Ever since my life mate died, my mind has churned with unaswerable questions.

Is he warm? Fed? Does he have plenty of cold liquids to drink? Is he sleeping well? Does he still exist somewhere as himself or has his energy been reabsorbed into the universe? Is he glad he’s dead? He brought so much to my life, but what did I bring to his? Why can’t I see him again? Why can’t I talk with him? Will we meet again, or is death truly the end? Was it fate that we met? Fate that he died? I’ve been finding comfort in the thought that he is at peace, but what if he isn’t? What if he’s feeling as split apart as I am?

Will he recognize me if we ever meet again? Will he be proud of what I become? He helped make me the woman I am today, but what’s it all for? Where am I going? And why? It does seem as if my life is a quest for truth, for understanding, but what’s the point? I suppose the journey is the point, but still, at the end of a quest story, the hero returns with the magic elixir. She has a purpose for what she’s gone through. Do I have a fate, a purpose? But what about him? What was his purpose? I try to make sense of his death, but how do you make sense of something senseless?

How do I find meaning, or at least a reason to continue living? Do I need a mate in order for my life to have meaning?

Can a person drown in tears? Yesterday someone told me that life on earth was an illusion and so my mate still exists. But if life is an illusion, why couldn’t it be a happy figment? A joyful one? What’s the point of pain? Of loss? Of suffering? Why did he have to suffer? Why do I? Do I have the courage to grow old alone? The courage to be old alone when the time comes?

Why do we cling so much to life? In the eternal scheme of things, does it matter how long or short a life is? Does it matter that he only had sixty-three years? Does it matter that he was alive? What is the truth of life and death? If he’s in a better place, why aren’t I there? If life is a gift, why was it taken from him?

Is there anything universally important? Love, perhaps, but not everyone loves or is loved. Creativity? But not everyone is creative. Truth? But what is truth? Is the human mind, with its finiteness, capable of understanding the truth? If nothing is universally important, does anything matter? Maybe it’s better to let life flow, to try to accept what comes, but isn’t the point of being human to try to make a difference? To try to change what is?

Supposedly, you can have a relationship with someone after they are dead, but it’s all in the mind, in memory. What’s the difference between that and fantasy? And how much of life is lived in the mind? All of it? All except the present? But even the present is lived in the mind since the mind (or rather the brain) takes the waves of nothingness and transform them into somethingness. So what is reality? The intersection of all minds?

I know there are no answers, I am simply . . . multi-asking.

6 Responses to “Multi-Asking”

  1. Bob Meeker Says:

    Wow Pat, so many questions and avenues to add to our already overworked minds (or what’s left of them), but all good questions to be explored as best we can. If we could some way obtain a guarantee that we would be with our soul mates again it would really take a lot of the pain away, but I’ve never seen one that everyone accepts as valid. I’m trying to read everything I can to cover all possibilities but, in the end, we are still left with many of the same questions you bring up.

    The life we have been left with I don’t even consider to be a life but more of an existence we have been saddled with. We get up in the morning and stumble through the chores because they have to be done by somebody and we are it. No sense of satisfaction or accomplishment like it used to be but rather just one more thing out of the way for now. I just hate what we have left and we can’t do much about changing it. Even if you are lucky enough to have someone close you can talk to about it, it’s not the same as it was when you could share it with your spouse, and it never can be the same again.

    Let’s hope we all can find some sort of peace as we travel down this never-ending road of grief.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Bob, as if the pain weren’t enough, as if feeling split apart and amputated isn’t enough, we’re plagued with all these questions. I know it’s part of the process, but still, I wish we didn’t have to go through it. Wish we knew they were safe and fulfilled.

      You’re right about there not being a consensus about what happens after death. One thing I’ve had to struggle with this past year is how very gone he is, how undoable death is, which leads me to believe that all those people who supposedly died and came back didn’t. They had some sort of mystical experience, perhaps, but it wasn’t death. Death is forever. My heart bleeds for all of us on this terrible journey.

  2. Jan Says:

    I believe the answers begin and end with your question, “What is reality?” To me, reality is what you make of the situation, whether it’s living in the world surrounding you or one of your own making or a combination of both. Mine is a combination of both. It’s the only way I can make sense of my separation from Dan and keep my sanity.

    The answers are whatever you believe at that particular moment, whatever will give you the most comfort (which is something you told me awhile back). I mostly believe Dan is still existing, but there are times I think we cease to be anything when we die. Death is a damn conundrum.

    Do any of us have a purpose or are we simply products of a random universe? Is there a purpose to our purpose? I believe in cause and effect, so, yes, I think we are purposeful creatures, but not beings with particular purposes. I don’t believe we’re “meant” to do something or other; I think we are the creators of purpose. Sometimes our “butterfly effect” won’t be seen for generations, long after we’re gone. Sometimes, though, you look back in tears and realize you could have changed fate. Conundrums, once again.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Jan, you’re right about death being a conundrum. When life makes sense, death doesn’t. When death makes sense, life doesn’t. When togetherness makes sense, aloneness doesn’t. When aloneness makes sense, togetherness doesn’t. Such thoughts are probably a waste of brainpower, but with him gone, this is all I’m left with—a mind circling endlessly upon itself with no one to stop the whirl.

      I used to believe there was nothing afterward, and for myself, that’s fine. Either way, when I’m gone, my pain will stop. But for him, I don’t want oblivion. I’d like to think of him living happily by some cosmic lake, being lulled by peaceful waters and gentle breezes, a cat asleep in his lap, but that is such a fantasy it dissolves before I can grasp hold of it.

      Such wise words: we are purposeful creatures, but not beings with particular purposes. We do need purpose. We can’t live without meaning, but perhaps that meaning isn’t innate. (Or fate.) Perhaps it’s what we create. Though your “butterfly effect” could from previous generations could cause what seems like fate.

      I often think such thoughts, and yet the main thought that overrides it all, is that no matter what I think he is still dead. Weird, huh?

      • Jan Says:

        Not weird at all; I feel the same way. It all boils down to your final statement: he is still dead. Nothing else holds weight in comparison.

  3. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Oh, Pat… so many questions! When a child asks the incessant “why?” we adults rarely have the kind of answers that they have the ability to comprehend, and sometimes we have to say, “Because that’s just the way it is.” And I think that’s true for us, too. If we believe in God, we ask him “why?” but our finite minds can’t possibly grasp the potential answers or know the wisdom born of his infinity. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9b] That’s when we accept the truth that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” [Hebrews 11:1] and even tho’ it’s hard, we take him at his word. He says there is a place in his “home” for all of us and that we will all meet there again, although the earthly relationships will no longer apply.

    When our daughter died I hunted out so many bible verses that spoke of the comfort God could give me. And even when my heart continued to ache, I knew he understood my pain, because his own son had died a horrible death. I found such reassurance in his invitation: “Come to Me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” [Matt. 11:28]

    I wish that kind of rest for you, and an acceptance that will allow you to set aside the unanswerable questions and live each day more at peace.

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