I belong to an online group called The Writin’ Wombats — a convivial group of writers, readers and critics supporting each others’ work and sharing news, gossip, rants and triumphs. (You can join, too. Everyone is welcome.) The Wombats have been supportive of me in my grief, encouraging me with wise words and virtual hugs. I would like to share with you a comment one of the Wombats left for me on the last thread. It helped me, and perhaps it will help others who are also grieving the loss of a loved one.
“Pat B–Love is so awesome, so overwhelming and filling and all-encompassing. So, too, is grief. It touches all those same places touched by love. When that love was every place in you, you can’t help but be attacked by grief in those same places. And so the grief is overwhelming and filling and all-encompassing as well. But it can’t overpower the love. It can overshadow it. But it doesn’t have the same strength, the same staying power, that love holds. After the grief eases, the love will again shine. No, you won’t have J. And that’s the cruelest, cruelest loss. But you will have his touch all over you, through you, from where his love lived with yours. And it once again will be good.” — E. A. Hill
I’ve come to realize that hate is not the opposite of love, grief is for the very reasons that Ms. Hill stated. Love and grief are the bookends of a relationship. The two clearest memories I have of my mate are the day I met him and the day he left me. After almost thirty-four years, I barely remember who I was before we met, and I don’t yet know who I am now that he’s gone. So much of my life was intertwined with his that it could take the rest of my days to pick the pieces of myself out of the “us” that we created. And maybe it can’t be done. But as time passes, and I experience things we can no longer share, I will become more of me and less of us. Yet the love will remain. And I hope, as Ms. Hill says, that once again it will be good.
Until then, and long afterward, I’ll be soaking up the wisdom of the wombats.