The Long and Winding Road of Grief

The problem with grief (not counting the primary problem of having lost a loved one) is that so many emotions attack you all at once that you feel you can never get a grip. And then, for no fathomable reason, you hit an emotional trough where you feel nothing, and you begin to think that you can handle your grief, and then pow! Out of nowhere, it returns and slams you in the gut.

I was never a wildly emotional person, but now I am buffeted by more different emotions in a single day than I used to experience in a month. The emotions are not all negative, either. This morning, I woke up feeling a tingle of excitement — I’d planned to go on a long ramble, camera in hand, and for the first time in months, perhaps years, I felt alive. I’ve always taken long walks, but for the past couple of decades I’ve lived on a .3 mile lane between a dead end and a busy highway, so I used to walk up and down the lane, always looking for anything different to make the trek interesting. Now, I don’t have to look for those differences — I have a brand new world beneath my feet, before my eyes, and something in me is responding.

But still, side-by-side with my new awakening, is the sorrow that my mate is no longer with me. About fifteen minutes before I returned from my walk today, the thought that he was not waiting for me at the end doubled me over with pain. After such a bout, when the immediacy of the pain passes, when the tears finally dissipate, I’m left with the inexplicable feeling that he is away, perhaps getting well, and one of these days he will be calling, telling me I can come home. But he won’t be calling. And I won’t be going home.

And so I continue walking the long and winding road of grief.

9 Responses to “The Long and Winding Road of Grief”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Pat, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and have been touched by your loss and your bravery to post your feelings and thoughts on your blog for all the world to see.

    I completely understand your feelings of loss. I lost my soul mate, the love of my life in 1989. I thought the world was over and I never thought the pain in my gut and my chest would ever go away. For so long, the emptiness in my soul seemed as if it would linger forever. Even now that I’ve remarried and had two more children, my love for my soul mate remains. I feel blessed I was given the time I had with him and I know, someday, we will be reunited once more. There are still times I can hear his voice or smell his cologne. I miss him still but I know he led me to the man I am with now because he knew I needed someone to love and nurture and care for. The pain, the ache . . . it will go away. Just remember he’s never far away. The love will last through all eternity and you will take it with you wherever you go.

    My heart goes out to you.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Jenny, thank you for your comment. It made me cry for both of us, but it’s good to know that there is life after grief. I wish that he were here, but he suffered so much during these past years that, for his sake, I’m glad he isn’t. And, even though it hurts now that he’s gone, I’m trying to embrace the pain, because those troughs where I feel nothing are so much worse. Then I feel he is truly gone, and that is unbearable.

  2. Sheila Deeth Says:

    A winding road with many corners my Mum tells me, and with reminders in the roadsigns.

  3. Sandi Elzinga Says:

    A long, tough road to be sure. May God strengthen you.

    GriefWalk: Hope Through The Dark Places

  4. joylene Says:

    It’s so wonderful of you to chronicle this new journey. You’re bringing to mind so many facets of my own past that I had forgotten. I remember the day I woke up and realized I was changed. It was a frightening moment as I looked in the mirror and wondered who I was now. The face looking back at me was familiar, but the feelings were that of a stranger. Fortunately, today I think I may be a better person for having had so much pain.

    Thanks for sharing this, Pat. You can’t know what healing power there is in your words. And not just for you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Joylene, If I thought about what I was doing, perhaps I wouldn’t write about grief. It seems a bit self-indulgent at times, but right now, it touches every part of my life. I don’t feel any change in me yet. I feel like the same person, but even though he’s been gone almost eight weeks, my journey is still beginning. As always, I appreciate your input. You help give me courage.

  5. Wenswritings Says:

    I just started blogging and still very much in the learning stage. I posted “The Road of Grief” and just realized that your post is there as well. I understand your grief all though everyone has their own personal grief. I have subscribed to your blog.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I checked out your blog, Wendy. So much tragedy! I can’t even imagine what you are going through. It’s hard enough when you know that someone is dead, but to have someone go missing and not know what happened is a real horror. My heart goes out to you.

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