My Grief Book is One Step Closer to Publication

Grief: The Great Yearning is one step closer to publication. Today I received what might be the final copyedits. One of my fellow bereft volunteered to proof the book for me (actually, a mutual friend volunteered him, and he was kind enough to go along with the suggestion), and he turned out to be a phenomenal copyeditor. Found mistakes that all the rest of us missed. We don’t even have the excuse that we couldn’t see the words for the tears, since he had the same problem.

Very few people have managed to get through the book dry-eyed. Even though each person’s grief is different, there are enough similarities that this book speaks to everyone. It’s been called powerful, profound, exquisite, wrenching, raw, real. One woman wrote me, “I really like your book. When my husband died I devoured books about loss of spouse…maybe 30-40. The ones that were most helpful were similar to yours in that they recounted the journey. NONE were as complete as yours and that is what I wanted.”

Some people think the book will be best as a companion to those who are grieving. Some people think it will be best as a book to give their friends and relatives to help their loved ones understand what the bereft is going through. Some people think it should be required reading in classes for would-be therapists. Some people think it should be handed out to everyone whose spouse signs up with hospice so they are not shocked and bewildered when grief hits.

I never set out to write a book about grief. I merely cried out to an unfeeling void, looking for whatever comfort I could, trying to understand what had happened to him and me and our shared life. Apparently all that chaotic feeling ended up on paper, and now those emotions are tidily packed away into a book. Well, packed away until someone opens the book; then emotion explodes out of the binding.

Writing fiction comes hard to me. I have to drag every word out of my depths, but the words in this book came gushing forth. Of course, I was writing for me, not for others, and I didn’t have to create emotion out of nothing. I had emotion to spare.

Perhaps the time is right for this book. Perhaps it won’t mosey along like my novels, but will burn up the atmosphere when it takes off. Perhaps I really did write an important book. What a strange thought.

10 Responses to “My Grief Book is One Step Closer to Publication”

  1. Mary Friedel-Hunt Says:

    Pat, I am of the thinking that those who will benefit most are those in grief. I think until one experiences those gut wrenching God awful feelings one can hardly get it. I HOPE others will read it…and absorb some of it…therapists, friends and family of those in grief, those about to lose a spouse etc. I know that reading the stories that other women (primarily) shared about losing their anam cara helped me a lot after Bill died. Being one of those who is reading your book (almost done-I have to stop often for the tears-it is so close to my own journey for me since you and I share a common date of loss). I KNOW it will help many many people to know they are not alone. I wish I had read it right after Bill died….we need to somehow educate people about grief and your book is an important contribution to this massive undertaking.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Every time I start wondering if the book is perhaps too personal to publish, that it could make me too vulnerable, one of my grief-stricken friends will mention a comment from a loved one telling her to move on or get over it or stop being a drama queen that I renew my resolve to help educate people. I had no idea that grief such as we’ve experienced it was even possible, and apparently, most people don’t know until they experience it. Grief and what it does to a person is too important a topic to be continually shoved out of sight.

  2. Deborah Owen Says:

    Congratulations on your book, Pat. I’m utterly thrilled that you approach grief analytically. You’ve helped me understand things I didn’t know before. I’m not saying I understand what it’s like, but I’ve learned valuable things. For example, bleeding for other people is hard on my own health and profits no one. Maybe I needed that permission to hurt for people without letting their sorrow keep me awake all night. I’m still processing the things I’ve learned on this forum, but I know this – you’re going to make it. Still praying. Deb

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Deb, I never really approached grief analytically. I lived it and wrote what I lived. When you first lose someone who has been with you every minute of every day for thirty-four years, grief slams into you so hard, it’s all you can do is breathe. As the months passed, though, I was able to see a bit more of what I was going through. But at the beginning, it’s impossible to think or to see what mammoth is sitting on you.

  3. Robin E. Shirley Says:

    Deborah Owen suggested I visit here. I lost my husband in August. We were three months shy of 30 years together. I know it’s been five months, but I’m not sure I’m ready to interract on the subject. I will, however, look around the site, read posts and perhaps visit on other occasions. I think you’ve done something good here for many people.

  4. Lisa Says:

    It sounds a little weird to say, but I’m really looking forward to reading this.

  5. ~Sia McKye~ Says:

    I always liked that picture of you, Pat. Perfect for the cover. 🙂


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