After the Waiting Comes the Dread

So, no more 2011. I stayed awake until the year was officially over . . .  waiting . . .  but I felt no different when the clock hit 12:01 a.m. than I did at 11:59 p.m. It was the passing of a moment, that’s all. But this morning, I woke with a feeling of dread. I haven’t felt such a roiling since the months immediately following the death of my life mate/soul mate. I feel as if I’ve lost something precious that I can never get back, as if the world has changed in some unidentifiable way. I don’t know what that something is, though. It’s not the loss of 2011 — those are just numbers. It’s not the loss of my mate — he already died and cannot die again.

Perhaps it’s the past that I’ve lost? All that’s left for me now is today, and the rest of my today’s, however many there will be. (And considering the age my mother was when she died and the age my father is today, I could have a LOT of days.)

Perhaps it’s that irrational hope of reunion that I’ve lost? For a long time, I had the feeling that if I am strong, if I pass the test of living without him, if I face life with hope, then I will be able to go back home to our shared life. That feeling was very strong at the beginning, and I was careful to deal with all the challenges that grief brought me. But he never came back, never called, and of course, he never will, not in this life anyway (and this life is the life I am living).

Perhaps it’s the sense of togetherness that I’ve lost? During the months since his death, I’ve often felt as if this were still our life — his and mine — with the tasks of living now solely my responsibilty.  But the truth is, this is my life, and my life alone. He’s not here to help, to listen, to care. (I talk to him, especially when I am out in the desert, but so far he’s keeping silent.)

Despite all my losses, I hope I will be able to face the coming years and the coming changes in my life with courage and hope and generosity of spirit. I am in a transitional stage, and someday — perhaps before I’m ready — I’ll have to figure out where to live, what to do, how to grow old alone.

But for now, today, all I feel is dread.

11 Responses to “After the Waiting Comes the Dread”

  1. careann Says:

    You’re never alone, Pat! For one thing, you have an abundance of friends to support you. For me as I get older, there’s an increasing awareness of time gone, never to be regained, and that’s always reinforced when a new year arrives. There’s the inevitable looking back to evaluate how I made use of the time I’ve already had on this earth, accompanied by reminiscing and sometimes regret. But since we can’t turn the clock back, the new year is also a time to experience hope. I don’t make NY’s resolutions, but I understand why many people do — desiring to improve their situations as they move ahead into their futures.

    May 2012 bring the lightness of hope to offset your dread, and fresh faith to provide reassurance that you will indeed be reunited with your dear one again in the final days.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Luckily New Year’s eve and day have passed, so I can go back to simply living in the day. Thank you for the new year’s wishes. I hope the new year is good to you. Thank you for your continued support. Who knew I’d still be having grief upsurges at this late date?

  2. Deborah Owen Says:

    I know you’ve lost all those things and more but the one thing you didn’t mention is the TIME you’ve lost. The here and now kind of time – the reality of a “today” that you are not joined with – the today that everyone else around you is living in. You’re here, but you’re not here. Maybe you’re struggling to fill the “old position” of life, which can never happen. As a full grown adult, you were born anew about 21 months ago. You’re an infant struggling for survival. Struggling to create a new reality you can exist in. You’ll make it. You’re a strong woman. Thank you so much for sharing. You have such insight and wisdom. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist answering such a sweet heart’s plea.)

  3. Mary Friedel-Hunt Says:

    Well, like you, I know I am alone. No one has me at the top of their priority list any longer. Friends are great…do not know what i would do without them…but bottom line…when push comes to shove…everyone I know has someone else at the top of their list. That means I am alone. I don’t feel dread today. I am numb. I do not feel connected to much of anything. I found myself roaming in a Walmart today, the only thing open in rural America…sadly but luckily for me as I needed to get some food in for a friend dropping by with her two kiddies in the morning. I roamed in numbness….almost oblivious that this is a holiday and that is why the store was all but empty. I am detached today…sad in spite of that detachments. Not a great way to live…

    • Joy Collins Says:

      Mary, you have nailed it. Despite whatever kind of support system we build for ourselves in this new life we have had foisted on us, the bottom line is we are no one’s priority any more. And frankly, no one is mine either. John and I were the most important people in the world to each other. I trusted him with my body, mind, and soul and I know he felt the same way with me. There will never be another relationship like that again for me. Every day I yearn to be back with him – if not in this life then I want the next life to start now. I have never truly understood a person’s desire for suicide before now. I won’t go down that road myself but I understand it. This weekend has hit me harder than I expected and I am glad I have had all of you to reach out to.

  4. Cathy "Elaine Garverick" Gingrich Says:

    Dread and fear can be conquered. Determine in your heart and mind to refocus the energy spent on your love into a positive, present-day project, or realizing in yourself a new passion, or making a difference in someone’s world. There are endless possibilities, but they all require getting outside of yourself–breaking the chains of bondage to the past.

    I think the outlet you’ve given me, your website, to get some exposure for my book has been a generous, selfless act. It made me feel great to have a published writer to take some interest in my work. I know from reading comments that you have many friends and fellow writers who want the very best for you. Everyone is pulling for you to reinvent your life, not drag the old one behind you. It is not betrayal to him to go on. It’s what he’d want.

  5. Yaya Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss; the loss of your dear loved one an’ the loss of that hope that he will return. I felt so much heartache when I read today’s entry an’ I jus’ wanted to reach out an’ hug you. I know you hardly know me, but please un’erstan’ that there is at least one other person who shares your sorrow.

    Actually, I jus’ finished reading the comments left by others an’ I was reminded that you are important to many more people than you may be aware of. You are important to me an’, although I haven’t said much previously, you have found a permanent place in my prayers an’ in my heart. Hang in there. I know that ours is not the love you wish for, but we do love you an’, as the previous person said, we are all pulling for you to reinvent your life, with your loved one tucked cozily in your heart.

    ~ Yaya

  6. Starting the Year With a Feeling of Dread | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] a post I wrote six years ago, I mentioned that I was starting the year with a feeling of dread. Back then, I didn’t know what brought on the feeling, but I have the same feeling this year, and […]

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