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Using Writing To Deal With Life's Tragedies

Updated: May 2, 2023

I'm a selfish author. I don't write for fans or readers. Although I want fans and readers. My writing is an outlet. And in the winter of 2015, it probably saved my life.

Let me go back a bit. I came up with the concept for my second book, Confession of Sin, in the latter part of 2014. I’d already finished book 1 Innocence Taken, and I was learning what I needed to fix in book 1 to get it ready for the query process. I was also working on my blog and getting that ready to be published.

I’d started writing book two mid-2015. I wasn’t in a hurry, because I was working on my author platform and building my social media presence. I had already decided if book 1 didn’t get picked up by an agent I would self-publish. So, I was taking my time, writing the books in my Damien Kaine series and learning everything I could about the self-publishing industry.

Book 2’s concept is (spoiler alert) about a young woman’s mother who commits suicide, and the girl blames priests and sets out to exact her revenge.

In late 2015, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother committed suicide. She suffered daily with a lot of pain. The medicine she was taking offered her no relief, and her physical pain became worse each day. She couldn’t care for her dog, who came to live with us. And even though I begged my mother to do the same, she would have none of that. For her, life was about quality, not quantity.

After her death, I had stopped writing altogether. I stumbled through each day in a haze. The holidays that year were horrible. During this time, my best friend of 10 years ended our friendship. I can only guess she didn’t know how to help me, so it was easier for her to walk away. That only compounded my loss. I shut down. I felt as if I was drowning.

My counselor suggested I journal. But I really hate journaling. Instead, I used my story to work through all those emotions I was feeling about my mother.

I used a good portion of my mother’s suicide note in my book. To see her words on the page somehow comforted me. Every time I read it, I linger on that first page.

I wrestled with whether to finish writing book 2. But in the end, I used it to sort out my own loss.

I can’t tell you what to do if you are experiencing a tragic loss. I only wanted to encourage you to work through it. If I had not written that story, I wouldn’t be writing anymore. I don’t even know if I would be here.

My daily life is a struggle. I have more good days than bad. But sometimes those bad days are horrific. On the one hand, I understand why my mother took her life, and on the other, I am so angry. That is something I have to work through. I don’t think it will ever go away. This sadness and emptiness that I feel are always with me. But facing each day gets a little easier. Or maybe I have just learned to live with it better.

I wrote this post because I know there are others going through what I have experienced. I encourage you to seek the help you may need to deal with the loss of a loved one by suicide. Find an outlet that lets you get those emotions out. Whether you choose to write about it, talk to someone, or use another way to deal with your tragedy, just find a way to work through it. Don’t let it eat you up from the inside. Don’t let the guilt you may be feeling take over your life.

If you are thinking of taking your own life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or use online chat at Lifeline Chat. Both of these are confidential. Reach out to someone at your church or a teacher or a counselor or your physician. Please don’t think that is the answer.

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