I always know when someone who is grieving has discovered my blog — the number of views increases dramatically while the number of visitors stays the same. Only an intense loss (or upcoming loss) keeps someone here long enough to read a sampling of my grief posts.
Although I am on the downward slide of grief, every day someone else encounters the shock of grief that bewilders, steals their breath, shatters their lives, and makes them question their very being.
A long time ago, long before the internet and blogs, I used to write soul-searching letters, similar to my blog posts. I never expected my friends to save the letters. I was young, changing rapidly, and the letters reflected my thoughts about life at any given moment. Once, years after such a spate of letters, my then best friend called me, told me she’d found a stack of letters. She read portions of them aloud to me, and laughed. She couldn’t understand my hurt — she’d seen how far I’d come, and she thought I’d be as amused as she was by my younger self. I tried to be a good sport, but her laughter seemed such a betrayal, I never felt the same about her again. Nor did I ever feel the same about writing letters. In fact, I never wrote another personal letter again lest my feelings linger far beyond their meaning.
Then came blogging and the loss of my life mate/soul mate. I wondered if I would ever regret pouring out my soul on this blog as I did in those letters, but I understood how important it was for both me and my fellow bereft to try to find words for what we were feeling, so writing such personal posts never bothered me. I also knew that if anyone laughed, they were more to be pitied than castigated — only profound and complicated love leads to such all-encompassing grief, and if they’d never felt such grief, well, there was nothing I could do about it. Writing about my grief was simply a risk I took.
But no one laughed.
At the beginning, my grief posts reflected the feelings of me and others in my grief age group (those who lost their mates a few months before or a few months after I did). But grief is eternal. We may not still be lost in the anguish of new grief, lost in the confusion of grief that lingers beyond what family and friends think acceptable, or lost in the maze of trying to create a new life for ourselves, but someone is.
For all of you who are experiencing grief, know that I’ve been there. I understand at least a little of what you are going through, and my heart cries out to you. People who dealt with profound grief before I did told me that someday I will find renewed interest in life, generally (though not always) within four to five years. It was true for them. It was true for me. And it will be true for you.
Until then, wishing you peace.
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 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm
Thank you for these words Pat. I can tell by reading your blog that you have lived your grief and survived. I am just starting this very hard journey but I have hope that I will come out of on the other side.
September 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm
I have no doubt you will survive and even find renewal on the other side of the pain, Paula. Your willingness to embrace rather than run away from your grief tells me that. It just takes more patience than we ever imagined. If ever you feel too overwhelmed by it all, I am right here. Just leave a comment on any of my posts, and I will answer, if not right away, then for sure the next day when I come online.
September 3, 2014 at 11:58 pm
Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Sending you peace and love from a stranger’s lost heart – Jo
September 4, 2014 at 1:14 am
Oh, i am so very sorry, Jo, for your lost heart. That’s how it feels – like a lost heart. Sending you peace and love and wishes for a safe journey through grief.
September 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm
Your point about the friend who laughed at your heartfelt expressions reminds me of a memoir I’m reading now, “An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination” about a woman who suffered the loss of her first child, who was stillborn. While I have not experienced that loss, I could relate to it because of my own losses. But what about it that reminded me of your experience were her expressions about the emails and the friends who were there for her and who weren’t and one friend, in particular, who waited so long to say anything that it seemed disingenuous so she never wrote to her again. But both of you help us all by sharing your grief experience.
September 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm
I always thought it ironic that those who experienced the grievous loss had to be accommodating to the insentitivies and sympathetic to the tongue-tied-ness of friends and families. But somehow, we get through it all, with only sporadic tears accompanying subsequent years.
September 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm
5-4 years to find a renewed interest in life?! I lost my mom. I’m not married. I don’t have a child. I’m approaching my 40’s. I’m free spirited. I’m an artist and this range for interest renewal disheartens me….I’m not even at the two year mark in my grief process. My mom was everything. She was my soul mate. Everything I did revolved around her. I wish that somehow I could quicken this process. I’m still trying to keep my life together, and my head above water. Still trying to hold my life together. Myself together. I wish this were easier.
September 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm
I wish it were easier, too. And it will get easier. Since your mother was all things to you, you will probably always miss her, but you will eventually get on with your life. It might not take another two years — that’s just an estimate. You might be able to move on sooner. I’m not sure what it takes — maybe finding new interests or making new friends. . It’s a hard thing you are going through. Maybe the hardest thing you will ever have to do. I wish I had words of wisdom, but all I have are wishes that you will someday find peace.
September 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm
Thanks, Pat. All I can do is “be”, I guess, and accept that this will be a tumultuous journey. Definitely, the most painful experience in my life. Thank you for your kind words.