A stone with heart shape and words drawn on it that read, “for all those who have loved and lost.”

How Grief Inspired WanderWell Journals

I was in denial and didn’t even know it. Factually, I knew my husband was gone. But I was pretending to be okay and behaving as if my life hadn’t changed. I stayed in our home and attempted fumbling through the routines of the day, or I’d find moments to go out for drinks and dance with friends. Or I’d invite people over and host dinner. What was I thinking?! I could barely feed myself and here I was playing hostess. I was in complete denial. Thankfully no one in my circle was buying it; they knew I was a basket case.

Inside I felt nothing. Not happy, not even sad, just nothing. I used to throw my smile around like confetti, and now it felt like the most unnatural thing in the world. The brain is an incredible thing - it was trying to protect me from the pain while it took its time to process. If I didn’t go numb it was worse because I could practically hear my brain tearing apart, like ripping pages out of a book.

So what did I do? I’d throw myself into being busy: I have to go back to work, I have to settle the estate, I have to plan a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, drive here and drive there…I’d find reasons to ask someone to watch my baby because I could barely look at him without wanting to check myself into an asylum. This is what avoidance looked like for me. It lasted for months, and I was filled with shame.

In my heart I knew that I wanted to get better. So I started to slow down, just a little bit. I’d use my face roller and write in my journal. The journal was my safe space to write letters to my husband and to release my fears. Each day was like climbing a mountain, but I kept going - I kept trying, and I kept writing. I built endurance and my journal absorbed much of the anger and insecurities I felt inside.

To be clear, journaling was one of many resources I used. I also scheduled regular therapy appointments, took bubble baths, practiced meditating, yoga, and spent a lot of time with family. What made journaling unique though, is that every time I wrote I felt immediate release and relief. Sometimes you think you know what you’re going to write about but then you put pen to paper and a different story spills onto the page. Has this ever happened to you? I think that is a special moment. It’s a moment of truth. With those pages I couldn’t hide anything about myself (which sometimes can be scary too). Without a doubt the jumbled mess in my head became a bit more clear, and I’d feel a teensy bit stronger and a teensy bit wiser. Little by little, a little became a lot. And so here I am - creating journals with a mission to help folks find some peace of mind.

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