Exploring Grief through Creative Arts

Nicole Collaço

When you lose a loved one, it almost seems impossible to navigate through the rollercoaster of emotions that you might feel. I know I certainly felt that way when my mum passed away. I was aware of where I could go if I needed professional support, but at that point in time I wanted another option, a more tangible and less intense way to manage the ‘feels.’

It was a few months after my mum passed away that I sorted through her belongings and found that she kept a book of poetry that I wrote when I was about 9 years old. I couldn’t believe that she had kept this! Let’s just say 9 year old me had a very vivid imagination and came up with some ‘unique’ poetry slams! After reading some of the poetry I wrote when I was a child, I became inspired by what magic I could come up with now! 

I hadn’t written poetry in so long , I didn’t even know where to start, but I just rolled with it and started writing about the first thing that popped into my head. So, I wrote about my love for Korean fried chicken and Kinder Bueno chocolate (because it’s amazing!). I wasn’t ready to start rhyming about death and loss (that came a bit later), but just the light heartedness and ease of connecting words with something fun made the process pretty enjoyable…and also made me hungry! I had a lot of emotions built up, and although in the earlier months I wasn’t ready to talk about the loss of my mum; writing and rhyming through poetry gave me another outlet and a different space to feel something other than my grief.

Poetry wasn’t the only thing I did to explore my grief. As another way to get creative, I also started making clay pots and painting them. It felt so therapeutic and took me outside of my head and into a flow of excitement; something I had not felt in such a long time. Moulding shapes with clay, messing around with the texture and painting pots different colours was a great way to free my emotions. 

Creative arts can be explored in so many ways (drawing, singing, baking etc.) and is not bound by limiting beliefs around perfection and beauty. So, you’re free to express yourself in whatever way feels right for you, and without judgement. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed with your grief, I’d encourage you to get creative! 

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