My First Grief Poem
Creative Writing Prompt

This grief poem developed in a trauma healing class. The instructor was telling us that when we repeat the same story over and over to ourselves it creates grooves in the thought patterns in our brain. As with grooves in a dirt field, it becomes easier for us to just stay in the grooves.

As a creative writing prompt, the instructor suggested that we try writing our story in less than 100 words. This would interrupt the already established grooves and help us rethink our story a little. Another benefit of this extremely shortened version of our story is that it helps us find out what really is most important to us in our story.

This story of less than 100 words can be written in a paragraph. But as I was writing my story, I found that complete sentences took up too many unnecessary words. So I shortened it into a poem. It was the first poem I had written in years. This was it (For those who will feel the need to count, yes, I know it is 101 words!):


I thought I knew you, God.
My life was planned—John, children, Thailand.
We were following a call—serving those in need.
We had vision, purpose, dreams.

One sunny Sunday morning
and one drunk driver collided in time.
John and Thailand exist in another world.
I search for the meaning of life and pain,
I long to know God in this.

I struggle to let the contradictions be what they are
No need to explain
I try to remember each day is gift
And live the right now, today, every day,
fully present to God, to life and to love.

I found so much healing in writing my own grief poems that I began to do it regularly. Eventually I put it together with photography from my grief journey. It has now been published in a book titled, Seasons of Solace.

Your turn:

So the invitation is for you as well, use the same creative writing prompt--what 100 words would you use to tell your story? Of course, the words I would use today would be different than the words I might choose next week. Today, what are the most important elements of your story?

After you write it, come back and share it with us on the bereavement poem page.

Need Poetry Help?

Read more grief poetry and get more suggestions for writing your own poetry at the main grief poems page.

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