For more two and a half years, Saturday was a sadder day for me. My life mate/soul mate died late Friday night or early Saturday morning, depending on how you look at it, and often my mind/body saw it both ways, with an upswing of grief on Friday that grew to a crescendo on Saturday and didn’t dissipate until dawn on Sunday. Even if I paid no attention to the calendar, grief surged, which always mystified me — how could my body know when I didn’t?
Today is a double whammy — not only is it Saturday, but it is the 27th, the date of his death — but there doesn’t seem to be a great upsurge of sorrow on these days and dates anymore. My sadness is like an underground river running beneath my consciousness, and it doesn’t profoundly affect the hard-won peace of my days, though it does ripple and churn at times, most notably when I remember why he is out of my life. Death is too big for me to understand, and the thought of his being dead always brings tears to my eyes. Even now, after thirty-one months, I cannot bear that he is dead. Perhaps he doesn’t mind, but since he has yet to communicate with me in any way that I can comprehend, I don’t know how he is doing or even if he “is.” (Many people see butterflies or experience things that seem out of place or out of time, but I never have.)
Lately I’ve been posting articles about looking forward, about being me, about trying to open myself to surprises and the power of the universe, and sometimes I wonder if I’m just fooling myself (and you) with this pretense of being okay with my current state of affairs. I’m not okay with it, but I can’t undo death — not just his, but death in general — and so I try to act as if the universe is unfolding the way it should. And perhaps, in the final analysis, that’s all any of us can do — fake it until we make it. (Whatever “it” is.)
Maybe there is a special destiny waiting for me and that is why I am still here, even though I somehow always assumed death would pull me out of this world when it took him. Maybe my being here is nothing but a trick of genetics or a roll of destiny’s dice, but whatever the reason, I am still here. And he is not. It doesn’t seem fair, though I still don’t know which of us got the worst of the deal and which of us got the best. Could it be there is no worst or best? I don’t know, and probably will never know while I’m here on this earth. I can only act as if this is the best for me and go from here to wherever life might lead me.
Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+
October 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Pat of course you are not okay with it. And yet, it is what it is. I don’t think you are fooling yourself. Personally from what I’ve witnessed when it comes to losing life-time partners, after the roiling grief is done there are three choices…death, mini death or life. I have watched people, particularly elderly folk choose to die. The mini death is when folks keep living but numb themselves with substances or denial or whatever. There are far too many of them. And then there’s life. The one you’ve chosen. Acknowledging the agony of what has happened yet allowing hope that other happiness is possible and hence seeking, exploring, experimenting. Whilst I can’t know if there are wonderful things in your future Pat I do know for sure that you are in the right frame of mind to recieve them and I’m pretty sure that what we seek we find. xx
October 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm
As always, thank you for the affirmation that I am on the right track. Sometimes I worry about not being okay with his death (which is what people seem to assume “acceptance” means), but all I know is what is here. And he isn’t. That is always the crux of my grief.
I keep hoping that one day wondrous things will happen, and perhaps they will. If not, well, there are always the small miracles of a gorgeous day or a hug.
October 29, 2012 at 12:24 am
Pat how can any of us be okay with a loved one’s death? We don’t know anything about death, we have no control over it and it explodes our being. Acceptance is simply acknowledging his goneness and you do that. We all hope for wonderous happenings, but must remember to notice the smaller wonders of every day hey.
October 28, 2012 at 10:00 am
Your writing is so raw and beautiful. Thank you. Oh my Lord, just thank you.
October 28, 2012 at 10:02 am
I would also offer hugs. Yes.
October 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Thank you, Mimi. I appreciate all the hugs I can get.
October 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm
I too have many questions that remain unanswered. Even when faced with haunting revelations I’m no closer to understanding why death is so debilitating. I held someone’s hand when they were dying and felt an essence leave their body when they died. I don’t know if it was the last of their body temperature or oxygen. But something definitely left. It just seems improbable that this is all there is. So, I choose to believe in God. I don’t believe he’s someone with a white beard, but I do believe He connects us all together in thought. What I’m hoping is that after I die, I have a good laugh at how silly I was while I was alive.
October 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm
I offer hugs. Death is just plain hard. There is no way around it.
I don’t believe we are supposed to be OK with death. It is a disruption of the joining of soul and body and was not a part of the original creation. Choices have consequences. When humankind went against G-d’s best for them, one of the consequences is that death came into the world. Death was not just physical, it also brought a disruption in humankind’s spiritual connection with the Creator. Thankfully, the Creator’s love for us runs deep. That is why He spoke to His creation and why He sent a part of Himself as our Messiah to show us the way back to that connection with Him. When we are walking with the Creator, we no longer have to fear death. The sting is still there and it still hurts deeply to lose a loved one, but there is also a comfort that is like no other…a peace and wholeness (shalom) that is like no other. He walks with us through the griefs of death as we look forward to the time when death will be no more and all that will remain is eternal life with our Creator.