My Own True Grit

I started watching True Grit today, but had to stop because I couldn’t see the screen for all the tears. My deceased life mate/soul mate and I lived not far from Ridgeway where True Grit (1969) was filmed, and the scenery in the movie made me homesick, not just for the Rockies, which formed the backdrop of my life, but for him. As the movie played, I could almost hear his voice telling me about the filming of the movie, and I could almost feel the soft cool air of Colorado wafting through the open window.

Sometimes I have the urge to settle near there again when my responsibilities to my father end. The air would feel familiar. The light would be soothing to my eyes. The mountains would offer comfort and perhaps protection from harsh winds. But then what? I’d be alone with the mountains, and mountains, no matter how welcome or familiar, can’t offer companionship. Without my mate, I’d still feel lonely, still feel as if I were homeless, because he, of course, was my home.

In Figuring Out Where to Go From Here, I realized I didn’t have to settle anywhere, but could live on the go, writing as I went. It will be possible, at least for a while, especially if I can get some sort of crowd funding. And perhaps I will discover home within myself or even discover that the journey itself is home.

I haveMt. Lambornn’t been writing about this journey lately because my 96-year-old father is doing exceptionally well, so much so that it seems foolish to talk about my future since I might not be free of responsibilities for a long time. Besides, I don’t want my father or anyone else to think I am hurrying him off this earth. If the universe is unfolding as it should, then my soul quest (or at least the road trip part of the quest) will happen when the universe and I am ready.

Still, it is nice to know what I’m going to do when the time comes — put my stuff in storage and head out on my journey, broadening both my internal and external horizons. Since I want to live by whim, to relearn spontaneity and perhaps find serendipity, there really isn’t a lot of preparation for me to do in the meantime except to continue to get rid of that which is unnecessary so I can hit the road unencumbered by superfluous possessions, outdated issues, and useless notions. Eventually, I will need to prepare various giveaways and promotional materials, perhaps even a marketing plan, for visiting bookstores along the way, but now is not the time for planning but for dreaming.

The beauty of such a quest as the one I’m dreaming of is that if I am particularly homesick for areas where we lived, I could go and stay there for a while, recharge my soul’s batteries, and then continue on when wit, whim, and my own true grit dictated.


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.” Connect with Pat on Google+

9 Responses to “My Own True Grit”

  1. mfriedelhunt Says:

    Not only do we share an anniversary date (March 27, 2010) as you know but Bill and I lived just outside of Ridgeway, ate at the True Grit restaurant, prowled around those mountains, and no, I could not get through watching that movie either….no way. Grit defines this entire grief journey.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Grit sure is a necessary component of grief.

      As for the movie — It always struck me as odd but no one ever mentions Mattie’s grit (Kim Darby’s Mattie), and yet she is the grit of the movie, doing what she has to after the death of her father. That’s grit.

      • mfriedelhunt Says:

        I did not remember the story. I just remember the mountain range (Cinnemon Range) and scenery and the restaurant and area.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          I’ve been watching Jeff’s movie collection — it was always something I planned to do that first year, but I couldn’t watch them then, so I’m doing it now. Of all the movies that we watched together, and that I’m rewatching now, I would never has guessed that would be the one to set me off. But it just hit too close to home. I never thought I’d still be so affected by such things after three years, but I’m learning that certain things will always be painful.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    You know, in a strange way you’re like Jack Kerouac, Pat. The thing is, you’re traveling through life as you write, not through the various parts of the USA. But as you travel, I think you have more meaningful experiences than Kerouac might have had.

  3. 1writeplace Says:

    Pat, I just spent at least an hour with you and your grief journey. I lost my love to leukemia 4 years ago in August and am still in such pain. I’ve tried to hide from it, but it follows me. It was good to see a healthier way to grieve. Thank you for sharing your journey. Patti

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Patti, I am honored that you shared your pain with me. Grief is such a tough thing to have to deal with, but we do have to deal with it because as you say, it follows us. I am lucky — I had places where I could go to scream when the pain got to be more than I could handle; I was able to write about my pain, which helped; and I’ve met many people before me and after me on this journey who helped me get just a bit further. I am still sorrowful, still shed a few tears most days, but I’ve managed to move beyond that first raw pain. I hope you can find a way to face it, deal with all the issues of the past that grief shoves in your face, and find a bit of peace.

      If it’s any consolation, I’ve been told it takes three to five years on average for us to find renewal. (Renewal is a better term than “getting over it” bacause I doubt we ever do get over it, especially those of us who had to watch our loves die slowly in terrible ways.)

      I am here if you ever need to pour out your grief.

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