So, the plan was to post on forgiveness yesterday but, no surprise, forgiveness is a super complicated topic and I got sucked into a black hole of thinking, researching, and writing waaaay too much. By last night the post was around 3200 words, after I had cut out at least 1,000 words. In case you aren’t tuned in to word counts, let me just say that 3200 words is A LOT for an online article-even for us! So, new plan: I will take this weekend to wrangle that forgiveness piece into something manageable and today I’ll post a grief journal exercise meets continuing bonds meets a great quote from Billy Joe Shaver. Ready. Set. Go.
The other morning I was driving in to work and heard an interview on NPR with Billy Joe Shaver. No, that isn’t the guy from Green Day. He is a 75 year old country music writer who has written some pretty famous songs performed by some pretty famous musicians. Near the end of the interview Billy Joe (yes, we’re on a first-name basis now that I have listened to that interview) began talking about his son and writing partner, who died of a drug overdose nearly 15 years ago. He still talks to his son when he is on stage performing, and in the interview talked about how his son is still with him, saying “I do believe when people die their goodness, the good things they’ve done, it seems like they melt into your likeness and you become a better person for it.” The minute he said it it rang so true for me- our loved ones’ goodness does melt into us. It does make us better people. It is just easy to forget that when we are randomly bursting into tears in public, or struggling to get off the sofa.
A while back we wrote about continuing bonds. If you missed it, you should go check it out. Or, here are the Cliffs Notes: continuing bonds is the theory that when your loved one dies grief isn’t about working through a linear process that ends with ‘acceptance’ or a ‘new life’, where you have moved on or compartmentalized your loved one’s memory. Rather, when a loved one dies you slowly find ways to adjust and redefine your relationship with that person, allowing for a continued bond with that person that will endure, in different ways and to varying degrees, throughout your life.
When I heard the Billy Jo Shaver interview a continuing bonds moment arose. I started thinking about all the goodness in me from those who I have lost. I felt inspired to write it down, but sadly I was driving. For the safety of others on the road, I refrained from pulling out a pen and paper to start writing. But assuming you’re not driving right now, I encourage you to use this quote as inspiration for your own continuing bonds journal exercise. Consider all the goodness that “melted into you” from your loved one. Write about the things they taught you, the values they instilled in you, and every other piece of them that is a part of you.
Click melting journal pdf to download the journal page below. Print and work on in your own journal entry, thanks to Billy Jo Shaver. Or, share your thoughts in a comment, because we love comments!
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