Blogging Through Grief (& Other Vulnerable Situations)


A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine passed away suddenly. I woke up to the news that Friday morning and have been in and out of a foggy state of shock since then. I’ve dealt with the grief of older relatives passing, but never with anyone so young and so unexpectedly. I didn’t really know how to think or feel last week, and as I normally do when I don’t know how to react, I laugh half-heartedly and do my best to get through each day working around that disbelief.

At first, it didn’t feel appropriate for me to post anything online about my friend’s passing. Partly because it felt disrespectful to him and his family. Mostly because I couldn’t articulate how I was feeling. Aside from ‘numb’, I had nothing else to say. How do you sum up what someone means to you in a little blog post or Instagram caption?

It wasn’t long before my social media feeds were filled with pictures of him and mutual friends (he had lots!) and wistful remembrances of how he’d touched their lives. How we’d never forget his smile and how he lit up a room with his jokes. I decided to share my own memories on Instagram and Facebook, but a blog post still seemed…not right. It was as if I had to face the reality of his death, and I just didn’t want to do it.

“It’s too hard to write this. I won’t be able to. My readers won’t care. They don’t know me,” I thought to myself.

Oh, how wrong I was, on all fronts. I wrote about it anyway, because no matter how much I didn’t want to write about him, he was also the only thing I could write about. I forgot how much blogging brings me clarity; how it helps me work through my jumbled thoughts and feelings. I forgot how much weight is lifted off my shoulders once I write things out. Most of all, I forgot about the amazing community I’d somehow attracted in my six years of blogging. They care immensely about the things I’m into, whether that’s fashion or a non-profit I’m supporting or a new indie boutique or designer I’ve discovered.

By far, the easiest blog posts I’ve ever written were remembrances – of my bulldog and now of my friend. When I allowed those feelings to come pouring out, there was a rawness and vulnerability there that I just can’t match when I’m talking about anything else. Though it’s difficult to wrap my head around it, once I’m writing it becomes the purest written form of me I could possibly put out there. I’m floored by everyone who’s offered condolences, kind words of support, or shared their own vulnerable experiences.

My advice to any blogger who’s working through grief or any other difficult situation is to channel that vulnerability. Don’t close yourself off from the community you’ve created with your blog readers. You’ve created a platform for your voice and your thoughts, so why not put the strongest ones out there? More than likely, there are a lot of nice people out there who can relate to what you’re going through. Just as your blog can be a source of joy and excitement, it might also be the one perfectly unexpected place for you to heal.

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10 Responses

  1. Donna

    What a great post. I am so sorry that you lost your friend. I lost my Dad last September, and for a long time (all fall and winter) I avoided thinking about him as much as possible. I didn’t know how to deal with it, so I just kept busy and did things that kept my mind off of it (lots of online shopping and TV watching). I wrote about it only from the perspective of encouraging people to say things that they want to say, to not postpone important things, because you never know. (I didn’t get to talk to my Dad before he died.) My Dad lived 800 miles away, so it is often easy to pretend that he’s still here. But the past month or so a sadness has been creeping over me. I fight it, I try to run from it by distracting myself, but I haven’t written about it. The odd thing is that I haven’t felt like writing much of anything. I suspect it’s all part of the grief that is inside that I’m not letting out. Maybe if I write it will be a way to get it out and work through it. But will anyone be interested in reading that? Should it be there on my blog? I will be interested to see what others say.

    • Jess Estrada

      Yes, please write it out! If you’re anything like me, just the act of writing helps me work through my thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have to be a blog post that’s out there for others to read. Writing in a journal might be enough. I will say that posting on my blog and here helped me find others who’ve gone through grief themselves. It’s nice to hear how they’ve dealt with it and know you’re not alone.

  2. Eva Tornado

    I definetely understand what you feel.. In Febrary my father passed away and these months were like the hell for me. Is hard to talk about it, but it is better to say. Readers will understand and probably support in these hard times…

  3. Stephanie Loudmouth

    YES. I think it’s so important to show some reality on our blogs! A very popular blogger that I follow experienced a loss last year — I think it was her dad or stepdad that died — and I saw something about it on social media, but it was a quick little tweet and then it was gone. I kept waiting to read about it on her blog but she never said anything… I thought it was really weird and I actually respected her less for it, especially since it was supposed to be a “lifestyle” blog.

    • Jess Estrada

      Bummer! We all choose what to put out on our blogs, and sometimes it sucks when we realize our favorite bloggers aren’t as open as we’d expected. Maybe it was their way of dealing with the grief, but they closed off from a potentially great support group!

  4. ahhhsoneo

    when my parents died (separately), my grief stayed inside of me. I wrote about it only in my private journals. When I was finally able to talk about it, it bubbled out in the most insane & sometimes inappropriate situations. but I was always surprised (and touched) by folks who would tell me afterwards that my sharing helped them. Writing is extremely therapeutic. And you can always write it and post later or decide not to post. Just the act of writing will help release some of that energy.

    • Jess Estrada

      Agreed completely! Thank you for sharing, and sorry for your loss too.