1. best_fullback
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    best_fullback Member

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    Writing from personal loss

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by best_fullback, Nov 5, 2009.

    On Tuesday night I had a phonecall from my mum to tell me that my cousin, tragically, had died overnight from Swine Flu.

    Obviously, I was very upset and still am. I was almost inconsolable on the evening of the news but gradually I have come to terms with what has happened. For the last few days I have been a recluse prefering to almost ritually study my Law for my degree than see my friends and play sport. As many people do when coping with loss of a loved one, I always wanted to keep my mind busy on other things rather than think about it.

    I believe the topic of loss and coping with the subsequent loss is one of the most powerful and emotional subjects to write about. I feel, and have felt, compelled now to write about my feelings and expressions and relate them to my character in my novel, who also is dealing with loss.

    At the moment I only have vague sketches in my imagination and several jotted ideas. Has anyone drawn from simialar experiences off loss into their writing? And if so, what did you find was the best way to achieve this?

    Cheers guys.
     
  2. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I had an experience that, thankfully, did not end in a death, thought it came close. But it was an incident (involving someone close) that bothered me very deeply. I wanted more than anything to be able to write something about it or from it. I was very bothered that the only thing I could write seemed totally unrelated--even trite and foolish in some ways, or maybe, I thought, even disrespectful. But I could not write anything that "felt" in keeping with what I was experiencing during that time. Finally I just allowed myself to write what seemed to come out, and I learned an enormous amount from what resulted once I was able to free myself from the feeling that I "should" or must write some thing in particular. It was a little like giving myself to the experience of writing from some deeper existence inside me than I was even aware of.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think it helps to write from some distance. If you write while you are still in the throes of grief, your coverage will probably be flat and one-sided. Take down notes during this time, but don't try to assemble it into a complete piece of writing until you have some perspective, and some peace.

    I lost someone about a decade ago, someone I loved deeply. She was across the country at the time, but we spoke pretty much every day. After a couple days of hearing nothing, I checked with her work, and discovered that she had died suddenly from a mild heart attack brought on by her heavy cigarette habit. She was alone at the time.

    I have journal entrues from that time. The emotions are raw, and pure, but very flat. I also had a web page up at the time to her memory. The writing was ok, but it was full of bitterness, and not a little self-pity for my loss.

    I am sorry to hear about your cousin. For now, write down your thoughts, but only for yourself. Share your grief with those close to you who also knew your cousin, and you can support one another through it.
     
  4. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I agree. When I lost my mother, my first thought was to write about the deep sense of loss. But better by far to wait until you can get a better perspective. I waited four years before I wrote about the loss of my mother and my father some years earlier. It was painful, but it made me remember things I thought I'd forgotten. It ended up being a tribute to them and to the life they lived rather than a piece full of my own sorrow.
    There is so much more to the life your cousin led than the last few days of his life. Wait until you can remember that, then write the best tribute you can. That's the best way to honour him.
     
  5. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I am deeply sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you and your family. I haven't written about a death close to me, but have written on the breakup of serious relationships before, but i think the advice given here already is the best and to come back to it from a distance as writing whilst still experincing the loss can actually be detrimental, and you may find it isn;t as good as you would liek as your mind isn;t really on the situation.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    back in my old life, my lover at the time, who'd gone on the wagon for me, was killed by a drunken driver... and i had to hide the fact that we were lovers, which made it even harder to bear... years later, i brought him back to life in a novel... doing that was the final closing of that door and one of the holes in my heart...

    i counsel people who've suffered a loss, or painful experience, and want to write about it as a catharsis, to write in third person, as i've done more than once, which allows us to deal with the loss from a less agonizing perspective and leads to better writing, as well, since it's not overly angsty, having to relive the ordeal, vs just 'reporting' it...
     

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