I Get Knocked Down: Writing Through Grief

21 Apr

I am trying to get up, but…it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Knocked down is too mild a word to describe what happened to me. My son died two years ago and each day brings its own challenges. Grief is a cunning opponent, willing to attack at any moment. I am trying to find a way for us to coexist. I know grief has become a part of my life. There is no leaving it behind. I accept that, but grief is fighting me at every point, not accepting anything less than total dominance. I won’t hand control over to grief. The fight is on.

I’m down. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to think. My heart is in fragments.

I have so many wonderful people in my life scrambling to help me gather the debris, but…I’m floundering. The day my son died one of my friends comforted me. They asked what could they do. I told them to bring my son back.

I know.

I was asking the impossible. That’s how I feel when I try to write. It’s impossible. How can I deal with a fictional world when reality has me clamped firmly in its jaws and is shaking me like a rag doll?

My son always believed in me, believed I would sell a book. He would be furious at my lack of productivity. I can hear him chastising me. “Mom, stop it! You need to get back to work.”

Just like a kid, create a mess and leave it for you to deal with the clean up.

This is my struggle.

Despite the pain wrapped around my heart, clawing at me, my goal is a simple one.




Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Idaho


33 responses to “I Get Knocked Down: Writing Through Grief

  1. Janis

    April 21, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    Lynn, thanks for sharing your story. Take care.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:22 PM

      Janis, Thank you. Thank you.

  2. johannaharness

    April 21, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    I’m in tears, Lynn.

    I’ve been reading a lot from writers and artists with broken hearts lately. The one constant is that the art takes up residence alongside the grief. Themes replay over and over again as our hearts try to find a way back into life.

    It’s okay to lean on your friends and your writing as you get up. You don’t have to do it alone.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      Thank you, Johanna. I know there are so many wonderful people around me, supporting me as I work through this…nightmare.

  3. Misha

    April 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Oh Lynn. I can’t imagine the pain that you have to live with every day.

    I’m praying for you.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM

      Please do keep me in your prayers. When prayers go up, blessings come down. I have been blessed.

  4. 1nvisib1e

    April 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    This went through to my bones. Keep writing. Keep writing.

    • Deborah the Closet Monster

      April 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM


      It’s been 13 months since my mom died. It’s still such an overwhelming, horrible feeling, I sometimes wonder if I’m weak to let it be “lingering” that long . . . especially knowing how horrified my mom would be to see me grieving so! I’d never think that about someone else, so it’s ridiculous that I’d feel that way about myself. But I do, some days.

      I look at my little boy every day since my mom died and try to suppress fear what I’d do if I lost him. I try to enjoy what I have because I do have it now, but it’s hard.

      Hard it may be, but not nearly as hard as what you’re experiencing. I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope day by day you’ll find more and more inspiration in the knowledge your success would make your son happy. It will never be the same as sharing that success with him, but it will be a quiet, sweet joy.

      When I got my portion of the proceeds from the sale of my mom’s house, I imagined going in, sitting down next to her bed and saying, “Guess what, Ma? Your efforts and your struggles? You’re helping us live our dream we’d have it easier than you.” Somehow, my mom lives on in that room, in a quiet moment we shared before she died. Every success I’ve had since, I imagine I’m sitting there with her, holding her hand, and sharing it with her. I won’t ever get to do the same again in the real world, but somehow . . . in those moments I’m with her, in that room in my heart, she lives on.

      A very different loss, I know. But I hope you can find that room of peace and connection in your own heart, so you can count on sharing your successes–and there will yet be many!–with your son.

      • Deborah the Closet Monster

        April 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        “You’re helping us live YOUR dream,” not “OUR dream.” In this case, that “y” makes a world of difference.

      • lynn mapp

        April 21, 2011 at 8:11 PM

        Deborah the Closet Monster (I love that),
        I’m wiping tears from my eyes. Your post touched me. This is what I’ve learned. You are NOT weak. You are so strong. Think about it. You are strong. Grief is about facing that sense of loss and working to come to terms with it.
        The thing is, they aren’t gone. We take them with us wherever we go.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      Thank you. I’m trying, but…grief is a killer. No excuses. I plan to share my journey through this blog. Every other week I’ll chart my progress.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      1invisible, Thank you. Keep writing. That is my goal. I don’t want grief to rob me.

