Focus on Journals

I think most girls, at one time or another, keep a diary.  It may be a place to keep secrets,  a place to express feelings too personal or painful  to share with others.  It can be a friend who quietly listens, without judgement or reproach.  As adults , we need to revisit the value of keeping a journal.  For as anyone who has ever kept a diary or journal soon finds out, it can be a cathartic experience. Somehow, the process of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and recording our thoughts, feelings, worries, or anxieties transfers them out of us and onto the page.

A journal can be a major coping tool to anyone facing a major life challenge, be it an illness, a chronic disease, a personal  struggle such as a divorce, or the death of a loved one.  I started keeping a journal when I was expecting my first child, because I wanted a place to record the experience,.  After Steven was born, it became a place to record his milestones and those precious moments that occur in raising a child that can be lost in the mists of memory.  It also became a place to vent the frustrations that come with parenting as well.  That first journal was only the beginning, as I have been keeping one ever since  – for 34 years now!  I have moved from the paper bound format to the computer keyboard since my handwriting fell victim to the Parkinson’s Disease, but I keep on writing, nevertheless.

In addition to my personal journal, I have started a multimedia journal recording my journey with Parkinson’s Disease.  It’s a place I put the poetry I write, positive quotations, pictures

–  anything that helps me to cope, as well as regular journal entries.  As the pages turn so do the ups and downs of facing such a challenge .on a daily basis.  It also serves as a record of the progression of symptoms and the effect of new medications.

One of my poem entries from 2010 is called “Hope”.

some days hope is as fragile as a butterfly’s wing
some days hope is constant and it brightens everything
some days hope is fleeting, like a moment, come and gone
and sometimes hope is empty and it’s hard to carry on
I must, however, cling to hope, for it is all that there may be
to help me stay the darkness and to vanquish my old enemy
to believe one day I will be free is how each day I cope
to believe all  things are possible is to believe in hope.
–pc 2010

There are so many lovely journals on the market now.  Browse the bookstore for them.  They come in all sizes, pages lined and unlined, some covered in embossed leather, some with hand pressed pages, but it doesn’t  matter what you write in as much as that you write some where.  I know we all have time constraints and I do not manage to write everyday either, but try to write often enough to capture the defining moments of your life, find solace in your journal when you need an open minded friend to help you face the storm or overcome the obstacles life sometimes places in our path (or drops on our head!).  Often, we think we will remember certain things, but more often they fade into the mists of memory.  Take yesterday for example. I have 2 grandchildren and I have made a photo scrapbook for each year of their lives so far.  They love looking through these albums, which  I intend to give them when they are older.  As my granddaughter, now five, was looking at her first album, she said, ” Looking back at these pictures just kills me.  It brings me back to the days when I was little.”  Without recording those words now, they would soon be lost  forever.

Start capturing your life’s moments in a journal.  Years from now you’ll be glad you did!



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