I’m continuing with my daily tarot readings, though I have reverted to a single card reading. I’ve also started to use the same deck all the time rather than switching to a different one each month. The Crowley Thoth deck is not one I particularly like, but I do have a great handbook that goes with the deck: Tarot Mirror of the Soul.

As the title suggests, this particular guidebook, more than any other, uses the tarot as a mirror to reflect inner realities without judgment and to offer new perspectives. Ideally, anyway. Admittedly, the tarot itself it a tool for self-exploration, though I have not often found it to be so. This book, though, gives me something to reflect on each day. Often the focus doesn’t seem to reflect my life except in a general way, but other times it accurately reflects what I am thinking.

For example, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to continue with the sole remaining group/club I belong to. At the beginning, it was fun; there were only a few members and I liked them all. A couple of them even became good friends. Because of the busyness of life, this is about the only time I see these people, which is a good reason to keep up with the group. Another good reason is that since it’s the only group I belong to, it’s the only time, other than my job, where I routinely see people.

But, as with all things, over the past couple of years, the group changed. There are a lot more people now, more than I am comfortable being around. Also, with more people come more issues, such as cliques and undercurrents and those who want to make it all about themselves. I get the feeling I’m the only one who senses these things because all the other members seem to have embraced the new people without realizing — or caring — how much things have changed, which make me feel like an outsider.

Unfortunately, the good and the bad seem equally balanced, making the decision of whether to stay with the group impossible.

This inner conflict was in the back of my mind when I picked yesterday’s card — the eight of swords. The Mirror of the Soul cautions, “You will not be able to come to a decision analytically. Your doubt, or fears of making the wrong choice, constantly destroys your inner clarity. No matter where you turn, no satisfactory solution seems to exist. The more you try to untangle the ball of yarn, the tighter the knots become.” The Mirror of the Soul goes on to offer this solution to the conundrum: “Relax and let things develop on their own. The problem which seems unsolvable now will find its own solution in its own way.”

Good advice, for sure, and I planned to follow it, though I was so taken with the tarot reading and the way it reflected what I was feeling, that I’d been thinking about how to present both the problem and the tarot’s solution in a blog post. Apparently, the tarot doesn’t think this is good enough because today’s card was the same as yesterday’s, with the same admonition to relax and let things develop on their own.

Something to reflect on, that’s for sure!


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.


The fiction world is fueled by secrets. If no character had a secret, there would be no story to tell — at least, not many — because most often stories revolve around uncovering secrets, what people will do to keep those secrets from being uncovered, what the consequences are for letting the secret out both for the one holding the secret and the one discovering it, and how those secrets determine the lives of those affected by the secrets.

Some secrets the characters keep from themselves. Romance is a good example of this, especially in the pointless type of romance where the characters fight all the time to keep from letting themselves know the truth — that they’ve fallen in love.

Some secrets are silly. Again, romance is a good example, especially in the Hallmark Christmas movie kind of romance where the ultra-successful heroine goes back home to find that her first love has also returned. The secret they are protecting turns out not to be a secret at all but a misunderstanding stemming from their inability to communicate. An Affair to Remember is one such example and although it’s not a Hallmark movie, it’s just as silly — to me, anyway.

Other secrets are more serious — murders, hit-and-run accidents, hidden pregnancies, babies given up for adoption, false or forgotten identities, abuse that’s hidden by both the abused and the abuser, teen peer pressure that gets out of hand resulting in a tragedy that ripples for decades.

And some secrets are multigenerational — something one’s grandparents did, for example, that influences the current generation. Janeane Garofalo’s movie The Matchmaker is a good example of this, where a politician looks for his Irish roots in the wrong place.

(I am amused by my mention of movies since books are what I’m thinking of, but the sad truth is that I remember titles from movies I saw years ago and not the title of the book I just finished reading. It’s not a memory issue; it’s that I don’t really pay attention to book titles.)

