Recently Deb Kosmer, a bereaved parent, author, poet, health care professional, and blogger, posted on Facebook about accumulating words. I don’t know the source of her post, but it said letters make words, words make sentences, sentences make pages, pages make chapters, and chapters make books.

I added a line to Deb’s post, “And some words make a new life.” Why did I add this line? It comes from my experience. In 2007, I lost four family members, my daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law. Losing their father made my twin grandchildren orphans and my husband and me GRGs, grandparents raising grandchildren.

Each loss was painful, but the loss of my daughter was the most painful of all. Frankly, I didn’t think I would survive. Because I’m a writer, I turned to my occupation for solace. A week after my daughter died, I sat down at the computer and started to pour out my soul in words.

I wrote focused, 500-word articles and posted them on a free article website. Some of my articles were published by national health organizations. While I was writing articles, I also searched for other ways to help myself. I looked for quotes that were easy to remember, words that would sustain me during the day. After looking at thousands of quotes, and a good case of eye strain, I compiled a book of quotes for women. To make the book different from others, I added some meditation tips.

But I didn’t stop there. I started writing affirmations in my mind. When I was washing dishes, an affirmation would pop into my consciousness. When I was driving I would think of an affirmation. When I was sitting at the computer, getting ready to write, I would think of more affirmations.

So many affirmations came into my consciousness, I created a book of them. This leads me back to Deb Kosmer’sd quote on Facebook. I hardly remember 2007 because I was in shock, coping with multiple losses, and raising grandchildren. Today, I can see the recovery steps I took: article writing, quotations, affirmation-writing, and grief recovery books. I wish I could say these steps were deliberate, but they were not.

These writing steps came my subconscious and I acted on them. Apparently my subconscious was telling me, “You will survive.” That’s why I added the line to Deb Kosmer’s post. I’m so glad I expressed my grief with words. Often, as I was writing, tears would be running down my face. But the words I chose, my heartfelt words, let me to a new life.

Your heartfelt words can do the same for you. If you are lost in grief, I hope you will write. I hope you will put your feelings and ideas into words and keep doing it. Don’t give up!

As time passes, your words will reveal feelings from the past, family dynamics, problems you are facing, and solutions to these problems. Your heartfelt words will lead you out of the darkness and into the light.

Harriet Hodgson


Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit

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