21 Grief Journaling Prompts to Get the Healing Energy Flowing
Through grief journaling, we take small but solid and honest steps forward, which is the only way through grief (we can’t sidestep the work of grieving and healing; it is truly hard and heart work). From the pages of my own journal, I’m offering some prompts to encourage those steps inward and forward.
“Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life… Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of the things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again.” — Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
This quote reminds me of my dad when he told me that “we rebuild, together” — his response when I asked how I was going to make it through a really rough breakup.
Dad’s words (always so full of wisdom) still echo in my heart, and I consult them often whenever I need some divine guidance.
We can bear much more than we think we can, but we need to be able to share the natural feelings of suffering. But if we don't express the depth of what we're going through, how can we rebuild?
Grief journaling is one way of allowing ourselves the space for genuine healing to take place, whether or not we’re ready and willing to express ourselves to others.
Though the practice of sitting with a pen, pad, and our own presence, we make a statement to the universe: “I am willing to heal.”
“It’s called grief work because finding your way through grief is hard work,” explains bereavement counselor Marty Tousley, “and if you put it off, like a messy chore it will sit there waiting to be done.”
Marty also relates the work of grieving to “a long, winding tunnel whose entrance is closed behind you, and the only way out is through.” How true, and the only way through is your way through.
Through grief journaling I've learned that though I hurt, I don’t have to become the pain or be destroyed by it; I can even learn from and guide it.
These prompts can help you get in touch with what’s showing up for you so you can better show up for the healing. I suggest printing them out or writing them out and then taking your time to answer whichever ones you feel up to today.
21 Grief Journaling Prompts to Awaken & Allow Healing Energies
1. Today, I am really missing…
2. I am having a hard time with…
3. The hardest time of day is…
4. I have been feeling a lot of…
5. To allow these feelings room to transform into something else, I am willing to…
6. I could use some more…
7. I could use a little less…
Grief journaling is a therapeutic offering of compassion, a true gift of possibility.
8. I am ready to feel…
9. A simple activity or non-activity I could try today to make things easier is…
10. If I were to ask for help, who might I ask and what would I ask for specifically?
11. My support system includes…
12. I find it helpful when…
13. I feel most connected to my loved one when I…
14. A comforting memory of my loved one is…
When we sincerely contemplate what we can do from this place to participate in our own healing, miracles are summoned.
15. My loved one had a way of making me feel…
16. One way I can express this feeling (or these feelings) in a creative way is…
17. If I could be like my loved one in any way, I would adopt their…
18. I can honor my loved one by…
19. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by pain, regret, guilt, or despair, I will repeat this mantra:
20. To be more compassionate toward myself, I am willing to try…
21. Is there someone else who is hurting, and is there something I could do to show them I care?
. . .
Which of these prompts did you need the most today?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
P.S. Need more light today? See what else I've written about loss and possibility. You might find exactly what you need.
Comments on this post (30)
my life have been trauma, my parents were mentally ill and abused me and my siblings, then i got older and i faced harrassment and sexual assualt. I powered through that, but these last 6 months have been hell and I feel so much loss, i feel alone, and i know i have it in me to power through it, i can see myself thriving and being happy and full of life and love, but right now I am in the thick of it. I feel depressed most of the time and I can barely get myself out of bed. I have no clean clothes, and I sometimes go days without eating or bathing, brushing my teeth, or going to the bathroom. I’m doing my best, and I am improving. I have faith in myself to get through this, I accept how I am. I love myself regardless. And I am certain that I will make my life something that fills me with joy and love, starting with my room. But right now I am going to pace myself, and be gentle with myself, I deserve that at least. More than “at least”, I deserve all the energy and effort it is going to take to heal, and no matter what, I will put that effort in for myself. In the name of that one beauty product Cus you’re worth it XD
