I never actually set out to write a book about grief, never planned to make any of my writing public (except for 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 more than three years now since the following piece was written. I still don’t understand the purpose of pain, loss, suffering. Still don’t understand the nature of life or death. Still don’t know how energy can have cognizance, if in fact, consciousness survives death. The main difference is that 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 and I probably always will.
Excerpt from Grief: The Great Yearning
Day 115, Dear Jeff,
Did you use the phrase okie-doke one night at the end when you were saying all those jaunty things like “adios, compadre”? You must have. Every time I see or hear the expression, I start crying. Good thing it’s not in common usage any more.
I am hurtling away from you at incredible speeds. Maybe I’ll come full circle and meet with you again when my end arrives? I wish I believed that, but it makes no sense. How do sparks of energy have cognizance, character, memory? How would we know each other? At least I would no longer have to deal with your absence since I’d be absent too.
You came into my life so rapidly. One day you weren’t there, and the next you were. You went out the same way. One day you were there, the next you weren’t.
Yesterday someone told me that life on earth was an illusion and so you still existed. But if life is an illusion, why couldn’t it be a happy figment? A joyful one? What’s the point of pain? Of loss? Of suffering?
You’ve been gone one-hundred and fifteen days, and I still can’t make sense of it.
Adios, compadre. I hope you, at least, are at peace.
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.
August 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm
This and your previous post certainly demonstrate the transition you’ve gone through in the past three years. Not understanding the nature of life and death is understandable. They’re complex, and a thinker like you wants to comprehend them, not just experience them. But your analytical thinking also gets in the way of accepting the reality of a faith and belief that could be sustaining you, just because they aren’t tangible. I’m not trying to “convert” you, just wishing you could be experiencing the comfort and reassurance of the Christian faith through all this. Wishing and wishing… As if you didn’t wish for many things, too.
But I’m glad to know that the grief is waning in strength, and that the writing of this blog and your book has helped. I think the book will help others a lot because they’ll hear that they aren’t the only ones that have had to walk through this dismal valley… even though I believe it lacks the key that people need to make the journey less painful… the hope of eternity.
Forgive me if I’m treading where I shouldn’t be. Today has been a long, exhausting day as we’ve waited through the long hours of the liver transplant of our nephew. Another nephew’s wife donated 70% of her liver, so both have undergone major surgery. Tonight she is doing well, and he is holding his own. I probably shouldn’t be reading blogs tonight, but it’s a quiet time and I wanted to connect with my online friends.
Rest well tonight, Pat.
August 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Ah, Carol, you’ve had so much to deal with! I’m so sorry about your nephew and your other nephew’s wife. What a wonderful family you have!
And of course you’re not treading where you shouldn’t be. This is the place for all such thoughts. Some people have faith, others don’t. I would never encroach on another’s person to find comfort where they may. I hope you’re right and that you will find your eternity. I hope at least you will find peace enough tonight to get some rest. Thank you for stopping by. It’s always good to hear from you.
July 1, 2018 at 5:23 am
I have found the signs my husband has given me comforting; therefore, I get to some degree what Carol is saying: HOWEVER,BUT,EXCEPT I feel a polite yet very present judgement in her response. Why the phrasing “Christian faith”? instead of just faith or some other descriptor. Is it so she is sure to not insult God, Christianity,Jesus for fear of ???? what? Is this some kind of mandatory disclosure so her faith or resulting afterlife reunion will not be shut off from on high? My first problem with many religions are their exclusionary practices…maybe they’d all get more customers if they’d stop connecting eternity with their faith only. Carol wishes for you (and others like you I assume) a less painful journey and seems to scold you a little by pointing out your writing does not comfort as fully as it could because it lacks “faith”,specifically Christian faith.
Pat,in your writing, I have found the philosophy of compassion for the suffering of others,as well as,yourself which has made “people”(to use Carol’s term)journeys less painful.
July 1, 2018 at 9:02 am
If you don’t mind, what signs did your husband leave you? I’m going to do a chapter on signs and feeling connect (which goes to your “medium” comment yesterday. (If you want to keep your signs private, I understand.)
July 1, 2018 at 6:36 pm
I don’t mind at all but it will take me time to write about them in a cohesive way. It is important to me I convey the experiences clearly.
July 1, 2018 at 6:41 pm
Terry, you can send them to me at my email address if you wish.