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Writing as a Healing Tool in the Grieving Process Print E-mail
Rachel Levy Lesser   
Thursday, 04 March 2010
Writing as a Healing Tool in the Grieving Process - image by Mattox (sxc.hu)After my mother died in the summer of 2004, I felt pain and grief like I had never known before. When I woke up in the mornings, my body literally hurt. People told me that time would heal. Time passed and I began to wonder if in fact that was true.

I then remembered something that my mother had told me almost 15 years ago when I had to write a paper in high school. She told me to write about what I knew. I realized that I could write and write thoughtfully about my mother. Perhaps this would help.

I thought about telling her life story and was too overwhelmed with that idea. Then I thought of a framework by which I could tell her story. I could tell it through shopping. Shopping was a ritual in my family in which the female members came together to spend time, be together and catch up on each other’s lives.

The words began to flow into the paper. Every thought brought back a memory whether good or bad, a memory. Thinking through these stories allowed me to work through some of that pain that I couldn’t seem to tackle in any other way. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

I couldn’t wait to get to my computer at night and recall of the wonderful lessons my mother taught me. I smiled to myself as I envisioned her sitting in the dressing room of a store telling me why I should not buy that dress. I brushed away tears as I pictured my mother, bald and bloated from chemotherapy treatments no longer able to try on clothes in her regular dress size.

The result of all of this writing came in the form of my new book, Shopping for Love. It tells the story of my mother’s life, our close and unique relationship and the life lessons that I learned with her while shopping. It illustrates how the act of shopping helped to extend the quality and quantity of my mother’s life.


Writing and publishing a book has been very rewarding for all of the obvious reasons. What is much more meaningful to me, however, is the cathartic experience that writing gave to me. There are all sorts of therapy that can help in the process of grieving the loss of a loved one: psychotherapy, group therapy, family therapy and more.

I believe that there is a lot of value of writing as therapy to help one through the grieving process. Writing forces you to go beyond thinking about your pain or talking about your pain. You have to formulate a coherent thought on paper when you write and this takes you to that next level.

Everyone is on his or her own schedule when it comes to dealing with the pain of losing a loved one, and there is no right schedule. For me, writing gave me a much-needed schedule. It gave me the opportunity to sit down and clearly think about my mother and feel my loss.

Now that my writing has turned into an actual book and so many others are reading it, there is a whole other level of healing that I am experiencing. My mother’s story now lives on through my book, Shopping for Love. People living with cancer or family members of people with cancer have told me that my book helped them in their struggles. People who have lost loved ones to any circumstance have told me that my book touched them.

This is the ultimate form of healing as it has made me realize that I have taken a tragedy and made something positive come from that through my writing. I would urge people dealing with this kind of pain and loss to sit down and just begin to put their thoughts on paper. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Rachel Levy Lesser inherited the shopping gene from her grandmother, aunt, and mother. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received her MBA in marketing from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Rachel has worked in marketing for People, Teen People, People En Español, Real Simple, Life, and Sports Illustrated for Kids magazines. She is currently the director of marketing at a strategic marketing and design firm near Philadelphia. Rachel lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Neil; son, Joey; and daughter, Rebecca. Rachel and Rebecca can be found shopping at Baby Gap, Bloomingdale’s, and everywhere in between. Visit http://rachellevylesser.com/

Article source: http://www.articlesbase.com/self-help-articles/writing-as-a-healing-tool-in-the-grieving-process-604942.html

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