Yes. I Can.

It seems as if it’s been a lifetime since I wrote an article for this blog, and perhaps it has been. I thought my move away from the house I lived for the past two decades with my life mate would be the start of a life change — a real journey. I expected to be different at the end of my trip to my new location than I was at the beginning, but in truth, the change had already begun.

During these past months, I’ve had so much thrown at me that I was overwhelmed. First my mate’s death, then arranging his cremation, packing and shipping the stuff I’m going to keep, doing a yard sale, cleaning out his things, disposing of all the detritus one accumulates during a shared life time, preparing for my journey. All this I did alone while dealing with overwhelming grief. During each agonizing step of the way, I’d cry and wail and scream, “I can’t do this!” So much pain. So much loss. So much change in such a short time. And I had no idea how to cope.

My last morning at the house, I got up early, cleaned out the few remaining items I’d been using, packed my car, and took one more look around the house. I walked through the rooms, remembering with what hope we had moved there, remembering the good times, remembering the more frequent bad times. Remembering his last hug, his last kiss. His death.

As I was shutting the door, I thought of all that lay ahead of me, and I cried, “I can’t do this.”

Then, it dawned on me: Yes. I can. Because I did.

I got out my camera, and went through the house one last time, taking photos of the empty rooms to prove to myself that all those things I thought I couldn’t do, I did. I know there will still be much for me to have to deal with — learning how to live without him, learning who I am now that I am not part of a couple, finding a way and a reason to live – and through it all, I might continue to wail, “I can’t do this,” but this truth is, I can. And that was the real journey, the real discovery. The trip turned out to be just a trip.




11 Responses to “Yes. I Can.”

  1. Carol Wong Says:

    Glad that you made it. Eventually, you will come to some steps in life that are not as difficult and later some that are very good.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, Carol. I hope you’re right — actually, I know you’re right. It’s just that right now it doesn’t seem as if there will ever be easy steps.

  2. mickeyhoffman Says:

    The immediacy of your account got to me in a major way. I can’t think of any adjectives that aren’t cliches right now but you’re not only a strong person, I think you’re very brave for sharing this. Hope your new location is everything you’d wish for.

  3. L.V. Gaudet Says:

    That had to be a very difficult thing to do. More so for having to do it on your own with no one there to at least offer emotional support. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to pack up a lost loved one’s belongings and leaving the home where the ghosts of your shared life will always live.

    Hopefully some of those ghosts will follow you to your new home as if he is there himself to offer his strength to lean on.

    You are a strong person Pat, you will manage through this and everything to come.

  4. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    So much heartache! But you’re proving every day that yes, you can do more than you ever believed possible. I hope your new place is providing you with comfort and security as you continue the rebuilding of your life.

  5. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Such a hard time.
    I’ve just been helping my son move house and your pictures made me think of something we noticed – that rooms look so much smaller when they’re empty. May your rooms begin to fill again and your life to be enlarged with all those wonderful “yes you can”s.

  6. Vivian A Says:

    Pat, I wish that as the days progress, you recall the laughs and smiles more and more. Hoping you find a nice nook to settle into, and great to see a new post up.

  7. Empty Rooms | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] unknown and possibly exciting future ahead of me, but these empty rooms are taking me back to the empty rooms I left behind when I drove away from the house Jeff and I shared, and along with the memories, comes […]

  8. “I Can’t Do This!” | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] able to breathe, totally lost, and feeling as if half my soul had been amputated. I kept screaming “I can’t do this!” But of course, I did whatever needed to be done. I dealt with the mortuary, the bank, the […]

  9. Epiphany | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] died, I thought my move away from our home of two decades would be the start of a life change — a real journey. But it turned out the drive to my father’s house was simply a trip — the journey had been […]

Leave a Reply to mickeyhoffman Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: