Favorite Thing Friday: Writing Therapy


This week has been a difficult one. My grandfather ended up in the hospital for a number of reasons giving all of us a very real fear of losing him. There’s nothing worse than watching someone you love suffer. Between the heartbreak and the sadness, there is the frustrating emotion of complete and total helplessness.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t handle any of these emotions very well. I lock them inside until they consume me. My only release comes from writing. All the things I feel, yet cannot speak always find a way out through poetry or free writes. This is my therapy and I am grateful to know myself well enough to understand I need to keep a pen and journal with me whenever there’s a crisis.

After a particularly difficult visit with my grandfather, I went home and sat down with my thoughts and my journal. In the space of 5 minutes, the following poem came flooding out:

Breathing is hard,
sitting up, too
Since when did living,
cause so much grief?
There is no pain,
except in his head.
He wants to let go,
but no one will help.

The blanket slips,
his feet are cold.
His arms won’t move,
there is no strength
I ask what he needs,
he says nothing at all
We watch the rain fall,
and hear the wind howl

His will is gone,
he wants to go home
I watch the despair,
helpless in every way
The clock keeps ticking,
despite his pleas
There’s nowhere to go,
his feet are still cold

After I wrote the last word, it was like every fear and all the bits of sadness and anger were sucked out of me. All that remained was the hope that he would get better.

And get better, he did. He’s not out of the woods yet, but he’s fighting hard to get back home. His strength is slowly returning and he’s telling jokes again.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014


14 thoughts on “Favorite Thing Friday: Writing Therapy

  1. Rita Ackerman

    C. B., you never cease to amaze me. Having been there I can say that this poem goes to the very heart of these moments. Thank you for sharing. I hope you can find a way to share this with many more who need those words.


    • I thought long and hard about sharing this piece. Part of me wanted to keep it private (as it is a very personal piece), but then I thought about how I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. Sharing it seemed like the only thing to do.


  2. It is devastating to watch a loved one suffer, as you say, because the helplessness is so prevalent.You just want to be able to reach out and heal him. I’m glad to hear he is getting better and stronger. We each find a way to cope. Yours is writing it out, and you find an inner poem that expresses how you feel. My first reaction is a verbal one to whatever powers that be. I’m either pleading or cursing. I live with a daughter who is in pain every single day, and has been for years. She valiantly soldiers through it all. I think I ‘ll take a lesson from you and just write out my frustration. Thank you for sharing your situation.


  3. I think I need something like that after going to a funeral today. I usually rely on “time” because I get too embarrassed to tell people how I feel. I’m a very emotional person, but sometimes I’m too afraid to show it. I know it’s appropriate to cry at a funeral/memorial service. Instead I hugged the kids, put on a brave face and calmly walked to the bathroom where I cried in the stall listening to the bagpiper practice in the room next door and then I slipped out the back door.


    • Time is an incredible healer, but sometimes its not enough to release everything we hold inside. Sometimes crying isn’t even enough. Those feelings need somewhere to go and giving them words has always been my way of giving them a place to live other than inside of me.


  4. These sorts of moments are so hard, and you never cease to amaze me with your ability to catch all sorts of moments into poetry. Glad to hear he’s doing better. Praying he’s doing even better now. *Hugs*


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