I don’t what to seem like I feel sorry for myself as I was told by a family member but I lost my mom 2011 from complications of a surgery & cancer… I was with her at hospital when she had the drop in oxygen & she screamed for me to help her but I was pushed out the room & as a nurse & daughter I felt I missed something… I don’t think I ever properly grieved or got past it & still have not been to her grave…. Fast forward to January 2021 my oldest sister was diagnosed with leukemia & in hospital for chemo & got Covid and passed , then February my dog I had 14 yrs had to be put down & I got Covid. I caught my fiancé cheating on me before that and we worked together on the road but I was home when he cheated and we broke up but because of financial reasons & pandemic we made peace , he apologized, we agreed to work together and were actually like best friends & still had love for each other but differently now…. We had a run to California October 20, 2021 and he made me step out the trailer so I would not be hurt and he was unloading cars for a proving grounds … I looked off at the man who runs the place because he yelled something out & the steel ramp with hydraulic force slammed down on him crushing his neck & hitting his head & as I turned back quick hearing the loud noise he was pinned & not moving … I screamed for help jumped in and couldn’t get ramp up and heard his last breath & saw things wished I didn’t & I wished never happened. He was dead instantly they say & that moment I felt I lost 10 yrs of my life, someone I loved , & a career. I had to sit with him dead in trailer for 3 hours til medical examiner could get there but the staff was nice and took me in office & sheriff sat with his body. Just writing this I am crying, I feel weird, short of breath & funny in chest. Days I cry , days I just want to lay around, I been sick with stomach issues , I feel scared I’ll die , I feel guilty …. I was just in trailer & he made me get out & he died & I couldn’t save him ….. we had just talked a few days prior how we still loved each other & always will & will always be in each other’s life even as friends but he is gone. I try to move forward & laugh & do things but feel guilty because he can’t …. If I hear a loud bang or see something on a movie like someone getting killed in the slightest bit close to him I cry …. I have bad dreams …. Or I can be awake and see it happen again …. I keep being told to move on with life, stop feeling sorry for myself, everybody has lost someone ….. I don’t know …. It’s just hard & I can’t focus or feel I make sense sometimes….. anyways sorry so long .
Three months ago my 47 year old son committed suicide after a long battle of depression. I tried everything in my power to help him to hang on and not to give up but couldn’t succeed.
My heart is in pieces and I don’t know how to move forward.
— Azat Guven
My dad died in 2018 five months after my mom died He was my hero, my protector, my encourager, my role model. With my mom I had time to prepare for her death, with my dad, I found out through Instagram that my father passed away. I am the youngest of 6 children, who all my siblings were very nasty to my parents for the last 5 years of their lives. My siblings were trying to punish me for trying to safeguard my parents and did not inform me that my dad had been taken to hospital, and that he died. Now every time I think of my siblings I get very upset and miss my dad like crazy. So I am just starting Grief Journalling tomorrow.
— Jennifer Millar
Kaycee, thank you for opening your heart to me, and for sharing in this space. May your inner child and her heart be free to let everything you’ve ever felt, flow through. You have such a big heart, such a beautiful soul. I see you. I honor you, your pain and your growth and your willingness to be fully alive with everything you feel and are. May you be free. ~ Jen
— Jennifer Healey
I am 47. I had a really difficult life with my dad, growing up he was very abusive to me, I ended up in a foster home. My mom left my dad when I was 12 and I was given back to her. My dad told family members he was going to kill me when I was 13 for ruining his life. When I was 20-21 (?) I was able to contact my dad and one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “Why did you beat me? What did I ever do to you that was so bad, that you had to do that?” In 1999 I actually moved to the state he lived in and found him, we had a decent time together, but in 2004, he sent me a letter (no warning signals were given, his previous letter to me was fine, no thoughts given to think this would happen) and in this letter he said he absolutely wanted nothing more to do with me, I and my brother were not his, he never looked at us as his children, to leave him alone and never contact him again. He sent back all my children’s pictures, everything I had ever given him and that was that. But it wasn’t, my little girl heart was shattered, I went into a clinical depression for eight years, my children raised themselves. I had alot of anger and hatred and grief towards my dad. In 2015, we reconnected and he was sick and in a wheelchair, he and I would spend hours talking, he would bring things up from the past, but I found that to agree to disagree was the best form of action to deal with my dad. We did have a few disagreements after we reconnected, but I was older now, I could see that alot of the reason to why he acted the way he had was pain and being afraid of being hurt. He passed away 12/3/21, I miss him like crazy, I know he’s in a better place (he had stage 4 copd, emphysema pneumonia , afib, congestive heart failure, and kidney failure) but my little girl heart is still shattered, wanting her daddy. It has gotten a little better, I’m not feeling as if my world imploded anymore, it’s just a feeling of sadness and teardrops, anger and fist shaking. Thank you for leaving the comment section open so people can leave their feelings here, that is so nice of you to do. Have a wonderful day.
