Grief Update

I haven’t been posting any grief updates lately because I haven’t had much to tell. There has been no great pain or sorrow, no major traumas or dramas, no new adventures to undertake — just living my every day life of quiet sadness and loneliness.

Although I haven’t had any major grief upsurges for a while, I do often think of my deceased life mate/soul mate, even talk to him. Oddly, now that the agony of grief has mostly subsided, it feels as if he is back at home, waiting for me to finish my present tasks and return to him. I know he isn’t there, of course, but without the pain to simultaneously bind us and separate us, he doesn’t feel quite so gone.

I am still very confused by death. How can he be dead? Where is he? Is he? Perhaps he is waiting for me, perhaps he is simply gone . . . deleted. I won’t know until my life is ended, and perhaps not even then. Whatever exists beyond our cloak of materiality and physicality, beyond our brains and our minds, might have consciousness, or might simply be pure energy that returns to the Everything.

I’ve never known where to put his death in my head. I can’t be glad about it, yet at the same time, he couldn’t have continued to suffer. But more than that, if he is in a better place, why I am still here? And if life is a gift, why was it denied him? I’ve held on to the idea that dying relatively young was unfair to him, that he is missing something, and a lot of my grief was on his behalf, but the other night I realized it truly doesn’t matter whether we are alive or dead. Well, his death matters to me, but it doesn’t matter to the universe, and it probably doesn’t matter to him. Nor does my continued life matter in the vastness of life/death. A few years extra of life is but a dandelion seed in the winds of time. Almost totally matterless. Maybe even meaningless. In which case it truly doesn’t make any difference that I am alive and he is dead. (Well, except for the part where I miss him, but this insight wasn’t about that.)

Even if life is largely matterless and meaningless, I am still alive and at least for now, that does make a difference to me and those I am in contact with. But it’s good knowing I neither have to be glad nor sad for him, that I can continue to live without feeling bad that he is dead. Knowing this also makes it easier to remember him, to recall what we had, to celebrate his place in my life. I am still sad, of course, and maybe I always will be. I miss him, wish desperately for one smile, but gradually I am letting go of my worries for him. He doesn’t need them, and they are an unnecessary relic of our life together. And for all I know, he could be perfectly content, sitting by some cosmic lake, two ghost cats purring in his lap.

Someday, as my grief continues to wane, I might even get to the point where I find renewed life, but I still take comfort where I can find it, and for now I take comfort in thinking that life and death are somehow one.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense 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.” All Bertram’s books are published by Second Wind Publishing. Connect with Pat on Google+

9 Responses to “Grief Update”

  1. M.B. Chandler Says:

    You are right. Somehow along the way we got the idea that death separates us, that it is different than life just because a soul no longer inhabits a body. I think that we have that concept so tight inside our heads that we don’t hear our loved ones after they transition. If we paid attention we would see them in our dreams, our memories, and our lives. Once someone comes into our lives we are changed forever and even though their presence seems to fade they remain. We are fools if we think that they have “gone” somewhere. The relationship won’t be the same because the same things won’t matter to him now or to you. Life constantly moves and we have to move with it. That doesn’t mean that the road ends.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I once heard someone say that grief is the result of the mind and body getting used to the absence of someone. It takes longer for some than for others. I’d say that although you’re not happy you can’t spend the rest of your life with your love/soul mate, you’re at least moving through that process where the loss of him isn’t that much of a shock anymore. I’m happy for you because of that.

  3. Dellani Oakes Says:

    I’ve never lost my soul mate/ life mate, but I did lose my father. I still feel him with me every once in awhile. Not as often as I used to, but he’s still there to correct my grammar and spelling when I mess up. He’s the editing angel on my shoulder.

    When I went to a funeral a week ago, my dad was there with me. I don’t know why, but he came along for the ride. I wasn’t there because I was so very close to the deceased, I was there because his step-son has been my son’s close friend most of his life. I was also there because my son could not. I had no idea it would affect me as deeply as it did. It was a beautiful way to say goodbye.

    Vestiges of those we’ve loved and lost stay with us. I don’t know if it’s simply a memory or a lingering bit of energy that connects us. My father has been gone for nearly 30 years, but I felt him very strongly at that service. Strange, isn’t it? I still miss him, but it doesn’t hurt as much as it did right at first. Eventually, time dulls the pain, but it never quite goes away.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      A lot of people feel their deceased loved one’s nearness, but I’ve never felt Jeff’s presence. If he still exists somewhere, I think he is far removed from here, doing something vastly more important that watching over me. At least, I hope he is.

      • Dana Morgan Says:

        I wish I could feel my late husband’s presence. It’s been over 2 years and…nothing. I thought it was because I was angry, but I’m not angry anymore and still…nothing. I just bought your book, “Grief: The Great Yearning”, so here I go!
        Get back with you soon!

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Dana, I hope the book helps, at least to the extent of knowing that someone else has felt something similar to what you did.

          I don’t know why some people continue to feel the presence of their spouse. I don’t even know any more if it’s a good thing — if we need to find a new way of living, knowing they are waiting for us might hold us back. But what do I know. I’m just another woman struggling to continue on alone . . .

  4. the_tovarysh_connection Says:

    It is the ‘not knowing’ that brings so much pain and suffering, for we in our humanness want/need to have an explanation for everything. And I suppose that is where faith comes in. What I want to say is that great emotional pain can cloud our perceptions and sensitivity. We have to shut those off because it just hurts so much. But I suspect, that as the acute grief lessens, you will begin to feel your soulmate’s presence more b/c his essence is always with you. And you can better celebrate his life as it intertwines with yours, first on a physical level, and still now, on a different level. Just trust your intuition, your dreams, as you move through the grief process. You may be surprised at the joy both bring you in the coming days as you realise that the connection is still there, its just wearing a different cloak.

  5. Linda Pennington Says:

    I have got your book and began reading it today. I read the first month and the insight that you have is so great because those are the feelings that I have now after 18 months. I can relate to so much that you say. I have very definitely lost my identity as Jim was my identity and I was so proud to be Jim’s wife. He taught me so much and I feel that is why I can function now because of the strong, wonderful person he was. I think your thoughts are so much of what I feel. I know I have to create a life with just me eventually but it is so very hard without him here to help me. Thank you for the writing of the book. I think I told you we camped in Ouray a lot over the years. Such a beautiful place. We probably crossed paths at one time or another. I hope that someday I can accept or get over the loneliness that is so strong in my life now. I miss and love him so very much.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Accepting the loneliness is hard. After three years, that loneliness still eats at me. The awful irony of grief is that the one person who could help us get over the loneliness is the very person we are grieving. As silly and as irrational as it sounds to others not in our position (because of course he didn’t have a say in the matter), I keep telling myself that he wouldn’t have died if he didn’t think I could do this.

      I’m glad you are finding comfort or at least an echo of your own thoughts in the book. People assume grief such as ours is entirely emotional, but it is so vast that it is also physical, spiritual, mental, and psychological. It makes us rethink everything we thought we knew about ourselves and the world, all the while dealing with unimaginable pain.

      Wishing you peace and a new life.

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