Surviving a New Stage of Grief

I’ve been working on my grief book, typing what I wrote immediately after the death of my soul mate. Suddenly it seems as if the past sixty-two weeks have melted into oblivion and I’m back there again, newly bereft, wandering in a fog of pain, wondering how to cope with the massive changes in my life. I know I have come a long way because the revisited pain seems bewildering to me. Did I really feel all that? Did I really survive such a terrible time? Apparently I did, because here I am, mostly back to normal. I’m still lonely, though, and the loneliness surges unbearably at times.

Loneliness is the newest stage of my grief, as it is for so many who are coming out of the first numbing months of grief. I don’t know how to cope with this vast loneliness, but I didn’t know how to cope with any of the other stages of grief, either. I just embraced the pain, the anger, the sorrow, and waited for a gentler time. So that’s what I will do with the loneliness. Embrace it and wait for it to subside. Waiting is not all I’ve been doing, though. I’ve been making an effort to be with people, which helps, and so does writing. I’d forgotten how quickly the hours go when one is immersed in words.

I still wonder if anyone will want to read this grief book when it is published. It is so intensely personal. And painful. Yet people who have read my blog posts about grief have found some comfort in them, so perhaps this book will serve the same function. Even if no one is interested in reading my daily struggles to come to terms with the death of my mate of thirty-four years, the book is important to me. It’s a way of binding my grief into a neat bundle so I can get on with my life, though I have been told one never truly gets over such a loss. But we do survive, and that is ultimately what my book is about — surviving grief.

11 Responses to “Surviving a New Stage of Grief”

  1. joylene Says:

    It’s about not feeling so alone. I think that’s why people will read it.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s true, Joylene. For such a universal experience, most people who lose someone significant to death don’t know anyone else who has gone through such a trauma.

      • joylene Says:

        On our road alone there are 5 widows. All of them lost their mates in the same year. Trying to be funny, someone renamed our road Widow’s Road. Not very funny to those widows, I’m thinking.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Those poor women! Did they find comfort from each other? I hope so. Strange that there were so many deaths that year. Were they older?

          Shortly after I lost J, a friend lost her mate, and we’ve been supporting each other through our trauma. Almost all my friends now have lost someone — it stuns me to think there was so much loss and so much pain that we never saw. Which is one of the reasons for my book — I want people to see this part of life that is so often hidden.

  2. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    I’m sure your book on surviving grief will be meaningful to many who must navigate the terrible waters of loss. Eventually everyone will experience grief in life. Blessings to you, Pat…

  3. leesis Says:

    Pat I think your book essential. The agony of loss is so intense yet those who have yet to suffer such loss, even some ‘experts’ commonly expect folk to ‘get over it’…’move on’ within some predetermined and impossible time-frame very often making people feel wrong or unhealthy in their reaction. This can and does cause supression and a prolonging of the agony…sometimes for a lifetime.

    Your writing not only shows the intensity of pain; something folks need to read often to accept their own emotional experience, but also the healthiest way to take the journey ie “to embrace it and wait for it to subside” hence allowing for recovery. Too often I have seen folk running from their pain their anger again prolonging the whole process.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, Leesa. I’m still planning on sending you the manuscript to vet to make sure it’s readable and helpful. Your continued belief that I’ve been greiveing in a healthy way has brought me comfort.

  4. Holly Bonville Says:

    I will read it Pat. You have this ability to put into words what I have been feeling. It is so hard to describe, and it helps so much each time I read one of your posts. I have shared several of them with friends in the hopes that they will understand what I am going through since loosing Jake.
    Thank you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Holly, that is hard, isn’t it, when others don’t understand what you are going through? There is a chance that non-grievers will dismiss my book as the ravings of someone who couldn’t get on with her life, but we know the truth of it. We bereft all grieve more than anyone knows and we deal with it the best we can.

  5. Sandy Says:

    Dear Pat,

    Even if no one else reads your book about your grief; it will not matter because you are writing it for you. This book is accomplishing what you need for it to do, and that is to help you through the different tiers of your grief.

    Pat, you’re such a good writer that I think many people who are going through what you are will read it because you are able to put their loss and feelings into words for them.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sandy, you’re right — it really is for me. Another step on my journey. And you’re also right about people needing someone to put their thoughts into words. It’s so hard to step outside of grief to see the process, and I’ve been blessed with an ability to do that.


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