Excerpt From “Grief: The Great Yearning” — Day 112

I never actually set out to write a book about grief, never planned to make any of my writing public (except for the blog posts, of course), but I was so lost, so lonely, so sick with grief and bewildered by all I was experiencing, that the only way I could try to make sense of it all was to put my feelings into words. Whether I was writing letters to Jeff (my deceased life mate/soul mate) or simply pouring out my feelings in a journal, it helped me feel close to him, as if, once again, I was talking things over with him. The only problem was, I only heard my side of the story.  He never told me how he felt about his dying and our separation. Did he feel as broken as I did? Did he feel amputated? Or was he simply glad to be shucked of his body, and perhaps even of me?

It’s been three years now since the following piece was written. The wound where he was amputated from me has healed. I don’t worry about him — at least not much — but I still miss him, still feel as if I’m waiting for my life to begin. And though I don’t feel as scattered,  I understand more than ever that wherever I am, there I am.

Excerpt from Grief: The Great Yearning

Day 112, Grief Journal

I’m going through a numb phase right now. I only cried briefly yesterday. That came after I finished watching the Paul Hogan/Michael Caton movie Jeff taped—Strange Bedfellows—and I realized I’d never watch movies with him again.

Cry, not cry. Feel, not feel. It’s all the same. Just different aspects of grief. One thing they’re right about. This is WORK! I’m tired, have little energy, don’t seem to be able to think or to do anything but the most basic chores. And I can’t make myself believe anything is important. I’m still waiting to get a grip on my grief. Still feeling as if I’m in a transitional stage, waiting for my life to start.

Except that I had a life. We had a life.

People talk about “healing” when it comes to surviving a death, and it’s as good a term as any. It does seem as if the wound where Jeff was amputated from me is still bloody and gaping, though it is “healing” somewhat. It’s not as constantly raw as it was at first.

I always felt scattered when we were apart, worried about something happening to one of us when the other wasn’t there. Well, something did happen. And I was there. Now it’s just me. Wherever I am, there I am, but I still feel scattered. Fragmented. As if parts of me are strewn all over the universe. There’s no reason to worry about him, but I still do.

Click here to find out more about Grief: The Great Yearning


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.

2 Responses to “Excerpt From “Grief: The Great Yearning” — Day 112”

  1. Terry Jean Allard Says:

    I just read this blog and the line “as if, once again, I was talking things over with him” in reference to your writing caught my eye. At 3 years 2 months my secondary losses are significant. People who helped or maintained contact either alot or a little are gone. Exception is my children and niece. (A program note: I try NOT to make my adult children into my girlfiends or best buds…I think that is inappropriate for a number of reasons out of the scope of this writing).I am the most hurt by two very long term friends whom I have known for for 30 and 57 years respectively. I needed a person to talk with/to and they were both there for me through my first year…most of the way through my second but now unless, I call them it is weeks even months between get togethers( and even then I make the contact). I feel I have tried to still be a compassionate,empathetic,interested friend to them throughout my grief….not center everything on myself. My topics of conversation were sharing concerns and joys which Ron was no longer here to hear. I know I was offering reciporicating listening to their life story chapters. I feel foolish making a call anymore since neither get in touch..guess I just don’t feel their particularly interested. Actually, if either called today I wouldn’t share much because I know it would be a long haul before my next “drink”. I assume they discuss their big life events with a circle of people with whom they maintain constant contact…sisters,church friends,walking group, husbands are all enough for them…supply and demand has worked against me. I badly need a “discuss things over person” and if they weren’t going to fullfill that role…if they were in essence going to die…I wish they’d never teased me from the start.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Although people seem to think that all grief is equal (whether the death of a pet or parent, a neighbor or your soulmate), it’s simply not true. The problem when your husband is gone is that not only do you lose him and all the roles he played in your life: lover, best friend, confidant, emotional support, someone to do nothing with, someone to talk things over with, you also often lose things like income, friends, your place in the world. It is simply too much. It’s amazing to me that any of us survive this.

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