Writing Images and Emotions

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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.



  1. Margaret Marty

    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!

    Posted on May 18, 2013
    • affoster22

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

      May 20, 2013
  2. Bev

    Raw emotions. Praying for hope and healing for all.

    Posted on May 18, 2013
    • affoster22

      Thanks, Bev.

      May 20, 2013
  3. AngelaFoster

    Praying for you

    Posted on May 21, 2013
    • affoster22

      Thank you!

      May 22, 2013
  4. Char Donovan

    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.

    Posted on May 25, 2013

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