I Am a One-Month Grief Survivor

I have survived my first month of grieving. I’m surprised it was so hard, and I’m surprised I survived it (at times my lungs stopped working and my heart felt as if it would burst with all the pain) but in the world of grief, a month isn’t much. Still, I’ve come a long way. I can look to the future, though I know the best way to deal with that future is to deal with each day as it comes — thinking of living the rest of my life without my mate makes me sick to my stomach.

And I have moments when I can stand outside my grief and see the process for what it is. Grief is an enormous undertaking (I hesitated using the word “undertaking” since it’s so close to “undertaker,” but it’s a good analogy because grief is, to a certain extent, facing the death of a part of you). Grief involves physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and in my case, geographical changes. Grief rocks you to the very depths of you being — a soul quake. Grief changes your sense of self, your sense of your place in the world. Grief affects your self-esteem. There is only one other experience of such immensity — falling in love.

I have come to realize hate is not the opposite of love, grief is. Grief encompasses all the wild emotions, the life-changing experiences, the immensity of love, but in reverse. Falling in love with the man I was to spend decades with and grieving for him are the bookends of our life —  not my life, my life will continue, though changed —  but our life, the life we shared.

I wonder sometimes if I’m going to change out of all recognition. I’ve gone through so many life-changing experiences in the past year that I no longer know who I am. And if one doesn’t know who they are, how can they write? Because isn’t writing is essentially an expression of who we are? If, as L.V. Gaudet rebuts, writing is more of a discovery of our inner selves, then when I get back to writing, the writing itself will change me.

Will he recognize me if we ever meet again? Will he be proud of what I become? I guess that is part of the future, not of this day. And right now, this day is all I can handle.

18 Responses to “I Am a One-Month Grief Survivor”

  1. Sheila Deeth Says:

    One month…
    Thank you so much for putting words to your feelings, a blessing to the rest of us, for those we meet who don’t have words, and for ourselves to see the truth inside.

  2. Joyce Norman Says:

    Pat, your words were like liquid fire, pouring all over me and my spirit. I send you my thoughts, my prayers and all the compassion I can muster.

    You expressed yourself beautifully.

    I’m here, if…….


  3. joylene Says:

    You’re right, grief changes who you are. Now you just need time to get reacquainted. Which isn’t the word I mean, but I can’t think of the right one.

  4. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    I’m sure it’s been a very, very long month, but I’m glad you feel you’re making progress in this healing journey of grief. The wonderful mountaintop moments that we wish would last forever, don’t, but neither do the darkest valley times. Life is a constant growth process. All the big things and little things we experience along the way will change us but I don’t believe the essence of who we are will ever disappear. He will recognize you, never fear.

  5. Pat Bertram Says:

    Thank you all for your continued support. I would not be doing as well without the validation you offer me. One of the automatically generated links that wordpress added to the bottom of this article was a post about “Grief and Disenfranchised Grief.” Disenfranchised grief is unacknowledged grief, and leads to many future problems. Thanks to all of you and your acknowledgment of my grief, I should be able to heal eventually without those additional woes.

  6. Surya Sunder Says:

    Dear Pat,

    Nothing that I can say or do can really alleviate what you are going through. But let me tell you that my prayers are with you always.
    May the good Lord lay His loving hand on your grieving heart.


  7. Sue Brandes Says:

    Praying for you Pat to help with your grief. Bless you.
    Sue B

  8. Kat Sheridan Says:

    I love the word “soulquake”. Know that I think about you every day. I’m in awe that you are able to write so much about what you are feeling. I am certain your love looks upon you and smiles with pride at the way you are revealing yourself and reaching out to your community of friends and fans and supporters. Sending you hugs.

  9. Khrys @ Mom of 3 Dolls Says:

    My deepest condolences… My thoughts are with you…”Hugs”

  10. Dana Says:

    Pat, you’re so eloquent… these are feelings that most people can’t even articulate, let alone share with people who might be going through similar experiences. Hugs. Lots of ’em.

  11. Bea Says:

    What a touching way to express what you’ve experienced!

  12. elaine Says:

    I so feel your pain Pat….I have survived 3 months of this same grief…my whole world has changed….I am beyond tears .writing thoughts and feelings certainly helps when it is just too painful to give voice to….my heart understands and reaches out to you Pat….with love.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oh, Elaine. I am so sorry. What a terrible thing to have to go through — if one month isn’t much in the life of grief, then neither is three. We both have so much pain still to come. It does help a bit to know I am not alone. Reaching out to you, too.

  13. Amber Easton Says:

    I am nearing the 5 year anniversary date of when my husband died. I look over the past years and am awestruck at the changes my life has undergone. The grief journey has been a roller-coaster of emotion. My counselor described grief as a pendulum—some days you swing far enough forward to glimpse how life will be once the pendulum ceases but then you swing back again through the pain. Repeat until one day you spend more time on the other side and swing backward less.

    It’s true that I am no longer the same person I once was, but I am now fine with that. I see that the evolution has been inevitable and necessary for surviving this traumatic event. I wish you well on your journey. I’ll be thinking of you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Amber, thank you very much for leaving a comment. It’s nice to know that one can survive this experience — I have my doubts at times. Every day brings a new emotion, a new pain. Some days I can handle the trauma, other days I can’t see anything but bleakness stretching out in front of me.

      I’ll be thinking of you, too, and your courage in surviving such a traumatic event.

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