Sunday, May 26, 2013

The power of telling your story

In support group, we were asked to tell our story. Every single time we attended. Sometimes, at tge first meeting (or two... or five...) they attended, some people could only choke out their name and that of the baby they had lost. Sometimes the story would pour out of them in minute detail, going on for half an hour. But we were always encouraged to tell our story, or some version of it, at every meeting.

Over time, for most of us, the story got (at least a little bit) easier to tell. Sometimes, a new detail that we'd never heard before would pop out. By telling our story and sharing it with others, we processed what had happened to us in our own minds, worked through the grief and pain. Some of the raw grief & pain subsided.  And knowing that others were listening, empathizing, understanding, made us feel less alone and freakish. (If your friends & family members find it difficult to listen to your story, you need to find someone who will. That's where support groups, in real life or even online, are so helpful.) 

I watched a wonderful story on CBS Sunday Morning today about a 93-year-old World War II veteran who began volunteering at a war museum and telling his story to a new generation. And in doing so, he finally laid to rest one of the ghosts that had haunted him for almost 60 years. After I watched the segment & finished wiping my eyes, I looked at dh & said, "The power of telling your story... the whole story!"

Watch or read & see if you agree with me. : ) 


  1. Great post. I too believe that telling our stories helps us process them and feel heard, and also give back - making sense of what happened to us.

    I haven't watched the video, but your description of it brings to mind the guides at Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years) - they are all ex-inmates, and know tell their stories for a living. I hope it brings them peace too.

  2. dear Loribeth,
    I have watched the Mr. Blakey's story. How wonderful that he was able to let go of one memory. And that he is not haunted any more.

    I agree with you - The power of telling your story... the whole story!

    What museum did for Mr. Blakey I found in writting my blog and reading your blog & blogs of many other wonderful women.


  3. Just reading this from your post: "knowing that others were listening, empathizing, understanding, made us feel less alone and freakish," reminded me of the days just a few short years ago when I felt freakish in my disenfranchised grief. How grateful I am that you and so many others listened with compassion to my story.

    You're so right, Loribeth, healing comes in telling your story and being heard.

  4. TOTALLY agree with you on the power of telling your story. :-D I've realized many more things by writing my blog posts than if I just let the events/experiences/emotions go. Writing or telling your story verbally is cathartic. :-)

  5. Going over to hear his story on the video, but just wanted to first say that I'm glad you're telling your story. That I get to hear it.

  6. Got here today via RWIA. Was amazed to see another post who is many years into their journey.

    One of the ways the God has used this horrible experience IS through us telling our story, and the comfort it gives to others... in addition to our healing.

    At year 26 I cannot imagine why my son Nathan would look like either, and wonder about 'if that would be us' when I hear about weddings, PhD's, grandkids, etc. but the raw pain is pretty infrequent.... unless I get into people's BLOG's too much and go along for the ride.

    My heart goes out to you. I was 14 years and one month without a child after my son died... and had a rainbow baby later in life and love him SOOOO much. It makes that OMG they are in puberty stage a little easier.. gratitude for even the difficult stages make for a better parent. I so wish for you that you could have had that chance... we are almost the same age... I feel the sadness of knowing that ship has sailed. I was one of those 20-something girls that thought I'd have 3 by the time I was 30 at one point. Life teaches hard lessons...

    But I will say that I am a better person through the growth that big challenges and pain have forced me to undertake. I have said a prayer for you that life will be good to you and your DH with some God given twist or turn that clears away some of the clouds.