Yesterday’s grief update — I Am a Three-and-a-Half-Year Grief Survivor — was very sedate, no great emotion. And that’s how the day went — sedate, no great emotion. I kept myself busy and endorphinized with walks, exercise, and errands. I actually felt happy for a while. (It’s easy to be happy when you are zipping along at three miles an hour beside a dry riverbed at night with new friends, and only flashlights and stars to illuminate the walkway.)
Today, however, I am tearful. I woke with a great yearning to see my deceased life mate/soul mate. I wish I could talk to him, find out how he is (or if he is). I wish I could feel as if once again, I were home. (He was my home. Everything else is just a place to live, though I am gradually learning to find “home” in myself, because of course, wherever I go, there I will be.)
Grief is exhausting, even after forty-two months, and maybe that’s what hit me today — exhaustion. I get tired of trying to find reasons to live and ways to be happy. I get tired of trying to focus on the positive elements of my life and to find ways around that vast emptiness where he once was. The more I do these things, the more of a habit they will become, but his absence is still such a significant factor in my life that the creation of happiness and meaning is a conscious effort. I am always aware that that whatever I am doing is not an augmentation of an already full life, but instead is a way of spending the hours and maybe building a new life for myself.
I feel silly at times even mentioning my sadness because so many people have experienced horrific tragedies that make the death of one middle-aged man seem insignificant, but his death is exceedingly significant to me. And it’s significant to the world (even if no one else is aware of it) because the death of a good man (or woman) somehow diminishes us all.
So today, I will allow myself to be sad that he is gone from my mortal life and from this earth, and wait until tomorrow to once again pick up the pieces of my life and continue on without him.
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.
September 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm
Love this post. Much love and light and sadness when you need it
September 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm
September 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm
I am right here with you. My tears came yesterday, however…exhaustion came today…more of it.
September 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm
I’ve been doing well most of the time, but today, I’m doing well in a tearful way.
September 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm
I’m sincerely sorry about your loss, yet that’s a magnanimous way to let it all out; with words.
September 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Thank you — I’ve been letting it all out with words from the beginning. Words, tears, and (during the first few months) screams.
September 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm
Pat, we need to be sad when we feel like it ant then how you said pick up the pieces and go on. Let the emotions to come out, it helps.A big hug,
September 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Thank you, Madi. And yes, letting the emotions out makes a big difference.
September 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm
Once again, you have said how I feel. Grieving is hard and exhausting. And part of that exhaustion is knowing it will never fully go away because the only way for it to go away is for our loved one to come back and that won’t happen. I feel like i have been trying to fill the last three + years with stuff but it’s like trying to fill a black hole. You can’t do it. Nothing will fill up the emptiness. We keep plodding along the best we can but to what?
September 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm
That is the question, isn’t it — to what? You gave me an idea, though. Maybe it’s not about trying to fill the void but to create a life that includes the void. One of my favorite verses is from the poem Outwitted by Edwin Markham:
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!
It’s something for me to think about anyway to help me get through another day. So, thank you.
September 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Sending you hugs from another who misses their soul mate terribly
September 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm
Sending hugs back to you.
September 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm
Pat, I’m sorry today has been so difficult. These darned emotions refuse to move along on a nice level terrain, and instead, zig and zag their way through our days. But I don’t agree with Joy that nothing will ever fill the emptiness. When I think of our daughter, I find the memory no longer reveals a gaping void. It’s closed in because of the many other things that life has brought to me since her death. Granted, it was many years ago (16 now) and I still feel regret but it no longer overwhelms. I truly believe in that axiom that time heals all wounds. The healing may be very slow, but if we provide a conducive environment, it will eventually be complete. Memories will linger but the pain and emptiness will disappear. They really will.
Wishing you comfort for this day, rest for the night, and a better day tomorrow.
September 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm
What keeps me going is the hope that one day, if I provide that “conducive environment” that I will find some sort of fulfillment — not necessarily something that will fill the emptiness but something that will fill my life.
Thank you for the wishes that concluded your comment. So beautiful, and so needed! And thank you for your kind and supportive words during the past three and a half years.
September 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm
I love the way you always manage to take the feelings and through your words give them place and space — reality, dignity. I feel them but cannot objectively describe them and then you do — it makes who I’ve lost feel known and present, and the love that’s missed transformed into a kinship of beloveds left behind. You truly have a gift and I thank you for sharing — I feel like an amputee constantly moving toward my phantom other — he who is no longer physically present. I believe he is still with me — is that crazy? The universe only makes sense if it is so. (Sorry such a long comment). Just, thank you.
October 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm
Thank you for your kind and oh, so beautiful words. Your comment just perfect — not long at all. This is a kindship of beloveds left behind, isn’t? I don’t know how I would have ever handled the amputation if it weren’t for the others on this journey. You make it seem as if I’m not alone.
No, it isn’t crazy — many bereft still feel the presence of their mate. I’m just not lucky enough to be one of them.
October 14, 2018 at 5:14 am
I am now at 42 months. Your blog today described just how I feel.The fall hits me hard because it was the start of my teaching year. As teachers, Ron and I talked so much about when we retired “the fall” would be ours…we were suppose to have years and years of them instead of just the one we had. I feel both the loss of him and the secondary very significant loss of retirement together. My reward for years and years of hard work was not suppose to be trying to make a life without him. All the things I do are dots on a canvas…they don’t connect to form a picture (a life). I feel sad and angry and confused and minimized and EXHAUSTED that all my efforts in 42 months have not produced better results. I miss having a year, a month, a day, an hour, a minute a second where I don’t miss him. I yearn for him to have lived.
October 14, 2018 at 10:32 am
It’s so unfair when you consider all the people who did get to do the things they planned after retirement, and you didn’t get that opportunity. Just not fair. And yes, exhausting. I got so tired of Jeff being gone. His absence was HEAVY. It was exhausting carrying that absence with me wherever I went. It wasn’t until about a year ago that his absence stopped weighing so heavily.