"BLOGGING ALONG" with Joyce Knock

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death and loss

My ‘it’ Christmas gift in 1946!

Several years ago the Des Moines Register featured  an article about the ‘it’ Christmas gift throughout the ages.  The must haves ranged from a simple toy, the Yo-Yo, in 1929 to high-tech gadgets, the Apple iPad in 2010.

Not mentioned was the ‘it’ toy for 1946, the year of my sixth Christmas. After a bit of research, I discovered that it was either a Donald Duck camera or the Tonka toy truck.

I did not receive either of the ‘it’ gifts that year.  What I did receive was a handmade child’s table and four chairs, the product of a joint effort of my mom and dad.

In the early 1940s my parents were struggling to make a living on a rented Iowa farm.  Money was tight and little extra was available for store bought Christmas gifts.

Therefore, my father fashioned four chairs out of discarded orange crates and a table from scraps of lumer found around the farm.  My mother sewed  gathered skirts for the chairs from recycled feed sacks and created a slip-on back cover for each of the chairs.  The skirt was tacked to the chair seat and several rows of rick rack were added as a bit of a flare.

Much of the work probably was completed at night when I was asleep.  I can envision my father working in the cold barn sawing and hammering and my mother at her sewing machine designing and sewing the skirts for the chairs.

Upon completion she most likely was the one who applied the bright blue paint and placed them near the cook stove to dry overnight.

During my growing-up years many hours were spent at that that table either playing house or playing school.  In later years it was used as a service table in my parent’s cellar for when my mother did the washing or canning – a continuous reminder of Christmas past. 

Although my Christmas present of 1946 did not make the list that year it will always be my ‘it’ gift.     ###


Excerpts from ‘MY HEART IS BROKEN A journey of loss grief and hope’


Excerpts from my book.

Dear fellow sojourner,

Grief is personal.  I understand that I do not have the market on grief due to the loss of a loved one.  After futile attempts to cope with my sorry, I started putting my feelings on paper making my grief visible.  It allowed me to bear my pain, my broken heart and my empty soul.

If you are on have been on a similar journey I invite you to walk with me.  hopefully, was we mourn our loss and feel the pain, our brokeness will be mended.  Together we may feel less alone.

Respectfully Yours,

Joyce Knock

One Journey Ends As Another Begins   Levi reluctantly entered the world a bit battered with one eye swollen shut and a green branch break in his collar-bone.  The collar-bone break and swollen eye quickly healed and his newborn determination was a precursors for the strong, yet gentle boy he would become. I was excited to be present the day my grandson was born and privileged to cut his umbilical cord.  My daughter and her husband had not agreed on a name for their newborn son, so when I suggested the name Levi, they happily agreed it was a good fit. My husband and I had been empty nesters for several years and had settled into a more responsibility free way of life.  As coined  by John Lennon ‘Life happens while you are busy making other plans.’  Levi came to live with us when he was one year old.  My role as grandmother transitioned to grandmother aka grandmother.  Levi’s adoption was finalized when he was two. For the next fifteen years Levi was a vital part of our lives, I was a full-time parent again, a bit wiser and quite a bit older.  The days, months and years were filled with love and excitement created by a child who saw the world in  many unique ways.

Changed Forever  It was a beautiful fall day in September.  After Sunday lunch Levi was doing his homework at our kitchen table, I was struggling to resolve some computer issues and Dave was watching football in the family room, both of us only a few steps from the kitchen table.  When Levi had finished his homework, he asked if he could try once again to remove some rust spots from his target shooting gun. As he worked busily on the gun I passed through the kitchen and reached out  to ruffle his dark brown hair.  ‘How ya’ doing buddy?’ I asked.  Levi replied, ‘just fine.’  Those were the last words we ever said to each other. There were no hints that day that something would happen to change my life forever. 

When I heard a loud noise, I wondered was that a gunshot?

I rushed to the kitchen to find Dave on his knees, bent over Levi’s body.  Dave turned to me and said, ‘Joyce, call 911.’  I looked at the phone in my hand.  “Dave, I can’t.  I don’t know how.’  I was frozen in space and time, unable to move.  Dave stood, took his phone from his pocket and dialed 911.  In between sobs he pleaded with them to please come at once.  Fleetingly, I thought everything would be okay when they arrived.  But I soon realized that Levi’s spirit had left his body.

Levi was gone.

The Day the Music Stopped  The last Sunday of Levi’s life he had a scheduled piano lesson at 5 pm.  At 2:30 pm that day the music stopped.  Levi was gone!  It was lonely!  The silence was deafening!  It was unimaginable!

How Ya’ Doing’?  How ya’ doin’? I was asked the other day.  A common greeting in every ordinary way.  I paused a bit shaken.  Not knowing what to say.  Thinking don’t they know my story?  There was a death in my family and maybe they didn’t know.  Although it happened just a short while ago.  Or they did know and didn’t know what to say.  For most people it’s over and life does on each in their own way.  My heart is just shattered.  Too many pieces to count.  Somehow it keeps beating.  You’re still alive it seems to shout.

