Thirteen Years

I’d stopped writing about grief a while ago and hadn’t intended to write anything else on the subject, but today is the thirteenth anniversary of Jeff’s death, and I didn’t think the day should go uncommemorated. To be honest, I’m not sure why I feel this way. Although I still feel the jagged crack in my soul from where he was ripped from my life, it has been mostly filled with new memories, new experiences, new foci. Besides that, he has been gone so any years that I no longer feel as if I have a claim on his life. Or his death.

Still, both his life and his death affected me enormously. I would not be the person I am today without knowing both love and grief, though I’m not sure that matters — the part about me being the person I am today, that is. For all I know, if things had been different, I might have been a better person, though I could have been worse or simply different or perhaps even the same. We can never know what might have been. All I know is that when he died, my life was sent on a completely different trajectory, and I ended up living a life I could never have imagined when we were together.

I wonder sometimes if we met up today if he’d still like me, but that is a futile speculation. He is gone. He has as little claim to my life now as I have to his. And yet, I do miss him, and perhaps always will.

Shortly after he died, I met an old woman who told me she’d been married and widowed three times and that she still cried for all of her husbands, even though the first had been gone for decades, and the second and third for many years. I can’t imagine the courage it takes to love again after losing a much-loved spouse, nor can I imagine the courage it takes to deal with so much grief piled on grief.

But we all do the best we can to get through our days, and today, the best I can do is to think of Jeff.

And to remember.


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.

6 Responses to “Thirteen Years”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Memories play a big part in the person we are today and Jeff’s memory is a precious one for you. It’s taken courage to move through the intervening years. I’m glad you can remember and still appreciate the good aspects of your present life.

  2. Judy C Galyon Says:

    I understand where you are coming from. It’s only been 3 yrs for me, but now that Goldie is fading & Mike is now here to help me, it hurts all the worse.

  3. Alessandra Chaves Says:

    It is not impossible that I’ll live 13 more years and I wonder how I will feel then about Jeff’s death. Yes, my late husband’s name was also Jeff. People trying to console me sometimes say that I’ll find someone else and all I can think of when I see a man Jeff’s age is how he’s going to die, and that I don’t want to be part of it.

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