Finding a voice and then hitting a wall

For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t been writing much lately. Well, I haven’t written much in the last year or so, actually. I don’t know why I haven’t been writing much. It seems as though I hit a wall in my writing not too long after I hit the ten year anniversary of Jason’s death. It felt like I had so much to say when I started. After the ten-year mark, it seemed as though I ran out of words.

I’m not a “natural” or “driven” writer. Some people have to write. It’s like the words are churning right under the surface, waiting to get out. I’m not one of those people. I have to wait until I feel like I actually have something to say, which isn’t all the time. When I feel like I have something to say, I write. I need to have a purpose to write and something meaningful to say, otherwise it feels as if I struggle getting the words out.

I like to think I write fairly well. My grammar is good. When I have something to say, I write from my heart. I write in a readable, narrative style, I think. It just doesn’t come naturally to me all the time.

I guess I’ve been trying to figure out if writing this blog helps, if it’s accomplishing what I set out to do.

Has it helped me? Yes. It has helped me put into words that which I’ve held inside of me for so long. When I felt like I had to stuff my feelings and emotions down inside of me because those around me wouldn’t understand or no longer had a desire to hear what it’s been like to lose a child, writing has given me a voice. Initially, that voice was through writing in my journals. That voice continued to speak when I started writing this blog. But, I have definitely hit a wall.

Has it helped others? I hope so. (And, NO, I’m not fishing for compliments!) I want to be helpful; I like to feel useful. I have a generally helpful personality. I want to encourage people who read my blog that surviving the death of a child is possible. I want to encourage other parents who have lost a child to step forward to speak about their experiences. If we – as parents who have lost children – don’t express what it’s like to be on this “side of the fence,” how will others know how we feel, how we hurt, how things affect us? I want to encourage those who are around parents who have lost a child to step forward instead of stepping away. I want to be helpful, but I want to be real in speaking about my own experiences without being discouraging. Perhaps I have been concerned subconsciously that speaking honestly would be discouraging to those early-on in their stages of grief. I think I’m afraid people might think, “Her son died eleven years ago! Why is she still struggling with this?” It’s a life-long path, this journey after losing a child, and one that can be complicated by many things.

I think another reason I’ve hit a wall is because I think I always assumed that a “greater good” or “purpose” would present itself eventually. Surely, Jason didn’t die for nothing. I haven’t seen or been able to create such a thing that feels like a purpose or greater good. Other parents start foundations, become grief coaches or counselors, write books and the like, but I haven’t found a niche of my own. I have some ideas – one, in particular – but the pieces just haven’t come together yet. Moving around and having little support system hasn’t helped, either.

I am working towards once again finding my voice and writing some sort of meaningful commentary. Thank you to those who have read my words and encouraged me along the way. I’ve been re-reading your comments, and they are most appreciated.

© 2013 Rebecca R. Carney

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16 thoughts on “Finding a voice and then hitting a wall

  1. Rebecca,

    You write from the heart and I have enjoyed your posts and learned from them. Know that no hurt is wasted. Your pain reaches out and touches others and casts some light on their lonely, dark path. I honor you for being vulnerable enough to share your feelings. As for your Next Chapter, it will unfurl if you place the intention and ask the right questions. This is the core of my work as a Dream Coach…guiding people to find their purpose after loss. Please her me when I say I am not trying to promote myself here. But I felt the need to reach out when I read your post. Things willnopen up. Keep the faith, my friend. Jason’s passing was meant to serve something much bigger.

  2. Awe Rebecca. How strange that when I wrote my post, you have arrived back. I just wanted to thank you for making me feel that I was not going mad and that truly
    others did not know the depth of my sadness. Its been 4 years and I am no further forward, in my heart. Just to say thanks again for being so brave to put your true feelings online and at least for me personally you touched my heart. Thank you

  3. My journey through grief has taught me that all purpose and meaning appear when I define them. And that some days or weeks the purpose of my life is introspection :). Your voice shall reappear when it is time. You do make a difference even when it may not feel like it. {{Hugs}}

  4. “I think another reason I’ve hit a wall is because I think I always assumed that a “greater good” or “purpose” would present itself eventually. Surely, Jason didn’t die for nothing. I haven’t seen or been able to create such a thing that feels like a purpose or greater good.”

    Rebecca, it will be 8 years for me this September.

    My church background groomed me for “greater good” and “purpose” – a common theme among evangelicals. I have stopped looking for those things and have come to realize that it hurts and it will always hurt. Those words only make you think one day there will be closure. Truth is, there won’t be. Not here on earth.

    My only purpose now is to help others the way God helped me through the valley of the shadow of death. I survived it. And I want others to know they will, too. So, I just point them in that direction.

    Death is an enemy. There is no greater good or purpose.

    Thank-you for writing. Thank-you for your honesty.

  5. You and your blog are an inspiration. I know you will find your voice again. In the meantime, work on your dream a little bit each day.

    Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

  6. I always appreciate everything you write. You don’t have to encourage those of us who have lost a child, your honesty alone means a great deal. The rest of the world gives us cliches, what we need is the truth. You’re still standing…and that’s encouraging all by itself.
    No matter what meaning or purpose people create out of this loss, I know that we would all give it up for the return of our children. Everything is just some sort of way to try to find meaning or a way to fill the void. Nothing can ever fill that emptiness.
    But your writing helps many of us to feel understood and therefore a little less alone.

  7. Rebecca,
    I want you to know that I think you are an excellent writer! The post you wrote after the death of children in Newtown left me gasping. I couldn’t have written about that subject any better than you did.
    Just like you didn’t want to worry other parents about the length of this grief journey, I feel similarly about that with you. It has been over ten years for you and over twenty years for me. I want you to know that I found my complete healing after 18 years. So when I had passed the ten year mark, I wasn’t expecting that I would ever let go of the pain.
    I have many other challenges in my life; the journey in life carries those things. But I am certain that I am not suffering anymore about Jason’s death. I pray that will happen for you someday.
    You will write when the time hits you. I like the fact that you are so aware of this. I think there is a lot more you will uncover someday. Your soul has been amputated and the empty space just hasn’t been filled yet with something that will heal you. For me, it was my music. You will discover something, trust me. I will think of you with love.

  8. You have encouraged us with your honesty and vulnerability. Only being a little over two years through this process, we value the insights from your experience. We have learned that there is no “getting over” this grief, however it is not as intense as at the beginning. We ache not only for you missing Jason but for the little support that you have had through this journey.

    We also thought the “greater good” or “purpose” had been elusive to us also (albeit it has been only two years), until someone left the following comment on our blog:

    “As far as doing a “big thing” I personally think that dealing with a child’s death without completely losing it and maintaining a loving family that’s a good testimony is not in any way a small thing.”

    I would say the same to you, that you are doing a “greater good.”

    May you experience God’s blessing and direction in whatever your next step may be on this journey.

  9. It’s good to hear from you. I think the greatest gift you do provide others is honesty. Hitting a wall and not having words to share is another phase along the lingering journey of grief. Wondering “where is the greater good” is might just be another level of that journey. Not finding answers to that question is honest, and worth sharing. I have learned a lot about being a better friend to others who are grieving because I have heard so directly from your hurting heart. And I have you to thank for being willing to share from your vulnerability. ox

  10. I found your blog through someone else’s and I have spent some time reading over it. My name is also Rebecca. I have lost a child as well. And my birthday is March 3rd. I feel a connection with you that I don’t often get.

    In the past year I have written less and less in my blog. I was afraid that I was forcing myself to do it; as though if I didn’t commit to it then I was somehow dishonoring my son. The fact was, though, that I usually only wrote when I was feeling upset. And, in year 3, the future was just a little brighter for me. Sometimes I still have those moments where I have to say something that’s on my mind but those are rarer these days. I think I am in a new cycle of grief and it just means less writing for me at the moment.

    http://www.lifeaftersids.blogspot.com

  11. Rebecca, I have only just found your blog, and already I can “feel” your honesty, and that’s the most important thing we need when on this journey of child loss. We each grieve differently, but knowing that others are “there”, too, helps so much. Just knowing that someone has made it ten years and is still standing, can still find a smile, can still live is such an encouragement.

    Thanks so much for sharing part of your heart — the real parts are what count.

  12. I’ve gone through that exact thought process more than once already, so this was like reading a mirror.
    Your writing has helped me, both personally and in terms of writing. You provide a great role model for both of those areas.

    I think (or maybe I’ve chosen to believe, who knows….) that it’s tough to tell sometimes because we’re writing about such a difficult and sensitive subject. It’s hard for people to comment sometimes, and many people reading aren’t the one who suffered the loss directly, but those who love them and want to know what they’re experiencing more deeply. Both of those make feedback difficult. It’s so hard to put the loss into words, as we all see right away in our own loss. It’s hard to know what to say as the one who cares for the grieving person. With that, it’s difficult for people to provide a lot of direct feedback, and that makes it tough for us as writers to know that we’re hitting the mark.

    So, to answer the question succinctly (too late!): Yes, your writing makes a difference. You’ll never fully know, which can add another layer to this whole crazy process, but your writing does actually matter.

  13. i am battling to write. My blog upsets my family, and I seem to have nothing new to say. i am consumed with grief. my words and feelings are the same. hugs and loving thoughts dear friend. Oh, you have helped me get through the first 6 months of my journey. Thank you dearest Rebecca!

  14. I appreciate the fact that you are also ten plus years into your grief journey. I find comfort and encouragement in knowing that others feel this way after a decade. Thank you.

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