What I love most about blogging is that sometimes when I start writing a post, new or buried thoughts percolate to the surface, ending up on the page and surprising me with insights. Yesterday, when I wrote Living Offline, I had no idea I was starting to look forward to the rest of my life. I’ve kept my head down, plodding along, trying new things, meeting new people, visiting new places, and apparently, somewhere along the line, I went through a renewal of sorts.
Many people who had gone through a grievous loss have told me that it takes three to five years to find a renewed interest in life, and so it is with me. In just a few days, it will be three years and seven months since the death of my life mate/soul mate, and I find myself involved deeply in life, not just with such difficult matters as looking out for my 96-year-old father and dealing with problematic family members, but also with taking care of myself and my well-being.
I’m physically active, eat right, and have accidentally become part of an intelligent and talented coterie. I say “accidentally” because when I joined a group of walkers, I didn’t expect to end up going to art shows that feature members’ work, hearing one member in a choir of madrigal singers, and seeing others dance. Because of these people, I’ve also learned not to fear old age. Although people of all ages walk with us, some of the most active members could be considered elderly, but I can barely keep up with those in their seventies. I have no idea what life has is in store for me, of course, but I do know that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean getting feeble. It just takes a bit of luck and a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation.
Grief goes in cycles, so chances are I will still be experiencing occasional grief surges (especially on the weekends when I can’t feast on the endorphins and friendship of the group walk), but now I know the truth: there is life after the death of the person who connected you to the world. There is even laughter. Maybe even joy.
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.
October 24, 2013 at 5:10 am
Wow, Pat! Reading this post gave me chills! So inspiring! I know what you mean about blogging – I sometimes blog to know what I think, to paraphrase another. And that’s why during the night when my thoughts are racing, I get up to blog and then I can get back to sleep. Thanks for sharing this today – it gave me such a flutter of joy.
October 24, 2013 at 8:52 am
Thank you Kathy. It’s interesting that writing is so much a way of reaching inside to the hard-to-reach places or finding a way to tame our wildly racing thoughts.
November 1, 2018 at 5:06 am
Bravo to your recent journey through New Mexico! I admire your travels.
I just read this entry so as to keep our days,months,years parallel. I am at 3.7mths. on this coming November 27th. Now that you have the benefit of many more years, I am wondering did the sense of renewal descibed here stay with you or was it a mirage?
November 1, 2018 at 6:33 am
Not a mirage. A turning point. His absence wasn’t all consuming, the pain lessened and wasn’t as constant, and the focus began turning from our shared life to my life. I began to sense that I might find happiness again, realized that no matter what we had shared, I had to find my own way, and I began to look forward to whatever might come. I still felt empty, still felt lonely, still missed him (still do), but I wasn’t tormented by the feelings. At least not all the time. For a long time it bothered me that I was alive and he wasn’t, but about that time, I began to see that it didn’t matter. Couldn’t matter. It’s just the way it was. It’s kind of odd, but looking back to that sense of renewal, it seems shrouded in pain, so obviously it wasn’t an end to grief. As I said, it was more of a turning point than an ending.