Haunted by the Specter of Empty Rooms

The last night in my father’s house. I’ve been wandering through the empty rooms to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything, and I can’t stop crying. It seems as if during the past five years I’ve tapped into a well of endless tears, and though the weepfests are fairly rare now, tonight brought them back.

It’s the end of so many things.

I came to this house after the death of Jeff, my life mate/soul mate, to look after my father and ensure he could be as independent as possible during his last years. I fulfilled that task, and now he is gone, too, having survived my mother by almost eight years.

I no longer know who I weep for. All my dead? The woman I once was? Death itself?

I came here shattered by grief — totally desolate with no idea how to go on by myself, no idea how to want to go on by myself. Now I have dance classes, friends, dreams. Would Jeff even know me now? Would the woman I once was know me?

I rememb016ber how at the beginning of my grief, I used to marvel that so great a trauma as the death of the one person who tied me to earth and made life worth living didn’t change me. But something did — perhaps living. There is a whole world out there if I have but the courage to take it, and yet here I am, soaked in tears.

Tomorrow I will gather myself up and forge ahead with hopes and a smile, but tonight, well, tonight there are just too damn many empty rooms. Too damn much sorrow.

I know this is the cycle of life. People are born. They live a few years or many. They die. But my heart doesn’t want to know that particular truth. My heart wants what it can no longer have — to go home to Jeff. But that home is gone, too. Those rooms I emptied before I came here are filled with other people’s belongings. Jeff for sure isn’t there. Nor is he in my future.

The specter of empty rooms haunts me.

I used to love empty rooms. Jeff and I never put furniture in our living room. A weight bench. That was all. But now, empty rooms remind me of ends, not beginnings. And I am tired of ends. (That’s probably why I like the idea of a nomadic life, though I doubt I would like the reality — there are no ends, only beginnings.)

I wish I were strong and wise and brave, but the truth is I simply do what everyone does — keep on going however I can.

And tomorrow I go, leaving these empty rooms 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.

9 Responses to “Haunted by the Specter of Empty Rooms”

  1. Paula Kaye Says:

    Tomorrow, as you start your adventure, I will be thinking of you. And waiting to hear what life brings you. You will be brave. I know that you will!!! Hugs!

  2. leesis Says:

    ah Pat you are strong wise and brave. You are also beautifully vulnerably human and hence you feel the pain of loss. Its your ability to feel, express and write about this vulnerability that makes you so strong wise and brave. I wish I’d been there to give you a quite hug. I’m not surprised you find yourself weeping…this is painful…this is final complete closing of the door and you be on your own. Thank-goodness you truly are strong, wise and brave. 🙂 with love

  3. Constance Says:

    There is a feeling of emptiness in your heart when your family is gone. A sadness that you cannot express.
    I think about my family members that are gone a lot. Especially when I am alone.
    Life goes on and we adapt, but don’t forget.
    My heart is with you.

    • Deb Says:

      Hi, my name is Debbie, I live in Florida. I also lost my Soulmate (Jeffrey) n my Dad 4 months earlier! This was in June 2013 n Nov 2013! I’ve been So Lost since! My friends of 38 years just Disappeareared out of my Life! It Sucks Really Bad! They don’t want to see MY PAIN is there Response! If Anyone. Cares to email. please feel free as I would Love to talk to someone who’s had many experiences w Death! kittykat724@bellsouth.net. God Bless to Everyone. Debbie

      • Pat Bertram Says:

        Hi, Debbie. I care. Of course you’re lost. Death and grief catapult us out of our normal lives into a world of loss and unbelievable pain. No one understands. They want you to put on a happy face for their sakes, but grief doesn’t allow that.

        I am here,checking this blog every day, if you need to talk. If you click on “grief posts” at the top of this page, you can see everything I have written about grief. It’s a hard journey, but I promise you, eventually you will find a renewed interest in life. Until then, as you said, it sucks really bad.

        I am so very sorry for your losses and pain.

  4. Holly Says:

    No great words of wisdom from me. I am doing the best I can with what I have. But will be waiting to hear all about your adventures. Too many tears…too many losses…

  5. Coco Ihle Says:

    Pat, if I were to describe you, I’d say you are an “introspective spring.” You always spring up to what is needed of you with energy and optimism, but not before you fully experience what that need is. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I have no doubt that you will spring to the next challenge with your usual positive attitude. That’s not to say you leave your feelings behind. Of course, change is frightening and sometimes sad, but it is good and normal for you to feel the loss of what has ended, before you can move on to the joys (and even scary) future that awaits. You are one of the bravest and wisest people I know. Carry on, my friend. I predict wonderful things ahead, because you dare to reach for
    all aspects of experience. Bravo to you!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Kathy Says:

    I think I cry over every loss – one loss triggers another. But I’m excited by your future – can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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