As I talked to Jeff when I was getting ready for bed the other night, it suddenly dawned on me that I no longer asked myself — or him — the hard questions, or any questions at all, for that matter. It could be a good thing, perhaps a sign that I have reached an accommodation with life and death. It might be a not-so-good thing, possibly resignation or stagnation or exhaustion from trying to make sense of it all. Or it could be something else, neither good nor bad, maybe just letting my mind filter out the unanswerable questions. Most probably, it’s simply an acceptance that so much of what we want to know is unknowable.
But oh, at the beginning of my grief, there were way too many questions. Those questions kept my brain so busy trying to come up with solutions, that I often felt muddled and unreal.
Even years after his death, I was haunted by the hard questions. You know the ones: Who are we? Why are here? Is this all there is? Where did our loved ones go? Will we see them again? What is the meaning of life? And probably the most haunting of all, what is the meaning of death?
It wasn’t only grief that brought out these questions. When I was young, I’d often pondered such questions during my quest for truth and a greater reality, and I’d come to believe that God is the spirit of creativity that fuels the universe, and we are each a part of that creativity. For most of my adult life, I was content believing that our spirit/energy returned to the whole . . . until Jeff died. Then all of a sudden, I didn’t want that to be the truth. I wanted him to continue existing as him, as the man he was, not as part of an amorphous energy source.
And so the questions pounded at me. Not just the hard questions I mentioned, but others, too, such as: was it fate that we met, fate that he died? If he’s in a better place, why aren’t I there? If life is a gift, why was it taken from him? Is he proud of the woman I’ve become? Would he still like me if we were to meet?
It seems as if all I had were questions, but now? The questions, although they remain unanswered, don’t haunt me, at least not at the moment. The main effect of this silence is . . . well, silence. And the main effect of that mental silence is a struggle for blog topics.
For a while, I was invested in trying to come up with answers as to what this “Bob” situation is all about, but eventually I realized that with most of the questions I’ve asked over the years, there is no real answer, just a lot of speculation, and eventually, speculation loses its luster.
I must admit, I do enjoy not having my brain roiling with unanswerable questions.
Luckily, I still manage to find something to blog about. Luckily for me, that is, though perhaps not for you.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator