The Benefits of Writing Therapy When Your Loved One is Ill
There’s a quote attributed to prolific author Isaac Asimov. He was asked what he would do if he learned from a doctor that he only had six months to live. Asimov replied, “I wouldn’t brood. I’d write a little faster.”
It’s usually very jarring to hear that the story of a life – yours or someone close has reached the final pages. No matter the length of that lifespan, it can instill a feeling of panic. While very few of us are capable of the Herculanean writing output of Asimov (nearly 500 books! All those short stories and articles!), many of us could benefit from putting one’s thoughts on paper or in digital form like a blog.
The actual method isn’t important. Some are most comfortable writing by hand on a pad or a notebook or a journal. Others find that their thoughts flow best through their fingers onto a computer keyboard. The lure of dictation software might appeal to those in a weakened state as their journey comes closer to an end. Regardless of the method you choose, it can have a profound effect on how you handle the difficulties of a loved one who is ill.
A blank page or screen can be a really intimidating sight for anyone. For some, it can seem to be as insurmountable as having Mount Everest right there in front of them. Don’t be a perfectionist – just go in and begin writing. It doesn’t even have to be anything you might consider too profound. You don’t need a professional biographer to detail your life or thoughts- your own words are enough!
One thing that can really halt people is if they are constantly editing themselves as they go along. Believe it or not, even the professional writers tend to let their first draft be a speed job… and then they go back and make changes. Just let what you are thinking come out on the paper. It can be a story or even just a free flowing stream of thoughts.
Being in hospice near Glendale can mean a lot of idle time. There can be the lure of television to distract. But even that might not be sufficient. This can be good therapy for you.
The Other View
It’s not just those who are in hospice or palliative care near Gilbert that might need to use this as a catharsis. There are family members who are also going through stressful times as they see a loved one preparing to see their final days.
This can also be something that allows them to occupy their time, whether they are with their loved one at in-home hospice, Catholic Care, inpatient hospice, or any other choice. It can be a reprieve from the emotional toll that they are feeling while going through this.
Like the patient, the caregiver or family member’s journal doesn’t have to be too in-depth if they don’t want it to be. Perhaps they can recount loving memories of good things that happened in the past. They may want to recount the not-so-good things as a way to possibly begin a healing process. This is not something that will be graded.
How you choose to go about this is all about what will make you feel at ease. You can air untold grievances, treat it like a confessional, or you can talk about mundane things. Each person is unique and what works for one might not work for another. It’s all about whatever journey your pen or fingers decides to take you on toward the last destination. Just enjoy the process.
In either case, it’s also important to have everyone know exactly what you want done with the journal, in whatever form. Do you want it for your children or grandchildren to look over, or is this just going to be a private release. Make it clear. For the dying, they are going to have to trust the others to do their wishes. This is still an excellent way for all to have a clear mind when it’s all over.
While it’s good to try to keep a habit for as long as you can, on the other hand your output is entirely determined by your circumstances. Don’t judge yourself by how much or how little you actually wrote. There’s a reason why there was only one Isaac Asimov – he had a singular focus. With what time you or your loved one has left, you can write as fast or as slow as you want.
If you live in the Mesa, AZ area and are in need of – or know someone who does – palliative or hospice care, Americare Hospice will help you find comfort. The staff can even help with some of these ideas. Contact them today at 480-726-7773 to see what they can do for you.