Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

April 12, 2016

Unraveling Gifts

Grace Notes | Unraveling Gifts

Words: Tina Zarlenga
Photo credit: Johanna Love, Bella Grace Issue 2


“It is in the unraveling of this world that we are reminded where our true gift is found.”

— Melissa Michaels


Eyes barely open I touch the switch for coffee and listen to the machine slowly come to life, imitating its start I leisurely make my way across the room. With my journal in hand, I ease into the soft chair and begin to write. The darkness shelters the calm morning like a new friend in the space where I unravel the residue lingering in my heart.


The swirl of the pen and the ritual it creates fills the page with all the rumbles that occupy my thoughts. Occasionally they arrive as a revelation; a way of letting go of the things I have been holding for too long, welcoming discovery as my hand magically floats across the page, flooding the paper with serenity. Like the fog that gathers in the mountains, these reflections collide, imploring a space of their own while I untangle the message they deliver.



For years, journaling has presented me with a place to escape while holding my hand through the murky anguish of grief. Writing out my deepest sorrows, I filled the pages of each journal, guided by this release of emotions while unearthing the chaos surrounding my heart.


During the darkest tragedy of my life, where winter’s fury embodied my soul, our 5-year-old son’s life ended. Death smothered any positive energy I once clung to while trapping me in a world of despair. Journaling this heartbreak provided the space to scream out loud while grieving, and an invulnerable setting to hold my broken heart, while balancing the care of our three-year-old daughter.


With the promise of time, this scribble of thoughts softened me with grace filled moments. Finally, I was able to reflect on hope. Each scattered story gripping my heart eventually filled the pages with all of the broken pieces; surrendering to the overwhelming emotions, journaling provided a release.


Years later as I gently skim my fingers from corner to corner recalling the heartbreak contained within these pages and finally recognize how far I’ve traveled. Within these journals I can observe the heavy heart shifting through the seasons and consider the blessings that penning my world within these journals provided.


Each time I collect my tools to write, the emotional knots begin to slacken as this seamless thread of advice I surrender to slowly dissects the inner conflict, unlocking powerful stories that no longer serve me while providing the space necessary for future wishes.


Gradually as my thoughts return to the effortless flow of the pen across the page, inked with gratitude I smile tenderly, recognizing the console provided within each challenging season. As the pages of our lives unfold, gratefulness illuminates our hearts with a gentle embrace, and within the pages of our journals, compassion sings its chorus.


While searching for a reason to go on after losing their five-year-old son Ryan, she discovered that giving back could actually save her. Married with two children, Tina Zarlenga shares stories of inspiration and hope, as well as her journey through grief with emotional essays of life on her website

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Comments ( 8 )

  1. Suzanne

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    I felt your heart beat
    in every word. Thank
    you for sharing your
    beautiful story.

    xo Suzanne

  2. susan hemann

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    My heart goes out to you I wish I could give you a hug. Journaling has been a life saver for me as well.

  3. Diana Foster

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Beautiful words. Thanks for sharing them. Look forward to visiting your blog.

  4. Tina

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you, I appreciate your kind words

  5. Tina

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you Susan, isn’t it wonderful what can be unraveled through journaling <3

  6. Tina

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you Diana, it means a lot when people connect to your story…

  7. Chelsea B

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    You are one amazing writer! Absolutely love reading your stories

  8. Tina

    April 19, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    thank you for your sweet comment.

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