Grief: The Great Learning, Day 434

I’ve saved the letters I wrote to my life mate/soul mate after he died, thinking that one day I would write a sequel to Grief: The Great Yearning, the story of my first year of grief. I’d planned to call the sequel Grief: The Great Learning, and detail the lessons gleaned from the second and third years of my grief. Because I no longer want to keep revisiting such angst, there will be no sequel, so I’m publishing the letters here on this blog as a way of safeguarding (and sharing) them.

Although this letter was written three and a half years ago, it reflects so much of what I am thinking about now. My father recently died, and I am packing to leave his house and go . . . I know not where. I am trying to hope for some sort of great new life, but it’s easier not to hope, and just take each day as it comes.  I wish I could talk to Jeff, see how he is doing, feel his hug, bask in his smile. I don’t think I will ever lose that desire, ever stop yearning for what I cannot have. His goneness shapes my days the way his presence used to. Everything I do is because he is no longer here.


Day 434, Hi, Jeff.

It seems so damn pathetic that after all the trauma of your dying, all the grief, all I’ve done in the past fourteen-and-a-half months, all the striving to fill my life with newness, I’m still basically the same I was before you died. I tried to explain this to my grief group today when they were talking about the changes that a death brings, but after I spoke, they backtracked and said that death brought changes to our lives, not us. That we didn’t change. Shouldn’t we? More specifically, shouldn’t I? After all I’ve gone through, how can I sroadtill be so much the same?

They talked about the importance of hope at the meeting, too. For all these months, I have had hope. Hope for a new direction in life, hope for success, hope for some sort of personal growth (and I don’t mean a tumor). But now it seems as if all my hopes have died stillborn.

If my continued survival isn’t about hope, if it’s causing me more pain than happiness, what’s the point? I’m curious how this hand will play out, and that’s what’s keeping me going. Maybe it’s enough, particularly since I think people are wrong about needing hope. It’s easier (and less hurtful) to live without hope. So many of my dreams never came to fruition. So much of my grief was about hopes that were never fulfilled. Wouldn’t it have been better if I hadn’t hoped for anything in the first place? Sometimes I wonder if what I miss is what I never had. It’s just too damn sad — you, me.

Adios, compadre.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter 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.

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