All of these secrets make me wonder if everyone is hiding a secret, or if that’s just a fictional conceit. I can’t really think of any secrets in my life that would be enough to motivate a story of any genre. There are things I don’t talk about, of course — there’s no reason to bare my total past, especially the things I did as a child that I am ashamed of — but what small secrets I have are not enough to drive a story. I suppose there are things in my heritage that could be considered a secret since no one really knows the truth. For example, the story goes that my great-grandfather, an inventor and peer of Edison and Tesla, had two wives. One he locked in an insane asylum, the other he threw down the stairs, but no one knows which of those women is our great-grandmother. Not that it matters — we obviously get whatever instability we have from the paternal side.

It does give me a different perspective of the world, though, this idea of everyone hiding a secret. Because those secrets generally don’t devolve into murder and mayhem, I can continue to take people at face value.

But still, I wonder what all of you are hiding.


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.

Leisure Time

Today’s blog prompt is: what do you enjoy doing most in your leisure time? At first glance this looks like yesterday’s prompt about what you do for fun, but as I got to thinking about it, there are differences — although “enjoyment” is an aspect of fun, “fun” isn’t necessarily an aspect of enjoyment.

For example, yesterday was an enjoyable day. I walked to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things that I needed, and I saw a friend there. She offered me a ride, so we visited as we meandered the store and then continued chatting as she drove me home. Such surprise meetings with friends are always enjoyable. Later, friends brought dinner over here and we just sat and visited. It was too low key to be “fun,” but it was certainly enjoyable. (Though after a while, we had to make a concerted effort not to talk about homeowner’s insurance. Theirs went up as much as mine, and we were all still reeling from the shock of it. It got to be too depressing — and not at all enjoyable — to discuss the idiocies and unfairness of the insurance racket.)

Though perhaps that doesn’t answer the question. One definition of leisure time (I Googled it, of course!) is free time spent away from such activities as work, chores, errands, eating, and sleeping. If that’s the case, then yesterday’s enjoyable activities weren’t done in leisure time, since in the first instance, the enjoyment revolved around errands and in the second instance the enjoyment revolved around eating. Come to think of it, all of my visits with friends involve those activities. If I’m not hitching a ride with friends to go shopping, then we’re sitting around and eating. Still, by my simple definition (awake time not spent working), that’s still leisure time since all my awake time is free time except for the few hours a week I spend working. After all, I don’t have to do chores or errands at any given time; I can wait until they are not a burden but are rather enjoyable.

On days like yesterday, what I most enjoyed doing in my leisure time was visiting with friends, on other days, such as today, what I most enjoy doing is being by myself, not having to deal with problems, and not talking to anyone, not even cherished friends.

The way I figure it, my days are enjoyable either way.


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.

Not Happy Ever After

I don’t often read romances, but I will in a book emergency, such as if I need something simple to read while waiting, if I’m not feeling well enough to focus on a more complicated book, or if I know I’ll be frequently interrupted. But I might be rethinking this policy and go back to my “no romance” stance of previous years. I just finished reading a particularly silly romance, where the woman owns a major hotel chain, is super rich, contented with her life, has good friends and a beloved godchild or two. What she doesn’t have is a man, though she’s not the one who feels the lack — it’s her friends who think she needs more in her life.

It turns out there is a man in her life — an employee who’s been in love with her for years. Frustrated that she doesn’t even know he’s alive (except as a valuable part of the organization), he gives his notice, then starts treating her badly. He doesn’t tell her what’s going on but expects her to intuit it. Knows she’s naïve when it comes to relationships (because when would she ever have had time for a relationship?) yet doesn’t make allowances for her naivete and expects her to be as knowledgeable as he is. He introduces her to his family, and when she gives an expensive gift to his sister who is getting married, he throws it at her and yells that his family is not for sale. He grabs her for a kiss and then pushes her away. All this is typical “grooming” behavior for a predator who wants to control another person.

By the end of the book, they are married and living in his house, he is running her company, and she is reduced to working part time. This is supposed to be a good thing because it allows her to do the things other wives “love” to do, like cook and clean and play around with hobbies. Yeah, right.

Since most of what I read are mysteries or thrillers (with a sprinkling of horror and science fiction), all I can think of is that this is the prelude to the real story, where he continues to distance her from her friends and ultimately “disappears” her.

