Empty Chair Writing Prompt

Grief can take so many forms. It is a truth well known that there are many stages to the process, including bargaining, depression, and anger. Oof.

What’s more, is that these stages are not finite. There is no magic recipe to getting over the elephant on your chest. You might even circle back and re-experience parts of the process again. I have come to know grief as a button, whose size becomes smaller, and whose pressing becomes less frequent, perhaps, over time.

Grief is a very individualized, unique experience, so please show up however you truly are for this. Mostly, I wanted to share an exercise that helped me to come from a more loving space in my own grief. This is inspired by a Gestalt concept known as the empty chair.

Writing Prompt:

Envision the person, place, or situation that is causing you grief sitting across from you. Talk to it. Tell it where you are.

Here’s what mine ended up looking like when it wrote it, years ago. I have named it Ampersand.


I love you, and

I know now that I will miss you.
Days will pass and I will think
of you, and I will be many things
for a time, but it will clear
as things do, and I will remember
the moment I last saw you
before all of it will arrive

(and stay a while)

before passing, and I will think
how I wish I could be there
again to tell you back then

I love you
and I know now

that is the most important thing.

Best wishes as you talk to your empty chair.

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