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How Writing to Ease Pain—Even of a Son’s Murder

Choosing writing to ease pain

Even before I found out my son had been murdered, I began writing about what I was experiencing as we waited for word of what had happened. Writing to ease pain seemed a natural choice. I was taking notes:

  • 9/8
  • Amanda (my daughter-in-law to be) brutally raped
  • Prague, Oklahoma
  • Ethan, nowhere to be found

And, six years later, the writing hasn’t stopped.

notebookThe days that followed the loss of my son were fraught with much confusion. I knew that taking writing and taking notes would be the only way I would keep things straight. So, off to the local superstore I went. I picked up a notebook for under $2 and began putting all of my notes in one portable spot.

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Shortly after the funeral, I found myself shutting down, because my limited times of grieving out loud were too much for others. I was being forced to stifle my own feelings. The care of my two younger daughters and other family members became more important than taking care of myself. Someone had to be the head of the family, and it seem my husband was not going to do it. Hence, it was me.

That being said, I knew I needed an outlet, a non-judgmental set of “ears”. This is where writing to ease pain came in; writing more than just the poem for my son’s funeral card and the notes from conversations with the D.A.

It was time to express my feelings through writing, so I went to one of my usually online haunts —Creative Copy Challenge (CCC). You see, I had been meeting the weekly writing challenges for years and going back to them was … natural, refreshing, enlightening, and a source of comfort.

Random Words

The week I re-visited the website, I took the ten random words posted on the CCC and wrote. After all, that is the most basic challenge, I told myself: you can do it Kathleen it is just “…creating a cohesive … short story….” No problem, right? I am not going to lie: it was not the easiest thing to do, especially when I had been stuffing many of my feelings deep down inside. There was a bit of trepidation as I put my toe back in the writing waters. But this is why I had come, I reminded myself. My fingers hit the keys. The delete key was used a time or two. But low and behold, this was where my first “Mind-full Conversation” was born.

Through my opportunity to write to the Creative Copy Challenges and in my journal, I began to write things that others close at hand did not want to hear or did not know how to react to. Writing allowed me to “speak” the words “with” my son that I could not say to others. I was able to chat with my son as if the conversations were still possible. It let me explore, in an honest manner, the multitude of feelings I was experiencing.

Writing enabled me to journal what was going on with the case. This turned out to be cathartic, cleansing and a clever way to share information. It also helped deal with frustrations while helping make some sense of all of the feelings I was experiencing.

Writing My Memoir in Chunks

I never push myself to write. I write no more and no less than I am feeling like writing at any time. I don’t always write to the CCC—most often, it’s just in my notebook/journal. As it turns out, I have been able to write my memoir in small chunks. Writing in chunks that I could handle, handle looking inward at myself and looking at things that have happened in my life.

Even though writing a memoir was not my initial goal, along my bumpy path, I learned that my willingness to write about “it” was helpful to others. This started me on my research on memoirs. About three years ago, I found a group on LinkedIn chatting about memoirs and that is where I “met” Denis Ledoux. It is where I was introduced to The (helpful) Memoir Network. It is where I have been encouraged to continue to write and work toward something I am willing to have others read. It is where I have found that my intended style of writing for my memoir will make it a book people will want to read and read with ease.

Slow Closure

The murder of a loved one, often, does not gain closure quickly. I am still in the writing and editing phase of my journal(s), some of my memoir(s) are about the loss of my son, but it’s not my first memoir creation. Those essays I have written are also memoirs. You see, I have used writing to process many things that have accrued in my life. I have written about surviving a multitude of experiences with my children at my side. I am blessed to have gotten comfortable writing in my journals. It was, and still is, natural for me to continue on with the process.

The Key

Writing down what goes on in life, writing your journals and/or a memoir— whether these are only for you, for your family, or for strangers, your goal is to help someone else find a shining light on the path through this thing called life – writing is the key. Writing is the key to self-expression. Writing is the key to keeping a log of things that have gone on in one’s life. It can be difficult at times as well as cleansing. So, pick up a pen; hit the keys; write. Because there is a personally cleansing memoir, or two, in all of us. And you don’t have to worry that it’s not perfect, because, after all, The Memoir Network is here to help you.

Below share with me how you dealt with a painful experience. Did you choose writing to ease the pain? Was your choice memoir writing, journaling, or something else? Journaling might help you through?

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