Writing Images and Emotions

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law committed suicide. During the days since his death as I struggle to control my anguish and comfort my family, I find myself remembering images. My grief pulls pictures into my mind like a slide-show— my mother-in-law, her face crumpled as she cries, my great-niece peeking around the corner, searching for her Papa, the young neighbor boy at the funeral trying to keep his composure, holding back tears. Grief hits me like a driving rain each time I think about it, one breath away from sobbing.

While others think in terms of capturing a memory with a photograph, I remember moments in words. My mind replays events, and then the work begins as I describe those images, grasping the emotion forever.

 Joan Didion once said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

 In the weeks to come, I’ll be doing this—attempting to process the emotions as I write. It’s a good thing, this writing and processing. If you carry difficult emotions, I hope you will do the same. Make a list of the images in your brain. Describe them. Process them. And try to let them go.


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  1. Margaret Marty
    May 18, 2013

    Angie, thank you for this! Yesterday was my anniversary date with my first husband who died 8 years ago and I was experiencing strong emotions, so this really spoke to me. Thank you!

    • affoster22
      May 20, 2013

      I’m glad this helped, Margaret. Grief is a slippery thing. Writing seems to nail it down for me.

  2. Bev
    May 18, 2013

    Raw emotions. Praying for hope and healing for all.

    • affoster22
      May 20, 2013

      Thanks, Bev.

  3. AngelaFoster
    May 21, 2013

    Praying for you

    • affoster22
      May 22, 2013

      Thank you!

  4. Char Donovan
    May 25, 2013

    Bless you for your honesty, Angela. I grieve with you. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and it does help put all feelings and experiences in perspective. I’m with you on this one.

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