A New Permutation Of Grief?

The months keep passing. Thirty-seven of them have come and gone since the death of my life mate/soul mate.

I never imagined I would continue to be so affected by his absence after all this time. And back at the beginning of this bereft life, I never imagined I would survive to this point. The pain and shock of new grief was so vast that it took my breath away. (Grammar Check has underlined that phrase “took my breath away” as being trite. They want me to change it to “astounded me.” Yes, the pain astounded me, but the truth is, it literally took my breath away. I remember gasping for air, unable to suck enough oxygen into my lungs to make them inflate.)

Even now, all these months later, the thought that he is dead still has the power to steal my breath.

I am doing as well as anyone who has lost the one person who connected them to the world, and perhaps a bit better — or worse — than some in my “grief age group.” (Though this is not a contest. We have all lost, and we keep on losing every day they are Low tidegone.) I can get through the days, sometimes quite peacefully. I am lonely, of course, and even more than that, I am lonesome for him, but still, I do okay. I keep busy, both online and off, and I am getting used to his absence. Sort of.

But . . . when I remember the reason that he is absent — that he is dead, gone from this earth, forever beyond the reach of my arms — I again forget how to breathe. I gasp for air that somehow doesn’t make it beyond the tears that are blocking my throat.

Tears always seem to be pooling deep inside, even when I am at my most content, and they spill over at the least provocation. I find myself crying at losses (my own and other people’s, especially if they have lost a soul mate). I cry at changes, including change of season. (I’m not crying because the seasons changed, of course, but seasonal changes create corresponding hormonal changes in the body, and those changes bring on the tears.)

And I cry at movies. I’ve been going through my mate’s movie collection, and it’s rare for me to get through an entire movie without tears. I cry when a character leaves, because it reminds me that he left. I cry when a character returns because it reminds me that he never will come back. I cry at the moments we used to turn to each other and smile in shared enjoyment. The last time I watched these movies, I watched them with him, and sometimes I weep when the movie is over, no matter what the ending, because never again will I watch it with him.

This oversensitivity and tears might be a new permutation of grief (others who have lost their mates around the same time I did are also dealing with this same tendency to weepiness). Or it could be that my grief has changed me in some fundamental way, and now tears are a way of life.

Whatever the reason, this hypersensitivity is just something else to deal with as the months — and years — of this grief journey slip by.


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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

7 Responses to “A New Permutation Of Grief?”

  1. mfriedelhuntMary Says:

    Pat, I want to say “ditto”. You speak for me, also. Mary

  2. Emily Says:

    This is making me tear up! You are in my thoughts – I wish you the very best!!

  3. Holly Bonville Says:

    Once again, you have said it better than I ever could.

  4. juliana Says:

    Pat, I believe that until you’ve loved and lost that person who is truly half of your whole, you can’t understand the fact that crying so hard and long in pain literally does take your breath away. When I go to my therapist and he takes me into the “rabbit hole” created by Ken’s death as well as the fact that I was already dealing with PTSD from another issue, I start crying so hard and long that I literally don’t breathe. He has to tell me, “Take a breath. Breathe deeply. Don’t continue until you’ve taken at least 5 long, deep breaths.” That is pain that takes your breath away, and there is no other way to express it. Anyone who thinks that statement is trite hasn’t had a hurt so bad that it truly took their breath away. Now I’ll tell you a phrase that is truly trite, but people keep using it…”at the end of the day”. I bet I hear that said at least 15 times every day. Tell you’re Miss Word Perfect to work on that trite phrase, and leave the other one to those of us daily and hourly have our breath taken away by the mental and spiritual anguish of losing our soul mate, our heart, our reason to go on living, the love of our lives, our husbands. So, using a trite phrase, at the end of the day, my husband is still gone, he’s not coming back in this life, I crawl into bed (our bed) every night and my heart aches just to reach over and kiss him good night.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      At the end of the day . , , even that trite saying has poignancy when used the way you did. At the end of they day, they are still gone, and we crawl into our lonely beds, and our hearts ache. I have a hunch that it will always be so, that we eventually learn to be happy alongside the sorrow.

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