As the title of this blog post indicates, this is my 3,000th blog post. It seems amazing to me that I’ve managed to find so much to write about. It seems even more amazing that after writing all those words, as well having written nine books (all published!), that I don’t feel wiser. But then, becoming wiser was never the goal. The goal was simply to write, and that I have done.
When I was a kid, I often used to get diaries for Christmas. I loved those books with the little key that could lock one’s thoughts away. I always started out disciplined, writing a bit every day, but gradually, perhaps after the first week or so, the entries became fewer and fewer. And always, most of the pages remained blank.
It’s not surprising, really. When one is so young, there’s not really much to say. “I went to school.” “I went to church.” “I did my homework.”
I hadn’t yet learned to try to work out my feelings on paper. In fact, I hadn’t yet learned my feelings were valid. Life just is, when one is so young. You don’t know that life can be different. You don’t know that you can be different. Each day seems so much the same, with the same drudgeries being replayed and replayed again. School. Homework. Chores.
I suppose I could have written about the books I was reading, but I had not yet learned to be critical. I read in the same way I breathed: inhaling without thinking about it.
When I grew up and left town for a while, I used to write letters to good friends, telling about my trials and tribulations, but after a friend found some of my old letters and read them back to me, as if expecting me to share her hilarity at my naivete, I stopped writing my thoughts and feelings to anyone, not even myself. I still talked about such things, but I never again wanted a record for anyone to laugh at. (She thought I would like to know how much I had grown after the letters had been written, but I didn’t see that at all; I only saw that the younger me with all that angst had become a figure of fun.)
And yet here I am, telling the world my every thought, my every pain, even my triumphs.
Although this blog — this weblog — was not supposed to be anything more than a platform for my author-ity (authorness?), it became so much more after Jeff died — a scream of pain, a way of finding sanity in the chaos of grief, a place to tell the truth about what I was feeling. Later, as the pain abated, it became a way of tracking my growing will to live, to become someone who could survive — and thrive — alone.
Even later, it became something of a travelogue, as I wrote about my various road trips, and later still, it became the chronical of first-time homeowner.
What I have ended up with, after all these years, is that diary I never had the discipline to keep when I was younger. I seldom go back and read older articles, but they are here if I ever need to remember all I have done in the years after Jeff’s death.
Mostly, though, I just write for the day. It has become a way of standing tall, and saying to the world — and myself — “This is who I am right now.”
And who I am right now is someone who is celebrating her 3,000th blog post.
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