I’ve blogged about my theory on why I’ve had so much contentment and peace at a time of such unspeakable loss. I suspect part of my current mental health has to do with journaling. And with deciding to pay attention to new opportunities.

A friend sent a recent New York Times article entitled “Writing Your Way to Happiness” that confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. Apparently studies have shown that writing about personal experiences can improve mental, physical and emotional health.

Dr. Timothy Wilson, a psychology professor and lead author of a Duke study, believes that while writing doesn’t solve every problem, it can definitely help people cope. ‘Writing forces people to reconstrue whatever is troubling them and find new meaning in it,’ he said.

I’ve kept a journal for years. It was therapeutic to write through the ups and downs of cancer. Being completely honest. Capturing my fears and sorrows. My hopes. My hopes dashed.

This from the morning of November 17, not knowing Hubby would be leaving me later that evening:

It continues to be peaceful here [in Hospice House]. Part of me unrealistically doesn’t want this time to end. Because when it ends, it means I will go home to a husband-less house. Which I’m dreading more than anything.

Something as simple as acknowledging how I’m feeling can de-intensify (un-intensify?) its power over me.

All my earthly possessions are being loaded into a ten-foot cargo trailer tomorrow morning. I’m hitting the road next week to a new chapter. Not a chapter I would have written into the story. But nevertheless, unafraid. Because this is what my husband would want for me.

And now there’s research to prove what I’ve thought all along: My journaling has saved Hubby thousands of dollars in psychotherapy costs through the years.