I love the concept of keeping a diary. I don’t love the reality.

My mom kept a diary in her later years, during the time when she was suffering from the effects of menopause, a stressful life, and a difficult past. She’d been given antidepressants and other medications which, I think, contributed to her deep unhappiness. The result of that was when she passed away, we found that diary. There were so many cruel things written in there. So many lies that were, for her, truths. Or at least how she perceived her world in those moments of medicated depression.

Mom and Lisa

In the emotional moment, I burned that diary. And then, full of horror that some day my child might read my diaries and be hurt by my words, I threw all of mine on that same fire. I’ve had regrets occasionally. I think that my son would have laughed to read all the drama of my young teenage years. And there were the diaries from my travels. All gone now. But for the most part, I don’t regret burning them.

There have been a few times over the years when I’ve tried to start one again, but it never goes anywhere. I keep a journal of canning recipes. One for gardening. One that has writing tips and quotes. All of those have pieces of me in them as commentary, but they’re not a ‘diary’.

Last weekend I hiked with my sister a couple miles into the Alpine Wilderness area. We talked about that diary I burned, and her regret that I burned it. We talked about the diary she keeps. She writes in third person, (‘she sat down’ rather than ‘I sat down’) as if creating a story, and doing a diary in that manner has allowed her to write in ways that give her insight.


That intrigued me because it felt like writing a story. As if in third person allows a degree of separation between the writer and the words. For a few brief moments, on that path, I thought that maybe I could write a diary in the same way.

Then she gave me a binder that belonged to the sister who passed away in February. In it were affirmations, poems, thoughts, and happy little stickers. Her handwriting was always rounded, almost juvenile, and I could see the pen in her hand. And in her words I could hear her laugh. I am so, so beyond grateful she kept a diary. That we have her voice to rest our hands on and hold to our hearts.

So, will I keep a diary? Doubtful. I’ll just continue with this blog, which, I guess, fulfills the same thing.


6 thoughts on “Diaries

  1. ❤️❤️
    I am like you, I loved the concept when I was younger and it did help me for some time when I was a teenager to write down all those emotions. But I also feel obligated to write what happened the last couple days. It turns into lots of days and more like a chore… So then I resend it and feel guilty not writing in it… Lol
    I do agree though that it is wonderful to have a diary of a loved one that passed away!! It brings them alive. I do have one or two of my mom’s and I read a part of it, about how she was looking forward to seeing my dad, when she was 18 😊😊😊 so cute!!
    I am glad you will live forever in this blog and your books!


  2. I used to write down every little thing I said or did throughout my childhood like my life depended on remembering! Back then I had enough free time to do that! Now I have a daily planner that I will write my schedule in if nothing else, sometimes a personal paragraph and sometimes a whole page. Not quite a diary, but something to remember.


    • That’s kind of what I’m doing with my canning and gardening journals. Some day my son should get a laugh out of reading things like ‘well this recipe is f****ed up!’. Interestingly, since I posted this, I’m getting ads showing up in my Facebook feed offering classes on how to journal. Do people really need to pay for classes on how to keep a diary? Isn’t that a weird thought?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We are blessed with the ability to leave our words behind for those who would be so inclined to read them-I thank God He left His voice behind in a book called The Bible. You are truly blessed with the “gift” of words…no matter where you write them down.


    • They do seem to help with grieving. I feel the need to learn how to make journals. I’m drawn to the idea of shaping paper and thread. When my sister died a few months ago we found some journals of hers where she wrote self-affirmations. But there was so much more between the pages. Feathers and pressed flowers and doodles and so many things that made her personality shine. I like the idea of making something that would do the same. I wish there was a way to make your path ahead easier for you. Maybe you will find some easing of grief in words you write.


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