The Gift of Possibilities

I have been given a very special and unwelcome gift this year — the gift of possibilities.

Thirty-eight weeks ago my life mate — my soulmate — died. During the previous few years, the constraints of his illness bound our lives, and it felt as if we were doomed to an eternity of decreasing possibilities. Every day he became weaker, could do less, had fewer options. We could not plan for our future, knowing each day was all he might have. We could not even spend much time together — it took all his strength and concentration just to make it through another hour.

And so we lived. Waited.

His death brought enormous changes to my life, but during these months of grief, I have focused on the  impossibilities. It is impossible for him to come back to me and it’s impossible for me go home to him. It’s impossible for us ever to have another conversation, watch a movie, play a game, take a trip, start over in a new location as we so often did during our decades together. It’s impossible for me to stop missing him, impossible to conceive of living in a world from which he is absent. It’s been impossible, too, to concede that perhaps my life could be easier without him. What difference does that make when our being together was all that ever mattered to me?

And yet, and yet . . .

I am getting glimmers of myself now, myself alone. I no longer have the financial and emotional burden of his illness. I am no longer weighted down by my own grief, though it is still a part of me, and probably always will be.

I still feel as if I am waiting, but I’m beginning to feel as if I’m waiting for something rather than simply waiting, though I don’t know what I am waiting for. I do know that — slowly — the world of possibility is opening up to me again. I might not be able to do whatever I want — people are so wrong when they say anything is possible — but many things are probable when you’ve been given the gift of possibilities.

9 Responses to “The Gift of Possibilities”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Blessings to you in this Christmas season, Pat. It won’t be an easy time for you, but I pray you will find hope in the new possibilities, peace in the growing acceptance of your situation, and strength in the loving compassion God has for you.

  2. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    You are an inspiration, Pat! You are living it and mapping the way for others going through grief. Blessings to you…

  3. Wanda Says:

    Pat, Each posting from you I see so much progress. I’m so proud of you. I didn’t know J but I’m willing to bet he’d be proud of you as well. What you’re going through is not easy but your journey is marked with your courage and grace.

    Merry Christmas to you, dear.

  4. slamdunk Says:

    I am sorry for your loss, and I hope that you are able to find some happiness with the changes now before you.

  5. gracierios Says:

    Dear Pat,

    I completely understand when you write “during these months of grief, I have focused on the impossibilities.” My mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in March 2010. As the months pass, she grows weaker. And the wait is hard. I tell myself to enjoy every moment, to appreciate that she is still here with me. But the idea of losing her causes to much grief that it’s hard to be truly happy knowing she will die. At moments I can achieve that happiness/peacefulness but sometimes the grief/anxiety just take over.

    I hope you have wonderful and joy-filled holidays!

    All the best,


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Gracie, my thoughts go with you this Christmas. Such a difficult time! If you need to talk, feel free to stop by here. I understand as well as anyone can what you are going through.

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