Writing About Loss

Whenever I work with a group of writers one common theme that always appears is loss. As humans we have all lost people and animals and places and jobs — and those losses have also caused elemental changes within us. Perhaps that is why we so ache to write about the loves we mourn. Or perhaps it is simply that we struggle to understand the loss so we can heal, so we can survive.

I have always struggled with this writing theme. I have tried innumerable times to write about the losses I have experienced, especially the horrible years when multiple losses carved deep wounds into my soul, but I have never been able to find the right approach, the right balance. Everything sounds too saccharine or too morbid or just silly or stupid.

However, reading Victoria Chang’s “Obit” this week may have offered up a way to write about grief and loss. It is so very human to focus on small details such as a dress, flowers, or hair dye and to wonder about the loss of small things when the greater loss is too much to think about in the moment. I spent some time writing about loss this morning. It is too soon to share the results, but I did get a good cry in as I wrote so I consider that a healthy sign.

How have you been able to write about loss? Share your writing and inspiration using the #JustWrite hashtag.