It’s been three years, three months, three weeks, and three days since the death of my life mate/soul mate. With all those threes, this should be a mystical day, but it’s a day like any other. I’m not especially grieving, though I’m not ungrieving, either. It’s just me and my normal underlying sadness, my missing him, my wondering about the future.
I’m to the point where I need something more, something beyond the bleakness of my daily life, but that “something more” comes in small doses and is not enough to sustain me. I take quick trips, go out to lunch occasionally, write a little, go walking in the desert. Although my 96-year-old father is doing well and is still quite independent, I am on a short leash (or at least it feels that way) since he likes having someone around in case of emergency.
But, that is just an excuse. The truth is, I don’t know what to do and wouldn’t know what to do even if I weren’t here looking after my father. I’d travel, of course, but it seems to me that taking an extended trip by myself would be terribly lonely and perhaps even feel pointless. I drove by the ocean the other day and couldn’t think of a single reason to stop. I’ve been to the ocean, so it wasn’t anything new. Just a lot of water. (In my defense, it was very late and I was very tired.)
I try to be upbeat, try to believe in endless possibilities (because of course, that is the nature of the universe), but I don’t yet see those possibilities in my daily life. I try to think differently, to feel differently, to open myself up to change, but I’m always just me. Alone. Waiting.
Maybe things will be different when I’m totally alone, when I am free of responsibilities, but I no longer know if that will make a difference. I feel self-indulgent at times even mentioning any of this, considering what terrible lives some people are forced to live, but I can’t live any life but my own. And my own feels empty.
If it sounds as if I’m feeling sorry for myself, there’s perfectly good explanation for that. Today I do feel sorry for myself. I have managed to get through three years, three months, three weeks, and three days since his death, and I will continue managing, but I wish I wanted something, was in love with something, felt something besides ever-fading sorrow.
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.
July 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Pat, you are singing my song. Life is meant to be shared. And yes, you are sharing your life in some respects with your father but it’s not the same thing. I too am sharing my life with friends but the best friend, the friend who means the most to me is no longer here physically. Everything has a veneer of happiness like no other when we share it with our soul mate. Others may disagree. They might criticize us for feeling “less than” because our mates are not here but that is them, not you, not me. There was a sense of home, of family, of joy when John was here. Now it’s just me and things are just pointless, as you said. I do not expect this to change. I do not have the yearning for another person to share my life with in that way. I am resigned to living out my days alone. I’ll be OK. But it won’t be the same and for that I grieve as well.
July 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm
I’m getting resigned to living out my days alone, too, but sometimes it seems just too hard. I know he couldn’t have stayed — he was too sick and in too much pain — and in some ways I think he died to set me free, but free for what? I still don’t know. And yes, he was my home. Even though I’ve been here at this house for three years, it in no way feels like home. I feel as if I am camping on the edges of life.
As always, wishing you peace.
July 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm
I lost my “forever” love in October, 2010, and this is the best description I have read or heard of exactly how I feel. I know that my few friends and my family do not grasp how I am feeling most days. I do have a lot to be thankful for, but the loneliness is unbearable at times. I can have family and friends around, but the loneliness is still lurking there around me all the time. I married my love when I was 18 years old and he was 21……we had just over 47 years together before his passing, which was very unexpected……a massive stroke. I am getting better as time goes by, but how does one not live in the past missing my old and favorite life. I feel at times that I am just waiting……for what? I just keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, and find some days I walk faster than others. Thank you for expressing yourself as I could not do any better job of describing my feelings.
July 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm
There are so many of us living in the shadow of loss and dealing with loneliness. I hope you find peace and even a bit of happiness as you count down to your three year anniversary of grief.
July 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm
It’s been some time now Pat but I just had to comment on this post because it hit so close to home. It also arrived on the day which would have been our 57th anniversary and, after a trip to the cemetery today, I was really in rough shape. I lost my soul mate on December 4, 2010 and I thought I would be much better by now, but I see I’m certainly not alone in my despair. Many of my feelings mirror that of Janice (above) and reading her entry was almost like explaining how I feel. Thanks for allowing us to experience your thoughts and ideas and lets hope that peace will eventually find all of us so that we may enjoy whatever time we have left in this lonely existence.
July 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm
I’m glad to hear from you, Bob. This is so much harder than I ever expected. It’s good to know I’m not alone.
July 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Thanks for sharing your blog
July 22, 2013 at 4:11 am
Right there with you Pat. Lately I have been having flashes of me in my old age as one of those old people that lives alone, with no life. Although, that pretty much describes my life today. I don’t know what to hope for, or to look forward to. Or even what to do besides get thru each day.
July 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm
Yep, me too, Holly. I don’t know how to avoid that seeming inevitability.
July 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm
the hello’s are heart thumping and the goodbyes are heartbreaking…I’m sure he’s with you – look for him behind every closed door, in the lyrics of an old song, in the page of a book, in a penny on the ground or a bird lingering on a branch- he’s with you everyday take him to to the ocean and find a shell – hear him whisper carry on my love – life is short- enjoy what’s left for the two of you – find your bliss – live your passion for two.
July 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm
That’s beautiful. Thank you. I wonder if I ever will find my bliss. Or passion.
June 29, 2018 at 4:10 am
After reading this blog including comments, I have a question for you. Will you include sucidal thoughts,ideation or statistics on actual occurrence in your new book. I think it is the elephant in the room.
June 29, 2018 at 9:03 am
Definitely. Suicide among bereavers is much higher than the norm. Death of all causes is higher — 25% higher, and the suicide rate seems to be about the same. Among younger widows/widowers, it’s most common after the sudden death of the spouse. Among older widows/widowers, it’s most common after the death from a long illness. Then later, it’s the loneliness that gets older folks. Thoughts of suicide, I imagine, visit all of us at one time or another. It’s just so hard!
June 29, 2018 at 9:20 am
I reread this blog, and found it interesting that the next week is when I found the dance studio.
June 29, 2018 at 5:58 am
If you google You Tube ” lonliness elderly” a huge number of videos come up. Oddly, in more than three years of grief it is the first time I have ever done it. Here is one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifFTesA-DHQ
June 29, 2018 at 9:11 am
Loneliness in the elderly is a huge problem. The partner dies, and then . . .