Eu sinto imensa falta de três melhores amigos meus, o primeiro morreu em 2018 os outros dois morreram no ano passado. Sinto muitas saudades deles. Tô numa psicóloga para passar o trauma de os ver a morrer aos meus braços tenho ataques de ansiedade muitas vezes torno me agressiva.
— Joana Gomes
I am preparing Journal prompts for my friend who is the caregiver for her Dad and she has just been told he will die sooner than they thought. She is a photographer. I just want to get her some journal prompts and Bible verses to comfort her. When she said she bought a new journal but couldn’t write in it and then asked for journal prompts I knew I had to help her. Thank you!!!!
— Robin Puchala
Deserat, my heart is with yours and I send you my warmest love and energy. I know what losing your father feels like. I am so sorry you have to carry this pain. You’re allowed to be angry and have all the emotions. You need to. For some things, there are just no words. I hope you find tiny moments of love and feel support from those around you. You belong in the light. Email me if you ever want to vent or write. x
— Jennifer Williamson
I lost my father 1 month ago. To have someone stolen from you, is unthinkable. My father was my best friend, my superhero, and the one who always had my back. He is the main reason i am who i am . A perfect parent always there to share advice or even lending a helping hand. He fell sick and within 4 weeks he died. i feel like the place put there to help and save him , just let him die and lied to us . The anger !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sit many days just waiting to see or hear him. (crying) Daddy why didn’t you fight for me??????
— Deserat Major
A ~ thank you for sharing this openly with me and in this community of people who care and who are also grieving and doing their best. You are not alone. Miscarriage can carry shame when kept in the dark. Know that you’re seen not just by me, but by every woman who has lost a child and who has had to walk through this incredible pain. It is healthy and okay and right to feel your feelings and to share however you are in a safe space. So many people are walking around in pain, hiding it, and we just never know it. May the sun shine on you inside and out. May you feel warmth where you least expect it. May you find that you are not broken, your body is trying its best for you, and you are very worthy of love and compassion. x
— Jennifer Williamson
Shardehull, you will always deeply miss and feel the loss of your mommy. I am so sorry you are going through this. You are completely not alone, you are understood, and I see you in your pain. I know the pain of losing a parent you were so very close to… I am sending you all my love. I hope you will be surrounded by love and healing support as you do your best. Let yourself feel however you need to feel. Let yourself be a process, too. You will always carry your mommy with you. She is inevitably part of you. You can always email me anytime. <3
— Jennifer Williamson
Lynn, I wish for you the strength of your own love and compassion to carry you through. I am deeply sorry for this incredible loss. Sometimes, there are no words. Some things take a lot of time, and time itself doesn’t heal everything. Some things can only be carried. My heart is with yours as you heal and grieve and keep trying. x
— Jennifer Williamson
This was truly helpful. I had a miscarriage a few weeks ago and I have been staying busy with work as much as I can. I feel like I am pretending it never happened to avoid feeling sad. I don’t know how to grieve and move forward as I still feel very sad every single day. I also feel guilt because my body rejected the baby so I feel like I am at fault. I don’t like talking about it to family because I don’t feel like I am being heard, instead I receive their judgement and opinions. I don’t think they’re purposely being malicious but they aren’t very at communicating, neither am I.
I am a very private person so I don’t know how to share this with my close friends. I don’t want to look weak but I am struggling.
I lost my mommy January 11th 2021 im so lost my mommy was my best friend i dont know where to turn to im so lost..
My husband of 26 years passed away just two months ago from Covid. He was my life and best friend. We did everything together, whenever we weren’t working we were together. Trying to put the pieces of my new life together is so unbearable, I don’t know where to turn. I just need some direction on how to deal with this loss. I journal often and that does help, but missing him is so hard.
Yannaa, so much love to you for your father and all that you’re carrying now. There are some things that time doesn’t quite heal. For all those things, may we find love and purpose even still. Big hugs and my love. x
— Jennifer Williamson
2. I am having a hard time with constant loneliness no matter who is around and the silence.
My wife passed away out of nowhere and I’ve been unable to adjust at all. From our first date we spent every day together and did everything with each other. She was my best friend and partner. We didn’t even manage to make it to our first anniversary. She was so excited for our future together and it was gone in an instant. I don’t know how to move forward without her and don’t really want to.
