I was touched to read an article by the author of Parentless Parents, Allison Gilbert, about how writing about grief, loss and mourning had made her happier. Touched because I have also lost my parents (my father to cancer; my mother has dementia and no longer knows she has a daughter), and also inspired, because I could use my experiences to write so much more about healing after bereavement.
I wrote an 80,000 word memoir about my dad, eight years after he died. I got up at 6 every morning to write 1000 words of stream of consciousness. The process made me feelcloser to him, less afraid of my feelings, and resolute in capturing a piece of him that was lost forever. I had never planned to publish this memoir, but I know I can turn to it when I need to. And I have a sense of achievement: I have completed a memoir, even though I haven’t yet completed my novel.