Wisdom of the Wombats

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.

18 Responses to “Wisdom of the Wombats”

  1. knightofswords Says:

    Ms. Hill is very wise. I’m glad you are in the company of wombats to help you through difficult times.


  2. joylene Says:

    Very nice. Thank you, Ms Hill.

  3. John Philipp Says:

    Pat, that was a wise comment Beth made.

    And of course it/you will once again be good. You already are, it will just take time to reconnect to that.

    Take care.

  4. Vivian A Says:

    Grief is harsh and sneaks up you when you least expect it, but Beth is right – love lasts longer and is stronger. Just take one step at a time, you’re doing great, Pat.

  5. Kat Sheridan Says:

    Our Ms. Hill is a remarkable woman. So are you. Don’t try to erase the “us” in any way. Just learn to build a new addition to that called “me, after us.” Still sending hugs to you, every single day.

  6. Judi Says:

    The Wisdom is here for us in writing and in life, made up of very wise people, like Beth. We’re glad you have us to come to, Pat!

  7. James Rafferty Says:

    Pat, Beth’s comment is an example of digging deep and finding new ways to cope with life’s sometimes cruel twists. The wombats are here for you and for all of us during the tough times. And we will also celebrate the victories, large and small.

  8. Wanda Hughes Says:

    Pat, Beth is a great example of the loving and caring available from the Wisdom of the Writin’ Wombats. We’re all here for you in large ways and small. I think of you every day when I awaken, sending you support and love.

  9. Mo Pigeon Says:

    Oh Pat, I didn’t know that you were grieving your beloved. I’m so so sorry. I discovered that grief can turn you inside out and flip you right side-down, but it can never ever separate from our beloved one. Neither wind, nor fire, nor earthquake, nor depth of ocean, nor the distance between heaven and hell can separate us from our love one, for love is eternal. We cannot feel that one with our five senses….but oh, we sense they ARE; however while we are sojourning through this earth walk, we WANT to touch them, to smell them, to taste them, to gaze upon them…but be still…he is with you evermore…and until you meet again…we…your evergrowing community of friends…will walk alongside you. I am in Canada…and you would be welcome in my home with your memories of your beloved. Pat…speak of him often to your friends….the details…your friends will never grow weary of hearing of your love soaked memories….and then there are those that are only yours…sacredly only yours. Hugs, Mo

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      What a perfect place for you to add your words of wisdom, Mo. Thank you. It’s been three months since I “lost” him, as if I just misplaced him and will soon find him again. Alas, that is not going to happen in this lifetime.

  10. tahliaN Says:

    How did you get the name ‘Wombats’? Being an Australian I just wondered. There’s one in my new novel ‘Lethal Inheritance’ and my agent and I have wondered if it would be okay to leave it as a wombat for the US market.

    There is this idea that American and Canadians like their books culturally specific. What do you think?

    You can see ch 1 ( complete with a wombat called Spud) at

  11. Wanda Hughes Says:

    Hi tahliaN, please leave your wombat in for the American audience. I think it will educate those who don’t know what it is and delight those of us who do know. My one regret for the time I spent in Oz several years ago is that I didn’t get to see a wombat or a platypus in the wild or even a zoo. But I did get to see lots of other Oz critters and loved them all. I’m off to see your first chapter.

    • tahliaN Says:

      Okay, I will. I really want to. There’s something wonderful about the word ‘Wombat’ not to mention the animal. While you’re on my site, have a look at the photos of where I live on the author page. We see wombats walk across our lawn, also wallabies, lyre birds, kookaburras and echidnas. Most Aussies don’t, I’m lucky.

  12. Judi Says:

    The Writing Wombats came into being during a contest on Gather.com. Several of us had been through the trenches of this online contest and one of us started a chat. That chat hasn’t yet ended, over 3 years later. Along the way people have come and gone, some of us have gotten published, and we all support each other in our writing pursuits.

    We got the name Writing Wombats when one of the members mentioned something about Wombats in Space, just a throw-away comment, and we glommed onto it and became the Writing Wombats. It helps that a group of wombats is called a Wisdom. Yes, we glommed onto that, too.

    Our official group description is:

    A convivial group of writers, readers and critics supporting each others’ work. A communal bulletin board to post links to your writing, share news, gossip, rants and triumphs.

  13. sherilynwinrose Says:

    Tahlia, I honestly don’t remember how we got that name. It seems to fit us though. As a human wombat, I would encourage you to leave it as a wombat. North Americans can stretch when the occasion requires it.

    Pat (((((((hugs))))))))) I’m dealing with a different loss and I understand the pulled apart feeling. Next year we’re supposed to feel some better, right?

  14. Pat Bertram Says:

    tahliaN, I too think you should leave it in, if for no other reason than to let readers know they aren’t still in North America.

    • tahliaN Says:

      It’s looks like the overwhelming consensus is that North Americans aren’t as culturally exclusive as we may think. Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

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