Grief Update — Throwing a Tantrum

I haven’t blogged about grief recently. Actually, I haven’t blogged about anything for a while. I’m in a transitional stage — not sure what I’m feeling, not sure what direction I want to go with this blog, not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve been purposely thinking of other things than the death of my soul mate, though grief does geyser up without my volition now and again, especially on Saturdays, the day of the week he died. Even if I’m not consciously aware of that day, still, nine and a half months later, something in me acknowledges the date, and sadness grabs hold of me.

Except not this Saturday. This Saturday (yesterday), I wanted to throw myself on the ground and beat the floor in a full-fledged tantrum. I’ve never thrown a tantrum in my life, but if I’d been someplace where no one could hear me, I would have made an exception. I wanted desperately to talk to him. His death was the most significant aspect of our lives since the day we met, and he’s not here for us to compare notes. I want know how he’s doing. I want to know what he’s doing. Is he doing anything, feeling anything? Or is he drifting on a sea of light, like a newborn star?

It seems impossible that he’s gone, and the simple truth is that I don’t want him to be dead. Sure, I can handle it. Sure, I can deal with living the rest of my life alone. Sure, I can do whatever I need to do. But I don’t want to. I want him. I want to see him. I want to see his smile. I want . . . I want . . . I want . . . All those wants erupted Saturday night, hence the desire to throw a tantrum.

I’ve never heard of tantrum as a phase of grief, but I’ve never heard of most of the stages I’ve gone through. My grief cycle does not at all resemble the stages defined by Kubler Ross. Hers is a simplistic view of grief when in fact grief is a cyclical emotional and physical quagmire. The frequency of my grief eruptions has diminished, and so has the worst of my pain, but the hole his death created in my life remains. I try filling the emptiness with physical activity, talking to people, reading, writing, even eating, but nothing fills the want.

How can someone who was so much a part of my life be gone? Even if he is waiting for me on the other side of eternity, he’s still gone from this life. And I don’t want him to be. I want . . . I want . . . I want . . .

Clear the area. I feel a tantrum coming on.

6 Responses to “Grief Update — Throwing a Tantrum”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Your comment about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s view of grief being simplistic is possibly because it was initially intended for those who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Applying it to those experiencing a significant loss was a secondary one. Maybe it’s like taking an analogy too far… the application is similar, but not identical. I don’t believe anyone’s loss is identical to another’s, nor their experience of resulting grief. There’s no guaranteed formula for dealing with it. So if you feel like having a tantrum, go for it. 🙂 Sometimes you just have to let the frustrations out. Go scream it out where only God can hear you, and then let him take away the tears and bless you with his comfort.

    Yeah, that sounds simplistic, too, but I happen to know from experience that it works.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oddly enough, I did go through those stages before he died. Afterward, it was an entirely different situation!

      I’ve noticed that people think those stages, whether coming to accept one’s death or one’s grief, that it is a manual of how to deal with the situation, when in fact, it was merely her observations of how people came to an acceptance of the end.

  2. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    I’ve thrown those tantrums occasionally on my bed as God is my witness. He is kind-hearted and very patient. He didn’t scold me. He just waited and let me know He knew how I felt. We want what we want. And when we want it very badly, well, a tantrum doesn’t get us what we want, but it allows some release. I recommend a tantrum at times. Alone, of course, so no one throws a net over you and puts you in a padded room. Blessings to you, Pat…

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I feel like such a spoiled child at times, wanting what I cannot have, but mostly I’m dealing with the situation. At the beginning, though, I did a LOT of screaming. Helped relieve the stress.

  3. Ann Langbecker Says:

    Hi Pat,
    Thank you for writing about your grief. It is the closest description to my experience of grief I’ve ever read. It’s like an avalanche, isnt it? Sweeping down the hillside of your life and forever altering the terrain, taking out a major ‘holder of memories’ in one’s life. For me it’s been eight and a half years since my husband died. I’m not sure the ‘want’ goes away, but the intensity fluctuates. Tantrums are fine: part of the emotional palette of being human.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Ann, What an interesting way of putting it: ‘holder of memories.” That must be why one undergoes such a shift in identity — you’re the only one left holding the memories. In some ways I still think of this as “our” life, though now it’s all my responsibility.

      I used to worry that I’m not getting over the wanting, but I’m beginning to understand that in some way it will always be there.

      I am in awe of anyone who has managed to survive this trauma for eight and a half years.

      Thank you for leaving a comment. It helps lessen the feeling of isolation.

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