Who Was Your Loved One?  I invite you to jot down some favorite memories of your loved one.  I hope this brings you some comfort.

This what I miss __________________________________________________________________________.

I would like to ____________________________________________________________________________.

If only ____________________________________________________________________________________.

I wanted to tell you _______________________________________________________________________.

Doesn’t Anyone Care Anymore?  In the days and weeks following Levi’s death our mailbox was filled with cards of sympathy and consolation.  The donations in Levi’s memory were overwhelming.    The onslaught of well-wishers and busyness buffered our grief and temporarily cushioned us from our new reality.  Gradually, I realized something all along.  All these ‘others’ had their lives to live and their journey to take.  Life was going on and it was necessary for me to decide what that meant and how it would unfold for me.      ###













Grieving alone.

Excerpt from my book

My Heart Is Broken

A journey of loss grief and hope


Doesn’t Anyone Care Anymore

In the days and weeks following Levi’s death our mailbox was filled with cards of sympathy and consolation.  The donations in Levi’s memory were overwhelming.  Our home was filled with caring people drifting in and out offering support and encouraging us to stay engaged with others.

The onslaught of well-wishers and busyness buffered our grief and temporarily cushioned us from our new reality.

As I struggled through lonely days I became painfully aware that others appeared to be going about their lives just as they had prior to Levi’s death.  Why weren’t they as sad as I was?

Why?  Why?  Why?

Gradually, I realized something I knew all along.  All these ‘others’ had their lives to live and their journeys to take.                      ###



Time is valuable..why give it away?


For the past 2-1/2 years I have been    volunteering at the Women’s Prison at Mitchellville in the General Population Library. I describe my position as an ‘overseer of the women’ who need no direction from me to  operate the library.    My presence  however does make it possible for the library to be open on Sunday afternoon as no prison  employees supervise or work in the library ever ……it is run completely by the women currently living there.  Working in the library is a coveted position in the prison and currently pays about 50 cents/hour.  As a volunteer I am the only person who can answer the phone, make calls to reception to share library hours, call security for opening and closure,  and make  calls to summon women who have books to pick up.  The women who work in the library are skilled librarians…capable to answer questions about books, authors, and subjects.

I have worked with some of the women for almost 2-1/2 years now and we have developed a unique respectful relationship.  There is much we can not share but there is much we can talk about  and discuss that has made our relationships unique and special.  One thing I do know is that I look forward to spending time with them  twice monthly for 2 hours and engaging in conversation with them about a variety of topics.  Being an inmate  has not diminished or robbed them of their ability to think, have opinions are ability to discuss a variety of issues.

One of the greatest benefits I receive each Sunday is an opportunity to ‘get out of myself’ and give some time to someone else which forces  me to not dwell on thoughts or concerns that might currently be troubling me.  It is amazing what these two hours of volunteering and one hour of driving time can do for my heart and soul…it is great therapy and for that I am thankful.

Until two weeks from now when I drive to the prison, enter the prison, pass through security, walk up the long hill to the library and I am greeted by these library women workers who no doubt will say, ‘How are you Miss Joyce?’  It doesn’t get any better!    ###




Compelling story of loss.



imageBy Carol Long on June 29, 2017
Format: Paperback

Verified Purchase
Joyce has written her compelling story with so much heart that it hurts the heart to read it. Her grandson’s sudden and tragic death stunned her and it stuns the reader. She takes us on her journey through loss, grief and hope by using story-telling and poetry. Her determination to create something lasting from her loss comes from a deep well of honest, Iowa farm girl strength and grit. Read, weep and heal with Joyce.

AMAZON review of Joyce Knock’s latest book.



What to do with grief?

Grief is personal. I invite you to walk with me. Together we may be less lonely.


I do not have the market on grief as the result of losing a loved one.  With that understanding I invite you to walk with me as l share my journey of loss, grief and hope.   Sharing may ease our pain  and develop into caring and understanding.  ###


There was a boy


I Have Often Thought About Who He Was

THERE was a boy – who liked butterflies – looking at the moon and stars through his telescope – cats especially Ruthie – rollerblading – surfing in the ocean – collecting shells – playing soccer – learning new things        ###

June 2017 release date

#book #grief #author #journey #loss




A Little Bout A Lotta Things 


My blogs to date have covered a variety of topics.  This shall continue to be my style as I am a multi dimensional person as are my readers.

img_4228My third published book is entitled ‘My heart is broken. A journey of loss, hope and grief.’ Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. Understanding and accepting our common experience I will share the introduction of my book laying the groundwork for the writings that will follow.

Dear fellow sojourner,

I understand that I do not have the market on grief due to the loss of a loved one. After futile attempts to cope with my sorrow I started putting my feelings on paper making my grief visible. It allowed me to bear my pain, my broken heart and a soul that is often times empty.

On this journey, we have the right to grieve, to cry, to sob and to grow from the choices we make each day. If you are on a similar journey I invite you to walk with me. Hopefully, as we mourn our loss and feel the pain, our brokenness will be mended.

Together we may feel less alone.

Respectfully yours,

Joyce Knock


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