When I started to feel sad, I distracted myself with Netflix or picked up a book to read. I buried myself in work. I suppressed my emotions and pretended that everything was fine. Even though I came to faith one year after his death, I still hadn't healed from the loss. In a way, I felt that God was punishing me.
The church I was attending shared about a grief support group that was going to start, so I decided to join. Through this support group, I finally came to terms with my grief and allowed myself to really feel. It was a safe space to share and I wasn't alone. Each week after the session, I would walk out in tears and cried myself to sleep. But I slept so well. Releasing my emotions helped me to understand and process my grief. After a few more months, I started talking to my dad again. I wrote letters to him to tell him what had been going on with me. I made up conversations in my head and imagined what he would say to me. Soon, it became my very first book. Writing was my creative outlet for grief.
Since publishing my first two books, I thought about how grief had unlocked something inside of me. I think I had always been a creative person, however, I was held back by the perfectionist in me. Many of the stories I had started never reached the end. But this story that I had in me was already complete. It wasn't perfect, but it was real and raw. It just needed to get out. This process completely changed the way I thought about grief. It was no longer this awful, sad, painful thing. It became beautiful. I came across a quote that perfectly summed up grief and it made me grateful that I still grieve now:
"Grief never ends, but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love."
We grieve because we once loved. If we 'overcome' grief, it would mean we have stopped loving, and that would be even worse than grief itself. It was this great loss that led me to finally open up and share my feelings and emotions with others (not just about grief), and ultimately led me to faith in God, knowing that death isn't the end but the beginning of an eternity in Heaven. It gave me so much hope, comfort, joy and peace–things I had never actually felt before the loss. Grief gave me a new perspective on, not only death, but also life and love. The journey never ends; it is ongoing, but it can be filled with joy. I wanted to share this new perspective with others and am glad to be able to do that through the children's books I had published, but I also realized it is something others need to discover within and for themselves. It is hard to tell someone that grief can be a gift and become a positive thing. Who would believe or want to accept such a thing? So I decided to create a journal full of prompts, questions, activities and ideas to help those on the journey begin to open their hearts and minds to really feel, and to be able to express themselves creatively–Creative Ways to Grieve: A Guided Grief Journal. It took me a while but I have finally finished it and can't wait to share it with you all.
Here is a sneak peek at what's inside and the cover. What do you think?
I'd love for you to join my launch team for this journal! If this sounds like something you may be interested in, you can sign up through https://www.subscribepage.com/yychan_launchteam.
More details will be sent closer to the launch date (tentatively 21 June).
If you would be able to help share about this journal on social media, blogs etc. with photos / videos, please let me know by emailing email@example.com so that you can reserve a FREE paperback copy. However, there will be a limited number of copies, so let me know ASAP if you don't want to miss out on the opportunity.
Thank you so much for your support!