If you think I write about grief to elicit sympathy or to look for a shoulder to lean on, well . . . you just don’t get it.
As I’ve said so often, I started writing about grief to make sense of my own feelings, and I kept doing so as a rebellion against a society that reveres happiness at all costs.
Although I am a private person, not given to airing my problems in public, I thought it wrong to continue the charade that life goes on as normal after losing the one person who makes life worth living. So, over the past three years, I have made it my mission to tell the truth about grief. Even though I have mostly reached the stage of peace, and life is opening up again, at least a little bit, grief is still a part of my life. There is a void in my world — an absence — where he once was, and that void shadows me and probably always will. Although his death changed the circumstances of my life, thrusting me into an alien world, grief — living with it, dealing with it, accepting it — changed me . . . forever. It has made me who I am today and who I will become tomorrow — strong, confident, and able to handle anything that comes my way. (And maybe even a bit tough to deal with at times.)
Would I prefer to have him in my life? Absolutely. But that is not an option. All I can do, all any of us can do, is deal with what lies before us, regardless of a society that frowns on mourning.
But I don’t need sympathy, I don’t need you to bleed for me, and I don’t need your shoulder to lean on. So what if I’m unhappy? Does that diminish your happiness? If it does, then that’s your problem, not mine. And you miss the point of these grief blogs — to survive a horrifyingly grievous loss by finding my footing in an unbalanced and alien world.
I do want something from you, though. If you are still coupled, I want you to smile at your loved one tonight instead of kicking him or her in the shin as you might prefer to do. I want you pause to hug him or her, and maybe give an extra kiss. This is an incredible gift I am giving you — a memory to cling to if ever you should become one of us bereft.
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+. Like Pat on Facebook.