Stressed to My Limits

I’m sitting here, wondering if I should write this post. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, so I’m hoping the women involved don’t read this or if they do that they don’t fret, and yet, ever since my life mate/soul mate died, I’ve tried to write my truth.

I had lunch today with some friends after dance class. (Got to replenish those expended calories!) I was the only single woman at the table. All the rest were divorced and remarried. Not that their marital state is a problem for me anymore. I’ve gotten used to being the only uncoupled person in most situations. Nor did I think anything of their topic of conversation at first. I’ve heard it before — they all contend that losing a husband to divorce is worse than losing him to death because with divorce, he’s still around, especially if there are offspring involved.

But today I am feeling fragile. It’s only been a month since my father’s death, and although I am not grieving him the way I grieved for Jeff, my life mate/soul mate, my father’s demise has upset my equilibriumtugofwar. I am aware of his empty place at the couch, his books, reading glasses, and magnifier stacked neatly the way he left them. I know he led a long and happy life, but his absence still is ever present.

Even worse, this is the second time in less than five years that my living situation has been thrown into upheaval by death, and this time I do not have a fall back position. The whole world lies open before me, but I don’t know what to do with it. To add to the complications, I need to pack in anticipation of leaving this house, which will be put on the market in a few weeks. I’d already gotten rid of the bulk of Jeff’s things before I came here, but what remains are “our things” along with what is left of his effects — things so emotionally laden that I simply could not dispose of them during that worst day of my life when I cleaned out his closet and drawers and prized possessions. And now I have to figure out what to do with it all. Oddly, the only thing so far that set off an emotional storm was the container of refrigerator magnets we used to use. Other things, like his favorite jacket and the sweater he wore when we met, I stoicly repacked because I still can’t deal with them.

Did I mention the sun sets at 4:30 around here? And I am prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

So this was my state of mind as I listened to my lunch companions talk. And oh, my poor heart ached. I would give anything to see Jeff one more time. Even if he had gone to be with another woman and left me destitute in the process, I would still be glad to know that he was alive and well. I’d be angry, of course, heartbroken and humiliated, but I so loved him that his well-being meant more to me than my own. (I’m only now learning to put myself first, but that could be because there’s no one left in my life to care about that deeply. I’ve lost them all one way or another — Jeff, the two brothers closest to me in age, my parents, a very special friend.)

I no longer know who has it worst when it comes to grief — the divorced, the widowed, those who lost a child, parent, lover, sibling, best friend, pet. I no longer care. We all suffer heartache and grief in our lives. We all deal with it as best as we can (or let it deal with us). In my case, this conversation mostly served to show me how vulnerable I still am, how much I still miss him, how much his being dead is still a part of my life.

God may provide, the universe might be unfolding as it should be, everything could be falling into place, my destiny might be waiting, life could be what is happening while I am making other plans (or whatever aphorism it is that you believe), but the truth is, at the moment, I am stressed to the limits.

I keep saying that however things turn out, I’ll be okay. And I mean it. Just not today.


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.

13 Responses to “Stressed to My Limits”

  1. stephenlesliefrance Says:

    Evening Pat – sorry to read that the struggle continues. I would say that in comparing those positions you mentioned, it is all relative.

    I’m about to leave a country that has laid a 5-year torrent of harsh challenges to the point that I’m a 30 year old with heart palpitations now – something that aggravates me as I’ve looked after my physical and mental health religiously. There are people here that keep saying I might change my mind at the last minute and want to stay here – they are very very wrong, but I don’t wish to offend anyone so I try to reply with subtlety.

    What I’m attempting to convey, is it can sometimes be challenging for others to understand another person’s grief no matter how many times it is explained; subsequently, inappropriate comments may emerge.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m sorry you have to reuproot yourself. I hope you have an idea of where you want to go and what you will do when you get there. Best of luck finding a more peaceful and suitable place and lifestyle.

      • stephenlesliefrance Says:

        Absolutely – it’s a logical decision to keep self-development and progress moving and fortunately, I do have focus in what I’m looking for in life.

        In reading your post, I recognised a concept; the idea that people (even friends) are sometimes unable to comprehend the evocation of unpleasant feeling created by their comments.

  2. Cicy Rosado Says:

    pat so sorry you feel so bad, this weather today didn’t help I canceled
    Isabella’s lesson I wanted to go home the rain and the cold didn’t help

  3. Holly Says:

    Some of it might be the season. I’m having a hard time right now too. I really, really miss Jake and wish he were here on this adventure with me. Know that I am thinking of you, and I hope you end up doing what makes you happy. Although, be aware, it travels with you. I didn’t leave my issues behind when I left IP.

  4. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    One of the things I notice when a person’s circumstances changes is that they often become isolated at a table because the others are now into other things and want to talk exclusively about those things.

    eg. When close friends get married they begin excluding single people or, when they include them, focus on babies and PTA and things the single person isn’t part of. When I was divorced, my married friends all shunned me partly because they didn’t know how to be loyalty to me and to my former wife at the same time.

    I haven’t seen her since the 1970s. Obviously, we didn’t part on the friendliest of terms. She hasn’t remarried and I have. But we share a daughter and granddaughters and I much prefer that she’s out there helping them and loving them than being gone altogether.

    Grief never ends. But I think the anger over a divorce can mellow in time or possibly change into a status that’s better than the total loss of dying.


  5. leesis Says:

    your losses have been immense my friend and not just the people but your place with them. You are going to have moments where its all too much. Your future? I reckon a trip to Australia should be on the cards myself. Free accommodation available :).

  6. Brenda Buckner Wallace Says:

    I think you said it well, Pat. Grief is not a competition.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It used to really bother me when people compared the loss of their pet or their divorce to the death of my soul mate but now I’m mostly inured to it. But sometimes, as in this case, I am reminded of all I lost, not just a mate but my best friend, my home, my way of life, and I can’t help grieving once more.

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