Write and Release: The Benefits of Journaling When You’re Grieving

Dec 7, 2023

Dana Casadei, Media Relations Specialist

While a blank page and knowing where to start when it comes to journaling can be daunting, it can also be incredibly beneficial for those who are processing a loss.


“Journaling is one of our favorite modalities to recommend for people mourning because you can do that in so many ways,” said Becca Guenther, Angela Hospice Grief Care Counselor. “You can share it if you choose, or you can keep it private.”

Journaling doesn’t have to be a massive manifesto or have perfect spelling and grammar, what’s most important is getting your feelings onto the page.

Going back to the daunting task of a blank page, Becca recommended finding writing prompts, which you can do by searching online. She also recommended beginning by writing a letter to someone who has passed, or even making a list of things you miss about your loved one, things you may be struggling with, or questions you have.


Becca Guenther, Angela Hospice Grief Care Counselor


This type of writing can be a great form of stress relief and sometimes, a really big opportunity to say things you may not have had the chance to before someone passed. You can explore unfinished business through letter writing.

The benefits of journaling go past what you write too, and can be quite profound if you choose to release it by safely burning it or using paper that will dissolve into water.

You can even give your writing new life by ripping it up, mixing that with soil, and watching something bloom from it.

“I think the ritual of writing and releasing, it can shift energy, and can help make space for something new, letting go, before I can add in things that feel better for me,” Becca said. “The releasing can also be the idea of I don’t want to carry all these painful things with me. Sometimes we need a tangible ritual that we can do to feel more connected to that work.”

And the work one does while journaling can be hard too, bringing up a variety of emotions.

You don’t have to dive all the way in at once though. You can take it bit by bit, and if it gets too overwhelming you can ask for support too.

“I would tell people to reach out, let us help so it doesn’t feel like you’re becoming flooded,” Becca said. “So definitely let us help, and we can help with those things. It’s what we do, all day every day.”

For those dealing with a loss, the Angela Hospice grief care team offers both one-on-one counseling for patients’ families and group support to the community. Please call 734.464.3277 or visit our Grief Care page for more information.

There’s also the Good Grief: A Guidebook for Spirituality, Health, and Connection in the Midst of Loss, a downloadable e-book full of insight, inspirational stories, and interactive journaling sections, which you can download here.