Playing the Hand I’ve Been Dealt

I do really well most of the time playing the hand I’ve been dealt in life.

Did I really use a game metaphor? Apparently, it’s not just gardening I see as a game, but life itself. This isn’t my conscious view of life — life has thrown too many tragedies and tragic consequences my way for it to classified with amusements such as card games or ball games or even gardening — but it does seem at times as if fate is willy-nilly dealing out experiences. Wealth to this person, beauty to that one, grief to another. Admittedly, at some point most people deal with grief, as if it’s a wild card that can fill out any hand, but still, I don’t think life is a game with distinct winners and losers. Nor is life playful or amusing as games should be — it’s generally too serious. (Though people who do manage to deal with life’s vicissitudes in a playful manner — people who believing the underlying energy of the universe is that of a child at play — find that things go their way more often than not.)

But all that is by way of an aside. I really came here to write about a moment I experienced last night. As I said, I do really well most of the time playing the hand that life and death (not my death, obviously, but the death of various loved ones) has dealt me. In fact, the cards I am holding at the moment are great ones — a comfortable home, a yard to get creative with, someone to call when I have a house emergency, a job that pays for such trivialities as groceries, good friends.

And yet, there are those moments . . .

Last night I went into my bedroom to turn down the covers in preparation for sleep, when suddenly I was hit with a vast wave of loneliness. I have no idea where it came from or why it chose that particular moment to engulf me, but there it was, stopping me in my tracks.

I let that devastating moment pass through me, though a faint sense of being alone lingered as I finished my task.

That’s all there was to it — just that moment. It wasn’t enough to send me spiraling into grief, but it was enough to temporarily overwhelm me.

And it was enough to make me take stock and realize that after all I’ve been through the last decade or so, I really am lucky to be doing as well as I am.


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.

8 Responses to “Playing the Hand I’ve Been Dealt”

  1. Royann Behrmann Says:

    If this happens again, give me a call.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I thought this was going to be a Tarot post. Gotten any good readings lately, BTW?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Not really. I’m still struggling to figure out how the cards in a three-card reading fit together. I mean, I can tell a story with them, like this happened, this was the result, this comes next, but it never seems to have anything to do with my life.

  3. Uthayanan Says:

    Pat I am afraid to say that I can understand. This summer I feel nearly every night before go to sleep this kind of feeling. Before my soulmate brutal departure I met lots of tragic incidents in my life in all levels. But my soulmate departure completely changed me and still try to understand and cope with. Your blog and your grief archives helped me a lot more than my philosophical learnings with three different religious writings.
    I am a gardener and looks after at least fifty plants.
    I play cards freecell not as a game simply to concentrate to keep my reflex. The different with solitaire with freecell I can calculate because all cards were visible so if I can concentrate If I want to win every time. If I can’t win I know that my concentration is not good enough. Simply I use to concentrate. And with my IT personal occupation to be occupied and my languages interest.
    Anyway it is simply a programed application.
    As far as I was a regular badminton player I understand what is a real physical active game.
    I am going to start again in October when it restart for seniors. Simply for interactive with different kind of people and good physical exercise. And to cope with grief.
    For me life or gardening is not a game but I am not against anyone to take as a game. And I respect.
    In any computer programed games or sports if you have a good mental physical health with concentration, discipline with hard work probably your can win.
    But life has to deal with undefined events, political, climate, geographical, family, emotional feelings, and with consciously and unconsciously man made errors.
    At the present time I am not successful. But try to learn and live with.
    I know that you are a good conversationalist so some nice friends ask you make a call you can make a call it will help both. When you have a difficult time living alone like me.
    It is simply a recommendation not an advice.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You know how hard it is to call someone in such moments. First, it’s generally too late, and second, gathering the energy is near to impossible, and third, it’s not a matter of talking to a friend, no matter how close, but not being able to talk to the person you really want to talk to.

      • Uthayanan Says:

        It is very much true what you have said,
        It’s generally too late, need energy and
        the only person to whom you would like to talk has gone.

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