Empty Rooms

I seem to be doing a lot of sitting and staring out windows lately. Could be physical exhaustion. Could be mental overload. Could be spring fever for all I know. But here I sit in an empty room — no furniture, no decoration, no ghosts except for my own.

I am haunted by my unknown future, by leftover sadness, by thoughts of what and whom I will be leaving behind if I follow the call to adventure, especially my dance teacher/mentor/friend. She more than anyone brought me back to life when it seemed as if I’d never be happy again, and I will miss learning, dancing, lunching with her on a regular basis.

I want to stay. I need to go.


Sounds like that old Jimmy Durante song, doesn’t it?

“Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay,
You knew it was right, wasn’t wrong.
Still you knew you wouldn’t be very long.
Go or stay, stay or go,
Start to go again and change your mind again.
It’s hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still have the feeling that you wanted to stay.


In my case, though, I’m not changing my mind since I haven’t actually decided anything. I’m leaving it up to the fates. I am planning on heading up north in June to meet a friend, and for all I know, I could be coming back in a couple of weeks. But no matter what happens to me — go, stay, return — I won’t be coming back here to my father’s house.

It’s been alternately stressful and interesting being chatelaine of such a large, lovely residence. It’s been a challenge to get my stuff packed and in storage, to dispose of my parent’s belongings, to find homes for their furnishings. Most of the furniture was taken out of the house this weekend. There is still one pick up tomorrow, and another on Wednesday, then the house really will be empty except for my clothes, computer, and one old mattress to sleep on.

I won’t have long to live in these empty rooms. In nine days, this phase of my life will be over, and once again, I will be driving away from a houseful of empty rooms.

It seems odd to me that after all this time — five years since the death of Jeff, my life mate/soul mate — I still don’t know how to go about rebuilding my life. Still, this should be an exciting time for me, with an unknown and possibly exciting future ahead of me, but these empty rooms are taking me back to the empty rooms I left behind when I drove away from the house Jeff and I shared, and along with the memories, comes sadness.

I know endings are the beginning of beginnings, but tonight I can’t summon up any enthusiasm for starting over. So I sit and stare out the window of this empty room, and try not to remember the other empty rooms I left behind.



Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram 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.

4 Responses to “Empty Rooms”

  1. sumalama Says:

    Dearest Pat, when we are born we do not come with an owner’s manual. We were never taught how to build our lives so why would we know how to rebuild one? I suggest taking the good from the past and hope for more good to pile onto it. Loving hugs, Millie

  2. Paula Kaye Says:

    Pat you have been through so much. You have bulldozed the road for so many of us. I am afraid that I might be in this same place in three years when my youngest granddaughter leaves home and I pack up and downsize. I will be leaving the house that was Richard and my home for more than 25 years. I fear I will be in the same torn place where you now are. Thank you for being brave enough to write about it for those of us who are in this process with you. Hugs

    Smidgen Snippets & Bits

  3. Coco Ihle Says:

    Pat, I feel like I’m experiencing your feelings, too. I couldn’t really, because I’m not actually in your shoes, but I certainly feel that way. I’m both sad and excited at the same time. I just ask one thing, don’t leave me behind. Please stay in touch.

  4. Kathy Says:

    It’s a bit strange when a house is empty but it must really be weird when you don’t know where you are going. Wherever you do go, I hope you’ll take us along for the journey. Please stay in touch.

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