32 Journal Prompts for Grieving and Loss

Asma Rehman, LPC

a light blue journal with a brown spine on a light wood background surrounded by leavesWhat are your preferred ways to process your feelings? The emotions we feel aren’t always easy to understand, so sometimes we need to spend some time coming to terms with what we’re feeling. This is especially true for intense emotions, like when we’re grieving. Some people like to use physical movement, like dancing, running, or stretching to process what they’re feeling. Others prefer more introspective work like art therapy or journaling. Having regular practice for working through your emotions can help you prevent burying your feelings and can be a source of support when you’re going through a hard time. Journaling, especially, can help us understand our responses to hard things like grief.

When this post was originally written, we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, when many of us were cut off from our typical means of support. Taking the time to journal regularly can be a great way to check in with yourself and process the way you’re feeling even if you can’t process things the way you’d normally like to. There is a lot happening in the world right now, and you may feel like you can’t keep on top of it. A journal can be a helpful space to work through the confusing emotions that can come up when the world is changing rapidly. We are also encountering death on a scale we have never seen before. We regularly broke records for loss of life as a result of the pandemic, so more Americans than ever before are dealing with grief and the grieving process.

And all the lives lost from the pandemic are just the tip of the iceberg. More and more couples are struggling as they try to navigate this new world together. While we belief that most relationships that are struggling could benefit from couples counseling, if that isn’t an option for whatever reason, journaling can be of great help.

Recommended Reading: 4 Ways to Express Grief that Aren’t Talking About It


A journal can help you process your grief in a few different ways. It can be a place for you to write down things you don’t want to forget about the person you’re grieving. You can write letters to them, even though they can’t read them. Journaling can help you preserve the memory of your loved one. It can also be beneficial to consider that we are mortal beings, especially when dealing with loss.

This isn’t to say that your journaling time should be focused on death and dying by any means (especially when there are already a cup of colorful markers next to an open blank page on a gray wooden background.record numbers of Americans losing loved ones every single day). However, research has shown that considering the fact that we are inevitably going to die not only helps us get over the fear of death, but it can also help us be inspired to make the most of the time we do have in life. Thinking about death a lot might sound macabre, but it can help make death less scary and unknowable.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. If journaling is something that resonates with you, here are some journaling prompts to use when you’re grieving:

  • Today, I’m having a hard time with…
  • One thing I want to remember about them is…
  • Describe a memory with your loved one that makes you laugh.
  • Describe a memory with your loved one that makes you cry.
  • What was their favorite holiday?
  • Keep a running list of activities you can turn to in order to feel better.
  • One cause they were passionate about is…
  • Today, I miss…
  • Write down a list of people you can turn to for support, either in person or virtually.
  • One feeling I’ve felt coming up a lot lately is…
  • Write about where you feel your grief in your body. Where does your grief stay?
  • Where does your mind go when you let it wander?
  • What is one thing you could try to make today easier on yourself?
  • I need more of…
  • I need less of…
  • What is something that makes you feel taken care of?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking for help? Why or why not?
  • I feel most connected to my loved one when…
  • What is a way you can celebrate your loved one’s memory? Can you plant something, cook something, watch something, volunteer something?
  • One thing I wish I could do over with them is…
  • If I could forgive them for something, it would be…
  • If I could forgive myself for something, it would be…
  • Write about a time you got along well with your loved one.
  • Write about a time you had difficulty getting along with your loved one.
  • If you could tell your loved one about your day, what would you tell them?
  • How did your loved one make you feel?
  • Write a mantra you can return to when you feel overwhelmed by grief.
  • What is something you wish your support system would understand?
  • What is something you wish your support system could help with.
  • What songs make you think of them?
  • Make a photo collage in your journal with some of your favorite pictures of them.
  • Is there anyone else I know going through this right now? How can we support each other?

If you’re looking for more support during your grieving process, our clinicians can help during the grief recovery process. We also offer online therapy appointments for residents in California, Colorado, and Texas. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you move one step closer to a healthier and happier life!

