Upsurges in Sadness Are Like Shortness of Breath After Exercise

I’m fine. Truly I am. For all of you who have expressed concern over my current upsurge in grief, I just want to tell you there is nothing to worry about. Upsurges in sadness do not in any way affect my life or my dealings with other people. They are just there, a fact of my life like shortness of breath after exercise. If I didn’t write about my feelings, no one would know about my times of sadness. There is so much bad advice given to people about grief, such as acceptable durations and ways of grieving, that I want to provide a counterpoint, and I wouldn’t do much good if I kept silent about what I happened to be feeling at any given moment.

Many people have told me that after the death of their husband, they never found happiness until they married again. People have told me that even after they got married, they still experienced upsurges in grief, sometimes years afterward. People tell me they never got over grief at the loss of a life mate, it just got different. The death of a cousin or even a brother doesn’t affect us the same way as the loss of a child or a soul mate, so the severity of the loss has to be taken into affect before you start wondering if someone is grieving inappropriately. Some people do fall in a pit of depression and cannot get out without help, but I am not one of them. Nor am I ruining my health by riding out the sadness. That’s what tears are for — to release the stress. Walking, exercising, and blogging also relieve the stress of trying to create a new life for myself out of the embers of the old one.

For me, an upsurge in grief usually comes right before or right after a new level of acceptance or a greater understanding. This latest upsurge began on Independence Day. It’s a day for families to get together, to have fun, to do whatever it is that families do when they get together, and I was alone. I understood that this could be the way holidays will be for the rest of my life, and I found it difficult dealing with the unwelcome understanding. Also, while walking in the desert recently, I’ve had several revelations that are helping me with my search to find a new focus for my life, and such forward motions bring on an upsurge of sadness because they take me further away from the past I shared with my deceased life mate/soul mate.

And anyway, even though I am no longer a child in the world of grief, I’ve not yet achieved full growth, either. Therapists who have studied grief and grievers admit that it takes three to five years to find your way back to life, and I am just past two years. I still have a long way to go. Besides, what’s a few tears among friends?

The truth is, though, I am more exhausted than sad. I’m tired of living in an alien world, tired of having to figure out where to go from here, tired of not feeling like me, but mostly, I’m tired of his being dead. Whether I continue to be sad or find happiness, whether I continue floundering of find new focus, he will still be dead. And absolutely nothing I do or say or feel will ever change that.

6 Responses to “Upsurges in Sadness Are Like Shortness of Breath After Exercise”

  1. fashioncircle001 Says:

    Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty article with me.

  2. Malene Says:

    Once again, thank you. Although,as you know, I am only 11 months in, I can easily imagine that this dreary road we are hoeing will continue to be, for me, very similar to all that you describe. I feel like I cannot tell you enough that your continued blogging on the subject is very helpful. I feel a smidgen less lost in the universe knowing that there are others out there who are feeling and thinking things so incredibly similar to what I, myself, think and feel. Every time I read your posts, It is as if you are putting eloquent, simple words to almost exactly what is going on in my head and in my heart. I wish I could give you a big hug!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Malene, all hugs are appreciated. I couldn’t have gotten this far without hugs (virtual and otherwise) from fellow bereft. Only we know the truth of this terrible journey. I was able to prepare myself mentally before hand, but in no way did my imaginings match the reality of what I felt after he died. Grief at such a heinous loss comes from somewhere so deep down I didn’t even know it existed.

      My posts make it seem as if I am in pain all the time, but I have come a long way from those early months of nonstop agony. I still do have upsurges of grief, of course, sometimes for a few days like this latest one, but often now they last only minutes. My biggest problem, as I said, is that I am tired of deal with all the life changes, tired of missing him, tired of his being dead. Maybe someday I’ll find a new focus for my life, so that his absence doesn’t loom as large, but so far, his absence still takes up a lot of space in my life.

  3. joylene Says:

    Oh heck, I weren’t worried. Honest.

  4. Vartan Agnerian Says:

    So grateful’ Miss Bertram’ that somehow I discovered your page and this blog ‘
    A widow of four months’ after 44 years of a devoted’ bygone days type traditional romantic marriage’ I’m battling all those upsurges of grief and tears and yearning and missing and heartache’ after seeing a Fred Astaire – Ginger Roger movie’ after hearing Tango or Tzigan music’ Charles Aznavour’ and Frank Sinatra’ Dean Martin songs’ after seeing all his preferred foods and desserts on a table’ after being in a group of cousins’ and realising I’m the widow in the group’ I’m the alone one’ without my loving husband by my side’ I’m the unpaired one’
    How clearly you explain that resignation and the ” unwelcome understanding ‘ that this is the way from now on …
    A very difficult transition into widowhood indeed !


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I am so sorry about your husband and your recent widowhood. Such a hard thing you are having to do. I don’t want to scare you, but you are at the beginning of what could be a long period of sorrow and adjustment. The only reason I am mentioning it at all is to let you know (as my blogs will tell you) that whatever you are feeling for as long as you are feeling it is normal. Take care of yourself as best as you can.

      Feel free to comment as you need to. I am always ready to “talk” to another person who is undergoing such a trauma.

      Wishing you peace.

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