Hi my dad passed away last year from the virus.. 2 weeks before lockdown and a week before I turned 21. We had plans … but those got canceled for life. I moss him so much and I really need to find another way to cope. My fiancé and him had the best bond… I’m so happy they got to met. They met when we were 15 and now we’re 22.
Emily, thank you for sharing because so many of us are probably feeling the same way, or will feel this at some point, when things need changing up. Ask for what you need when the time feels right. And if the change can only include what you do on your own, let that be a start. Sending you wishes of comfort, strength, and light in the new year.
— Jennifer Williamson
Thanks for this. I’m missing my dad. Holidays are especially hard. The one I’m feeling heavily is “I could use less of.” The rest of my family is keeping our holiday tradition the same, which makes it worse for me. (Of course, this year it was difficult to do otherwise though, with sickness, so I understand that.) Next year I’m going to push harder to change things up. It will still be hard, but I think a change in scenery and environment will help.
The other thing I wanted to mention is when I find prompts too difficult for me to immediately start writing about, I find a song to start me off. It really helps me, might help others.
Heather, my heart is with you. Thank you for sharing so opening and honestly here about what you’ve been going through, past and present, with your difficult losses. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, and the journey doesn’t really end – it just morphs as you do. The pain gets more bearable, when you choose to really feel what you’re feeling. You become more grounded, more connected, more intuitive and compassionate, and those qualities carry you forward – but you never leave your loved ones behind. They journey with you. Thank you for being you, for feeling, and for sharing. I believe in what your life can and will be. x
— Jennifer Williamson
His jennifer my name is heather i just found this page because i am starting my own grief journal anf i found your page. I just lost my grandma back in may 2020 and im struggling soo hard with it. I cant accept it mostly because i dont want too. Its a struggle to go on about my daily life. I am soo deeply sorry about the loss of your dad. I lost my uncle 22 years ago due to suicide. His death had forever changed my life i was 10 when he died i am now 32 yrs old i struggled for years to come to terms with it loosing someone to suicide is extemely hard as you are left with all the unanswered questions. I felt for years that it was my fault that he was gone that i could of stopped him from ending his life and that he would still be here today. I fought with myself over and over agin in my head trying to convince myself that there was nothing i could of done to stop it from happening i tried to numb those feelings by using drugs only to have those feelings return once i sobered up. I felt hopeless. Knowing the only way anything was going to get any bettet was to feel it. The pain never truly goes away but it gets better over time. Now suffering the loss of my grandma all seems like too much to bare. I still cant believe it. I dont want it to be real. I struggle very hard with depression over loosing her. The question of does this get any easier still lingers heavily on my mind. The grief i feel is sometimes very overwhelming and i wish i could feel happy and move on but its difficult. I dont know how to feel alot of the time. I wont accept because to me accepting her death means letting go and im simply not ready. I hope it gets better for u over time with the death of your father. Just know it was not your fault i am very sorry that you had to loose him that way. My heart goes out to you. I hope you find comfort and serinity with his passing. He is never truly gone he will always be with you. May god bless you and grant you peace.
Jennifer, I am deeply sorry for the loss of your father. My heart is with you during this time. Thank you for being so vulnerable and open here, for sharing this most difficult thing, and for being open to what helps you. I pray journaling can be a good part of your support system, as it was and still is for me. You’re more than welcome to email me anytime if you want to express something and know someone will hear you. Sending you all my love. x
— Jennifer Williamson
My dad decided to take his own life almost 3 weeks ago, it was completely out of the blue. My days have been filled with all of the “what if’s”, “why’s”, and "how could I have changed this…’ but all in all I usually end up crying and more frustrated/confused than I was before. But thinking of when I feel most connected to my dad it helps me remind myself of the peaceful, fun, and heartfelt times..like kayaking and fishing together, helping people together, him stopping at my house to see my kids whenever him and my mom were close by. He had just turned 56 and I’m almost 25..and I can’t help thinking of all the time we had left. But I’m hoping journaling can help me focus more on the times we did have than the times we’re going to miss out on. Thank you for posting this.