Writing will save your life

When I got my MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles, the director of the creative writing program told us, “Keep writing. It will save your life.” I believe it has.

This year has been especially tough. My husband Fred, in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, went into the hospital on New Year’s Eve. After that, he went from one shade of horrible to another. Every week, I lost more of him.  Finally, on April 23, he died.

During all that time and through the years of his illness, I journaled, wrote poetry and came up with  article ideas. Even at the funeral home, making arrangements, I thought, “There’s a story in this.” (You would not believe how much it costs to place an obituary in The Oregonian.)

Writing gives me a place to put all those thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be unbearable. I don’t know how non-writers cope. Maybe we can help them by expressing what they cannot express and sharing what we have learned.

Yes, there are tears, and there are times when I sit paralyzed, suffering from what  a friend calls “widow head.” My life has changed tremendously in a way I never wanted, but I do believe that writing can save us.

Life gives us stories. It’s our job to write them.

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