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7 Responses to 32 Journal Prompts for Grieving and Loss

  1. Linda Carol Smith March 16, 2022 at 2:17 am #

    I am just three months into the process since my husband’s death and I was searching for writing prompts.

  2. S Rahim January 6, 2023 at 4:02 am #

    My husband passed away four months ago. I am about to go back to work, and I’m very nervous about it because I won’t be able to process my grief anytime it comes up, the way I have been doing while on leave from work.

    A grief counselor from Tender Hearts (David Kessler’s grief community) suggested that I schedule time for my grief during the work day, and that one thing I can do during these scheduled times is to journal. I did a search for journal prompts for grief and this was the first list of prompts that came up on Google Search. Thank you so much for publishing this list and helping those of us who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

    • Lt. Richard A. A. Taylor Jr. June 4, 2023 at 3:15 am #

      Mrs. Smith;

      Is journaling helping you? My son was killed in the line of duty 22 Novermber 2022. Six month11 days ago I lost my world. I try to write and I freeze…
      Court system only re-opens the wounds.

      I sincerely feel your void, my son was 2 days into his 23rd year. Killed by a drunk driver that laughed and smiled for her mug shut.

      Deputy Christopher Taylor
      # 3624
      Charlotte County Sheriffs Office
      Squad C

      Broken Dad

      • Janet September 5, 2023 at 5:39 am #

        My husband was shot and passed away on November 14 2022 same month and year as your son he was 33 years old when he passed he left me and our 3 kids, and I’ve done journaling and therapy and it really is helping me with decompressing a lot of emotions and thoughts and just like you the guy that shot my husband had a smirk on his face when he was walking up to the stand and his family laughed and made several side comments when the judge and our attorney was talking about my husband during court hearings. I hope you have tried journaling since you wrote this comment and I hope it has helped you as well everyone griefs in different ways and in different times. May your son rest in peace and I’m so sorry for your loss 🤍🤍

  3. Harmony Millett September 14, 2023 at 6:49 pm #

    My son hung himself. Daily visuals kill my heart and soul. I read Bible every day and it helps for strength and endurance.

  4. Mrs. Stevens October 16, 2023 at 9:38 pm #

    I have had 2 miscarriages. The 1st 13 years ago and the other 1 year ago. My husband and I were 17 and 20 with our first loss and didn’t know what to do or how to handle it…or even just talk to each other about it, so we didn’t and I buried it. Then at 29 and 32 we lost our second baby. Only this time we were trying to get pregnant…I couldn’t handle the idea of losing 2 babies and failing my husband so I buried it again. The following December while we were moving Mt husband found the t-shirts I made to surprise him with our pregnancy. I never showed them to him because they arrived the day after I started losing the baby (or fetus). I told him what happened but he didn’t know what to do with it so we didn’t talk again. August of 2023 I broke down at work, lost the ability to think thoughts outside my death…because I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I immediately talked to my husband, we agreed I needed to take some time off work and go into therapy. Now we come to today…I’m in therapy, but need something more for me. This gave me this idea to start a self help journal that will go for 6 months. I have to put in 4 days a week and it involves everything I enjoy. Reading, writing, art, music, poetry, workbooks, and I’m building it myself. Which brought me to this website. I’ve read everyone’s stories and my heart aches for each of you. I hope you all find peace and a rejuvenated love for life. That’s what I’m searching for anyways ❤️

  5. S. King March 15, 2024 at 1:15 am #

    I love journaling. Recently, I have been using Google speech-to-text. More and more I am enjoying speaking aloud my grief. Then I’m able to create a transcript. Those pages will someday turn into another book. Saying how I feel out loud lets my emotions swell and then dissipate. These private moments usually move into prayer, then encouraging myself with confidence that the Lord is, not only with me, He lives in and through me and He is my Peace!! Thank you, Asma!

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