Currently viewing the tag: "grief"

Kathryn Merlangton stared at the vase cradling the dying roses. Two red blooms bowed over the white sympathy card like mourners looking down upon a casket. –Hope by Sam Rook

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what dead roses make you think about.

Art Prompt: Dead roses

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story that contains dead roses.

Photo Credit: David Hepworth on Flickr

She went her unremembering way,
She went and left in me
The pang of all the partings gone,
And partings yet to be.
-Daisy by Francis Thompson

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, poem, or haiku about partings.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the loss of someone you loved.

Art Prompt: Partings

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a touching story about a loss that changed your life.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

[Johnny] Cash was very close to his older brother, Jack. In May 1944, Jack was pulled into a whirling head saw in the mill where he worked and was almost cut in two. He suffered for over a week before he died on May 20, 1944, at age 15. Cash often spoke of the horrible guilt he felt over this incident. According to Cash: The Autobiography, his father was away that morning, but he and his mother, and Jack himself, all had premonitions or a sense of foreboding about that day, causing his mother to urge Jack to skip work and go fishing with his brother. Jack insisted on working, as the family needed the money. On his deathbed, Jack said he had visions of Heaven and angels. Decades later, Cash spoke of looking forward to meeting his brother in Heaven. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of brothers who are separated by tragedy.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your relationship with a sibling.

Art Prompt: Brotherly love

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Johnny Cash’s tragic history.

Photo Credit: Jack Cash’s Gravestone on Wikimedia

Contemporary society is far removed from death; few die at home; hospitals and funeral homes deal with the aftermath. Death rituals are private and many mourners are socially unsupported outside the confines of home.
Public expression of grief is not the norm. However death in the media is far from taboo; prevalent in TV drama and news media coverage of celebrity or shocking and dramatic death.
Online memorials are seen by many as a destination for “grief tourists” with suspect motivations.. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a fan reacting to a dramatic celebrity death.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react when a big celebrity death occurs? Is it more real or less real than when someone you know dies? Why?

Art Prompt: Grief Tourism

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk to your audience about how society currently deals with death and what we can learn from ancient societies.

Photo Credit: Charis Tsevis on Flickr

French WWI cemetery - Orée de la forêt

That last summer at home—before I went to basic training—my well-meaning mother warned me that I might have to go to a war zone where I could lose a limb or even my life. No one prepared me for the more likely danger of having to leave people that I’d come to love after only a year or two. Considering that losing the loves of my life—two in one day—was the very reason I’d chosen to retreat into the arms of Uncle Sam in the first place, the irony is not lost on me. –Sweet Secrets by Rhonda Sheree

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about a protagonist who is in the military and is dealing with loss of a comrade in arms.

Journaling Prompt: What is the most difficult loss you have ever grieved? 

Art Prompt: War zone

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the phenomenon of bonding through trauma and its impact on soldiers on the battlefied.

Photo Credit: Eric Huybrechts on Flickr


The road to human development is paved with renunciation. Throughout our life we grow by giving up. We give up some of our deepest attachments to others. We give up certain cherished parts of ourselves. We must confront, in the dreams we dream, as well as in our intimate relationships, all that we never will have and never will be. Passionate investment leaves us vulnerable to loss. And sometimes, no matter how clever we are, we must lose. –Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

Fiction Writing Prompt: Work on your character sketch. What losses have contributed to your character’s personality? What has he or she chosen to give up?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a loss that had a deep impact on your life.

Art Prompt: We must lose

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how you’ve grown through giving something up.

Photo Credit: André Mielnik on Flickr


“When people feel guilt about a specific behavior, they experience tension, remorse, and regret,” the researchers write. “Research has shown that this sense of tension and regret typically motivates reparative action — confessing, apologizing, or somehow repairing the damage done.”
Feelings of shame, on the other hand, involve a painful feeling directed toward the self. For some people, feelings of shame lead to a defensive response, a denial of responsibility, and a need to blame others — a process that can lead to aggression.
Tangney and her colleagues interviewed over 470 inmates, asking them about their feelings of guilt, shame, and externalization of blame soon after they were incarcerated. The researchers followed up with 332 of the offenders a year after they had been released, this time asking them whether they had been arrested again and whether they had committed a crime but had not been caught. They also compared the self-reported data to official arrest records.
Overall, expressions of guilt and shame were associated with recidivism rates, but in different ways.
“Proneness to guilt predicts less recidivism — a lower likelihood of re-offense,” Tangney says. That is, the more inclined an inmate is to feel guilt, the less likely he or she is to re-offend.
The implications of proneness to shame, on the other hand, were more complex.
Inmates inclined to feel shame, and who were also defensive and blameful of others, were more likely to slip back into crime. Inmates who were shameful but who didn’tblame others were less likely to end up in jail again. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a criminal. Include inner monologue that illuminates the shame / guilt he or she feels. Show how it drives the criminal’s actions in the story.

Journaling Prompt: Write about something that you feel shameful about. How can you move past this painful feeling?

Art Prompt: Guilt and shame

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the difference between guilt and shame. Include how they influence behavior.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney on Flickr

His hand is growing cold; still she holds it. -Lily Tuck, I Married You for Happiness

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how you deal with the death of a loved one.

Art Prompt: Love and death

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the process of grieving.

Photo Credit: Simon Cocks on Flickr

king of pop

The common responses to celebrity deaths demonstrate important realities about how people build relationships with the media they consume, according to a Kansas State University cognitive psychologist. Richard Harris, professor of psychology, has studied a number of aspects of the psychology of mass communication. His focus has been on how people acquire knowledge from media. Among his studies has been an examination of how watching certain media with different people influences the experience. He has also studied how people remember certain media experiences.

Harris says many people develop relationships with media characters in a similar manner to how they do so in real life. This phenomenon is referred to as parasocial interaction. The one-sided relationship is most commonly observed between celebrities and their fans…

Spontaneous displays of grieving after the death of a famous person or celebrity are not new. For example, impromptu memorials appeared for Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and John Lennon following their deaths.

Harris said these losses have a distinct difference from the loss of a family member. “We don’t have the social structures and support for grieving the loss of a media character or, in particular, a fictional character,” Harris said. “Somebody’s real upset that their favorite soap opera character was killed off yesterday and they tell someone about that and they laugh. It’s a very different reaction than if their grandmother had died.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about the death of a celebrity and the world’s reaction to it. Put in a surprise twist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how you react to the death of celebrities.

Art Prompt: Celebrity Death

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the obsession with celebrity and how it affects culture.

Photo Credit: Cain and Todd Benson on Flickr

Bereft of life.

bereft adj. 1 (bereft of) deprived of or lacking (something): her room was stark and bereft of colour. 2 (of a person) sad and lonely, especially through someone’s death or departure: his death in 1990 left her bereft. late 16th century: archaic past participle of BEREAVE.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, poem, or haiku using the word of the week.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you felt bereft.

Art Prompt: Bereft

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the grief of feeling bereft and how to deal with it.

Photo Credit: 00hCaffiene on Flickr