Grief Update — Two Years and One Month

Grief continues to confound me. It is now two years and one month after the death of my life mate/soul mate. I would have thought I’d have moved beyond grief’s ability to disquiet me, but I still have times where tears rush in to fill the void he left behind.

Some of my grief now is the poking-at-a-sore-tooth-to-see-the-extent-of-the-pain kind rather than the overwhelming agony and angst of the first year. There are still sore spots, most notably the obvious one — that he is dead. I cannot fathom death. My mind just cannot work itself around the conundrum of a once living person being so very gone from this earth. And there is the corollary murmuring deep in my psyche, “and someday you will be gone, too.” But . . . gone where?

When my grief was new, I often wandered in the desert crying out in desperation, “Where are you? Can you hear me?” I don’t call out any more, though I still wonder where he is, if he is, what he is. I envy those who believe without a doubt that their deceased loved ones still exist and that they will see them again because I have no such constant belief, though I do have flickers.

One of the many paradoxes of my grief is that I hope he still exists somewhere, but for myself, I’d be okay with oblivion. Is his death worse for me if he still exists somewhere beyond my ability to connect with him? Or is it worse if he is completely deleted except for a spark of indestructible non-conscious energy? Either way, he is gone out of my life. Either way, I have to deal with the mysteries of death, love, grief, and what the heck am I going to do with the rest of my life?

I met my life mate when I was young and believed in fate and destiny and a mystical connection with the universe. I subscribed to the belief that when the student is ready, the master will appear. And he appeared. He was so radiant, it seemed to me he was a higher being come to earth to help me on my life’s quest. In the few ups and many downs of our shared life, I forgot that feeling. And no wonder — as he got sicker and sicker, his radiance dimmed and all but went out.

During that last year, when he could no longer carry on a two-sided conversation, he would lecture me on what I should do after he was gone. He kept saying, “Listen to me. I won’t always be here to teach you.” I didn’t accept that his dying was imminent, so these lectures aggravated me, as if he thought I was so stupid I couldn’t live on my own. (I’d give anything to hear one of those “lectures” again. How could I not have treasured every word?) But the point is, apparently, deep in his subconscious, he believed what I had once believed, that he came here to be my teacher.

There is not a single question (except the unanswerable ones such where he is and if he is) that has arisen in the past twenty-five months that I didn’t know the answer to. We had discussed everything, sometimes all day, day after day, year after year. He took me as far as he could, imparted his wisdom, and left.

If there is any truth to this scenario, rather than being the rather romantic idea created by a bereft woman grasping hold of life any way she can, then the question of what I am going to do with the rest of my life takes on even greater significance. What is so important about me and my life that this radiant creature would share half his lifetime and all of his long and painful dying with me? I suppose that is what I am left to find out.

10 Responses to “Grief Update — Two Years and One Month”

  1. Karen Rigley Says:

    Pat, I do believe that life doesn’t just end, that our spirits continue on & that we’ll be reunited with our loved ones once more. Soulmates means just that. Right now you feel lost and in a sense abandoned, but he crossed the veil to the other side & some day you will be with him again. Sharing a poem of mine with you:
    I cannot bid goodbye
    my earth-departed mate.
    Love unites our spirits
    sealing eternal fate.

  2. mlfhunt Says:

    I thought of you today, of course, as we both knew it is the 27th and another small anniversary of our losses. These 27th s do not feel as huge as they once did…every day feels like an anniversary… actually… with the 27th being a marker. As you know I do believe Bill is right here with me…his consciousness/spirit. I wish that for you if it would ease your feelings about what dead means. We are both now looking at the rest of our lives…a huge question for me and one I plan to spend some time with in the next many months. I wish we did not share this date..but glad we do…if that makes sense. Peace, Pat.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yesterday was a bad day, for some unfathomable reason, but today I muddled through okay. I’m trying to be more aware of the positive aspects, such as he would have hated lingering for all these months as a helpless invalid. Of course, that raises the question of why he had to suffer in the first place, but since he did, it’s good that his suffering is over.

      To be honest, even when I do believe that he still exists, I don’t believe I’ll see him again. I think he’s gone to some higher high plane. Weird thoughts.

      And yes, you do make sense about sharing this date. It’s good to know that someone is following the same path, one that started on the same day.

  3. May You Find Some Comfort Here Says:

    I lost my mom this past semester of college. It is agonizing. I was always taught that no matter what I did, there was another way. A way out if you needed, and a better way if you so wanted. But there is no way out of this. And it continues to astound me how infinite it all is. I get through everyday by telling myself “Just make it until tomorrow.” When I finally reach tomorrow, I pride myself on how many days I’ve survived, yet there are so many more before me. I know that I should enjoy them for my mom’s sake, yet her absence eliminates that very possibility. It is a strange and vicious cycle that I can’t wrap my head around.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That is the problem with grief. We think there should be a way around it, but it’s not like you can replace your mother as you do a lost ring or a lost job. She is always going to be gone. I don’t think our brains are wired to understand that. All we can do is what you’re doing — get through one day and then another.

      I am so sorry for your pain.

  4. mickeyhoffman Says:

    I have a hard time telling someone not to feel bad when they feel bad. I think that’s maybe why my students liked me. I let them feel bad but I just tried to get them to think about how they felt in a constructive way. It’s amazing how humans have invented mythologies to deal with the loss of loved ones, going back into deep time. There are no written records but the physical remains of rituals still exist. At the same time, people will always say things that boil down to “get over it.” Well, if that was so easy, why all the stories about everlasting life, another plane which is exactly like this one for the dead, a promise of being reanimated, reincarnation, a soul that never dies, etc., etc. etc. I realize those things are comforting for some people. Oh well.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Creating mythologies could be the only way to deal with something our brains are not wired to understand. In a way, I am creating my own personal mythology by thinking he came here to take me as far as he could on my journey through life. The truth is probably far more prosaic though just as ununderstandable. We live. We die. I don’t know what either of those mean. If death makes sense, life doesn’t. If life makes sense, death doesn’t. Maybe mythology is the only way we have of correlating two such impossible ideas.

  5. leesis Says:

    I think these questions are so important Pat yet we spend most of our life avoiding them. Trying to figure out death and post death existence is surrounded with difficulty and yet as far as I’m concerned essential to our understanding of life. I think perhaps life and death make perfect sense as a united experience if only we could percieve it from a wider (?…wider is not quite the right word but not sure what word to use) perspective. I listened to some scientist talking the other day of how much of the light spectrum is invisiable to the human eye simply because the human eye is limited in its capacity to see. And that’s just our eye! On the one hand it drives me nuts at times that my physical self is limited in its capacity to percieve the true depth of human experience but at the same time it gives me some comfort to know that there is more there than I can even imagine. Nor should imagination…mythology, theology etc be ignored for I think that imagination is yet to be understood and is imperative to understanding life/death existence.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      One of the many questions I’ve been struggling with is why should I write in a world where there are vastly more books than readers, but you’ve just given me a reason — to help develop my imagination.

      Grief seems to be like a borer beetle, digging deep into one’s psyche, allowing for a bit wider view of life and death. With the huge hole gouged in my psyche now, maybe there is a thinner crust between what we can perceive and what is really out there.

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