I never know when or why grief raises its grizzled head, but apparently today is one of those days. It could be I am so relentlessly living in the present that the effort wears me out or maybe my sad truth simply wears through.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life draping my psyche in moldy widow’s weeds, so I try to stay focused on what I have — friends, adventure, dance, writing — and not what I don’t have, but oh, that “don’t have” is so very hard to handle even all these years later.
In less than nine months, I’ll be marking the sixth anniversary of my life mate/soul mate’s death. Can seven, ten, fifteen years be far behind?
It seems odd that though I seldom think of Jeff, can barely conjure up an image of him in my mind, can’t even remember the sound of his voice, his goneness rules my life. If he were still alive, would I be walking along deserted beaches, hiking in old growth forests, putting myself in dicey situations in the name of adventure? Of course not. I’d be home with him.
And that lack of “home,” I’m sure, continues to be the crux of my grief. He was home to me. Without him, there is no home, though I am learning to be at home wherever I am. Still, there are times when I desperately want to go home, and that’s when it hits me . . . again. He is gone and there is nothing I can do about it.
Even though I know the truth — if he hadn’t died, my life, and his, would have become truly horrific — it doesn’t help with my missing him, with my desire to go home to him.
To a certain extent, being without a car is exacerbating my feeling of homesickness and homelessness. I have a hunch this prolonged situation is as frustrating for the auto body guy as it is for me since there is way more work than he ever imagined — though I never did ask for or expect the full restoration he is doing. He also has me bugging him to get the car finished, which I don’t think he likes, but he is not the one without a car, without a mate, without a home. (I do have places to stay, for which I am eternally grateful, but the places are other people’s homes, not mine.)
The past few days I’ve mostly been walking around town or taking it easy hiking on the Pacific Coast Bike Route to give myself a chance to heal from the dog bite, sprained calf muscle, and myriad mosquito bites, but tomorrow I’ll attempt something more challenging to get back into the moment.
Jeff might be gone, but I am still here, and I have to do something.
(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.”)
August 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm
You are missed in dance class.
August 6, 2015 at 10:03 am
I still think a little mini trailer or pop-up would give you a sense of home while remaining mobile for adventures.
August 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm
I have been enjoying your postings as you journey through the Northern California coast. It is been like an adventure for me but the overwhemling feeling of Grief that hit you today makes the adventure more understandable. I am a year and 4mths without Gary, with whom I shared life since I was 18 until now ( 70years old) and I realize your adventure is looking for your new life without your soul mate, finding a new home where your heart can find some peace. Hopefully your car will be fixed soon and you will have a small since of security returned to your life. We must keep moving forward!! I find forward motion a little difficult but as you are trying so hard I will keeping treking!!
Have a good day tomorrow.
August 6, 2015 at 9:46 pm
I cannot help but cry for you when you express this grief! I have just passed the one year mark and I still feel it is so fresh. I know exactly what you mean when you say it! And the pain is at times unbearable. I sure hope they get your car to you soon!!
August 7, 2015 at 5:50 am
a virtual hug to Pat, who is still bravely moving through time and space. Love your pic of the bikeway, which looks like heaven to this cyclist. (Can’t go as far or fast as I used to, but I keep going out there for those little moments of timeless that also happen when you walk.) A quote from Betsy Schuyler Hamilton–am finishing a book about she and her famous husband now–“Would that I could fly to my Blessed Redeemer, and, in His House, be permitted to once again view my Hamilton.” At her death, fifty years beyond his fatal duel with Aaron Burr, she was still carrying love tokens he’d given her.