Writing to Find Comfort
by Bill Zimmerman
Alte Friends: Writer Bill Zimmerman sent us this piece in response to my article a few days ago about Telling Our Stories.
The other day I came across the expression ‘’full of life’’ and it rang so true to me, a person who has reached his 80th birthday.
You see, some time ago I was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer and given a prognosis of seven months of life. Drug therapy so far has extended my life and I so very grateful to have more time. I look upon each new day as a blessing and take nothing for granted.
I tell myself that there still is so much life in me, that there are many things I want to accomplish, to say and to experience. I use my precious time to imagine and hope, to dream and work. Each day I strive to write and create new things to keep busy and productive. From my illness comes a book of writing prompts -- ‘’Writing to Find Comfort: A way for elders to reflect on our lives’’ -- which I hope will encourage you to write personal truths from your deepest self and reflect on your life.
In developing this interactive journal (pages of which appear here) I wanted to create a book that would provide comfort and inspire hope for those like me who are aging or dealing with difficult health issues; but it is also for those of us who are just bewildered by life’s events and seek clarity. Its purpose is to help readers assess and articulate the important things in their hearts. Despite the hard times each of us faces, we also are filled with life. We never stop having hopes or dreams just because we grow older or more frail.
This book encourages you to pause for a moment to take stock and provides you with a place to record your written reflections that come from deep within you. Writing prompts appear on each page to spark your thoughts. Think of these prompts as ‘’friends’’ who seek to elicit your deepest feelings and concerns. These ‘’friends’’ want to know you better. They encourage you to write about what you have learned on your life’s journey and reveal your acquired wisdom and deepest thinking – even the tears and frustrations. All this is part of the rich tapestry which makes you, you.
By writing in this book you can get in close touch with yourself and help ease some of the pain or discomfort you may feel at times. For me, writing is a form of prayer and provides peace and comfort. I hope it will be that way for you, too.
In this book, too, you also will find a poem I have written – ‘’Tree of Life (A Testament, A Cry from the Heart)’’ – in which I share with you what has been most important in my life and where I express my wish to cling to life, rather than let go. It, too, is a prayer which I desperately needed to express. Perhaps there are thoughts in it that will resonate with your own love of life.
I also created this book for elders as a way to try and calm my own fears, to tell myself that there is still time for me to partake of life, that I am still here, not gone, and that if I work at it, I can squeeze even more richness from my days. I know that if I can keep creating new things, then I am well and alive. I know, too, that I must learn to live more fully, with more purpose. That way I can continue growing in what time is left for me. I want to be as full of life as possible.
Do you feel that way, too?
(The interactive e-book is free and can be downloaded at my web site at https://makebeliefscomix.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/writing-to-find-comfort.pdf
It is an interactive PDF which allows you to write directly in the book from your digital device.