Trying to Fill The Void Of His Absence With Remembered Joy

All of a sudden, it seems, there have been changes in my life pertaining to my grief for my life mate/soul mate. For about a week after the Fourth of July, I endured a heavy upsurge in sorrow, but in its wake, I have found a semblance of peace midst the sadness.

Saturday was his birthday, and I started out the day feeling almost upbeat, gladder that he’d spent so many years with me than sadder that he is gone from my life. I’d never sung Happy Birthday to him when he was alive, so I sang to him out in the desert, where no one could hear. (Believe me, you do not want to hear me sing!) I planned to get a cake, too, but sometime that afternoon, the sadness returned. Next year, perhaps, I’ll bake a cake to celebrate his life.

I’ve also had some stray thoughts that indicate a shift in my perspective. A couple of days before his birthday, I found myself thinking, “He beat the system. He’s out of it now.” I don’t know where that idea came from because he didn’t beat the system. He didn’t have to grow elderly, but he was sick for so long it seemed as if he’d skipped a couple of decades of middle age and went straight to old age. But still, he is out of this life. He won’t have to worry about the coming changes in medical insurance or any other such foolishness, won’t have to watch himself age further, won’t have to continue suffering. Wherever he is (if he is) he is safe. And free.

To a great extent, our life together now seems unreal. I’ve been trying to live in the moment, and in the moment, he is not here. I’m still sad, still want to go home to him, still yearn to talk to him, but wanting such things seems to speak more of longing than of recollection, as if somewhere in the back of my mind I had conjured up a mate and a life and time of togetherness. But the truth is, if I had conjured up such a fantasy out of nothing but loneliness, I would have created happier memories. Too much of our life together was steeped in sickness and failure. Still, there were joys. The astonishing beginning of our relationship when he was radiant with youth and strength and health, the electricity of our long-lasting discussions, the sweetness of our final hug, the beauty of his smile, his wonderful gift of appreciation, his vast courage, and his determination to accomplish something each day despite his waning health.

I came across these words today from “Remembered Joy,” an Irish prayer:

I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.

He stayed as long as he could, and it would pain him to know that his death brought me so much sorrow. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fill the void of his absence with only remembered joy, but I’m continuing with my life, filling it with new experiences, and for now that’s the best I can do.

2 Responses to “Trying to Fill The Void Of His Absence With Remembered Joy”

  1. Vartan Agnerian Says:

    Miss Bertram’ I’m a newcomer to widowhood’ and a newcomer to your blogs’ and just having read a few pages’ I already can relate to so many of your grief stories and loss experiences’ feelings and thoughts you so clearly explain’ and all those day to day mental’ physical’ emotional roller coaster a widow faces’ and how only fellow grievers can relate to’
    After 44 years of married life and loving partnership’ it is so hard to adjust to this oneness’ to his forever absence’ to this deep grief’ this continuous heartache’
    The above mentioned Irish prayer is so touchingly accurate’ and through my tears and sobbing and soul screams’ the only tiny break I feel is when I look back ‘rewinding my mind’s video’ and screening all the good times’ all the fun couple times and family times ‘ all the romantic moments ‘ all the theatre and restaurant outings and vacations we were blessed with ‘ and I thank him again’ over and over for choosing me to share his life with ‘
    As I had read this phrase recently’ – ” Eventually you’ll be someone’s memory’ make it a good one ” -… and that he did …


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi, Laura. Call me Pat. Anyone who is suffering as loss such as you are, is already a friend — a sister in sorrow. I am so sorry about your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man and a loving husband. I’m glad you have the memories, but oh, memories are such a poor substitute.

      I’m sitting here trying to think of something comforting to say, but there isn’t. Just that I am here whenever you need to talk about what you are going through. Grief is such an isolating experience, that I’m glad my own grief can help in some small measure.

      Thinking of you, and sending you hugs.


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