  5. Clare

    April 21, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Lynn, how heartbreaking. I’m sure you’ve had countless suggestions of how to survive. I found solace in reading books by Ekhart Tolle. You do need to accept, allow, surrender to these feelings, though. Fighting them will make them bigger. Surrendering isn’t the same as giving up, by the way. It’s about learning tonlive alongside your grief, letting it be.

    And definitely lean on people x

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM

      Thanks Clare. I love people but I’m also a cave dweller. I knew if I went into that cave with grief I would never see daylight.

  6. Annikka Woods

    April 21, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Lynn, I have a long history of miscarriages and still births so I know how horrible it is to lose a child. I know it’s different when you’ve lived and loved with that child for years but I do know it hurts. It feels like nothing will ever be right again.

    I’m still in that place and it’s been three years since my last (and final) attempt at having children. I’ve been struggling alone with my grief for a while now. I’m still trying to get back up. But one thing I noticed is the more I lean on friends, the better I feel.

    Use your writing and your friends. That’s what they’re here for.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:18 PM

      Annikka, I am so sorry for the pain. Pain is pain. You are right, leaning in friends is huge. My problem is me. My friends at work often said I didn’t share my problems. It’s hard to change that pattern.

  7. Cindi Kerr

    April 21, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    I am so sorry for your pain. . . and grateful that you wrote the story of how grief is a constant weight.

    The grief never entirely leaves. . . but, eventually, happy memories join it. You will remember a silly face or a favorite book, and you’ll smile.

    Write about the grief now. Use it as a tool. Lean on friends. They truly want you to.

    And, when the time comes that your memories tug a smile, write about that, too.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Cindy, thank you. Grief. What can I say? I plan to share this journey.

  8. Jenny Moss

    April 21, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    You’re in my prayers, Lynn.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Jenny, thank you. Please do keep me in your prayers.

  9. Lise M. Quintana

    April 21, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Buddhists say that you should stop struggling and let the grief in. Grief itself will hurt like crazy, but it won’t kill you. Breathe, feel it, let it be there. It’s fighting for a place, and until you give it one, it can’t leave you.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      Lise, I had a friend suggest I take meds to help cope with the pain. I told her the pain was natural. I can’t mask it I need to accept it. It’s about finding a balance. As I said, grief is cunning, just when I think I have a handle on it, pow. I’m smacked in the face with a numbing blow.

  10. Liz Fredericks

    April 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM


    Listen to all of these comments – lean on your friends. We’re all rooting for you. Remember, God wouldn’t have given you this gift if s/he didn’t want you to use it.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      Liz, thank you. I try to remember. I try. Sometimes it gets lost. Thank you for reminding me.

  11. Clarissa Southwick

    April 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Love you, Lynn.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:57 PM

      I love you, Clarissa.

  12. maryvine

    April 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Because you have felt such deep pain in life, it will reflect in your writing. Your writing will touch other lives.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      Thank you Mary. I’m hoping to do that by sharing my struggles.

  13. Carley Ash

    April 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    We never quite get over that type of loss. What a poignant post Lynn.

    • lynn mapp

      April 21, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      Carley, it’s finding a balance. That’s the point I’m trying to reach.

      • Johanna Harness

        April 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM

        I like this last thought, Lynn. Searching for balance makes so much sense.

  14. Joy

    May 2, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    Every one handles grief differently. I have lost two infants and my own health. I thought I would never pull my self out of the depths of my dispair. Now being 23 and 18 years from my losses is when I have attempted to start writing. I find myself ealily tackling the difficult emotions of greif in my writings and doing it realistically. Life is your teacher and gives your writing depth. Bad things happen to good people it is all about what you choose to do with it.

    • lynn mapp

      May 2, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      I am sorry for the pain you’ve suffered. Bad things do happen to good people. Being a good person doesn’t protect you from life. The struggle to deal with these events is the process we have to go through.


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