I’ve come a long way in the three years since I wrote the following journal entry. Saturdays have ceased to be difficult, though I still don’t understand the nature of life or death. Still don’t understand the point of it all, but the questions don’t haunt me quite as much as they did during the first years after the death of my life mate/soul mate. I’m learning to live without him, learning even to want to live without him. Sometimes I see his death as freeing us — me — from the horrors of his dying, and I don’t want to waste the sacrifice he made.
I still yearn to talk to him, though. I miss talking to him, miss his insights, miss the neverending conversation. (“Neverending” is a misnomer — the conversation that began the day we met and continued for decades until he got too sick to hold up his end of the dialogue, did eventually end.) He was easy to talk to. He never misunderstood what I said. I could make a simple comment to him, and he understood it was a simple comment. He didn’t make a big issue out of it, just answered back appropriately. It seems now every remark I make to anyone becomes a major deal as I try to explain over and over again what I meant by the first remark. It’s exhausting.
I’m grateful we met and had so many years together. Grateful for all the words we spoke to each other. Grateful I once had someone to love. Grateful that when my time comes to die, he won’t be here to see me suffer. Grateful he won’t have to grieve for me or be tormented by unaswerable questions.
Excerpt from Grief: The Great Yearning
Day 288, Grief Journal
Saturday, again. I stayed in bed all morning reading because I did not want to get up and face another Saturday. Friday nights and Saturdays continue to be difficult. I watched movies last night until my private witching hour of 1:40am.
The longer Jeff is gone, the more I see what I’ve lost. When we were together, everything was normal, so I couldn’t see how extraordinary our lives were. We created all our own recipes and fixed all our own meals, built our own business, spent years researching the mysteries of the world. And we had such wonderful marathon talks that lasted for days. We didn’t try to convince the other of our position—we each brought truth and thought to the conversation, and together we created a greater reality. There was no reason to argue—it was never about his opinion versus mine. It was about the truth—the truth as far as we could reconstruct it together.
A woman who lost her mate four months after I lost Jeff asked me the other day if I loved Jeff more now than when he was alive, and in a way I do. The problems of his growing ill health got in the way the last few years, clouding my vision of him. Now that those problems and my reaction to them are no longer a factor, I can see the truth of him again (or at least more of the truth than I did) and the love shines through.
Grief comes and goes, but love stays. And grows.
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.