In fact, Jeff once taped a movie for us that was similar to this extended story. The first half of the movie was all sweetness and light. The lonely young woman found someone who loved her and treated her well (unlike the fellow in the above book). She happily married him, moved to his gorgeous home in another state, and . . .

That’s where Jeff ended the movie. He cut out the part where the loving husband terrorized her before trying to kill her and so what was left was a nice, sweet short film of a misfit girl who finds her perfect fit.

Perhaps, in the end, that’s what this romance writer did — cut out the real story, got rid of the violence and terror, and left us with a short romance that was anything but sweet, and definitely not happy ever after!


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.

Real Life Beach Read

The term “beach read” started out as an advertising gimmick for books published in the summer for the beach-going crowd. They were non-challenging books, a bit frothy and fun, and could be almost any genre as long as the story was good enough to keep one’s attention but not so serious it would spoil one’s vacation. Nowadays “beach read” seems to be an actual genre, generally a romance or woman’s story that takes place at the beach. In a typical beach story, three sisters who are all at a crossroad in their lives end up at the family’s beach house, often to figure out what to do with house they jointly inherited in the hope that a sale will help solve their various issues. The book ends up with all their problems being resolved as well as the three disparate and far-flung sisters reconnecting and reestablishing their sisterhood.

My sisters recently came to visit, and I couldn’t help thinking I was living in a real life “beach read.” They weren’t here to help resolve the issue of our parents’ house because that had been taken care of eight years before. (Oddly, they just happened to be here on the eighth anniversary of our father’s death, but it was our mother we toasted with her favorite Bailey’s Irish Cream.) And anyway, this house is a done deal — it’s mine and mine alone.

We had no serious issues to resolve, and no true crossroads, though both sisters are dealing with a change in their circumstances, and the visit allowed them a respite from their respective issues. We had reconnected as sisters during our first “three sisters” weekend, but we haven’t all been together in the intervening four-and-a-half years. And rather surprisingly, this was the first time ever the three of us spent the night alone under the same roof.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about hosting this gathering (three women and one bathroom seemed an untenable equation), and I didn’t know how generous I’d be about sharing my house. But it all worked out well, perhaps because they didn’t stay long, just a couple of nights. It was fun being with people who had known me most of my life (I say “most” because one sister is eight years younger and one is twelve years younger). And it was especially nice solidifying our sisterhood.

Even though I live in a town way out on the prairie, we even managed to spend some time at a beach!

The body of water — a reservoir — is huge, 30 square miles, and is adjacent to a 13,100-acre state park. Obviously, there wasn’t a whole lot of the place we could explore in one afternoon, but we managed to see several beautiful areas and take some stunning photos.

Unlike the characters in a beach read, I don’t suppose any of our lives were changed by the visit, but it definitely was a special time for all of us.


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.

Unplanned Joys

Today was a day of unplanned joys. You can’t plan such a day. Well, you can I suppose, but too many things have to come together, and some of those things — such as the weather — can’t be counted on. But today, the weather was perfect. Truly a joy.

Despite the lovely weather, I wanted a change from my typical morning of weeding. Not that the weeds were all gone — they’re not, and may never be gone, though come winter, they should go dormant along with almost everything else. But I needed to do something different, so I decided to clean my house. There was only a thin veneer of dust, but once that veneer was gone, it became apparent just how dingy the floors and furniture had become. But now, what a joy! Everything sparkles like new, or as new as a 94-year-old house can be.

Still charged with energy, I took a brief walk — also unplanned until the very minute I put on my walking shoes and headed out the door. When I came back, a friend came to visit. Admittedly, the visit had been planned. Because of her health issues, I hadn’t seen her for a long time, and we needed to catch up. We sat out in my gazebo, enjoying each other’s company, the lovely day, and the cool breeze. It was great seeing her, and even greater seeing how well she’s doing. (That part was one of the unplanned joys since I had no idea what to expect.)

After she left, I took a brief break for lunch, and then I got a text from another friend who wanted to know if this was a good time to visit. She and the woman she looked after had been wanting to come see my yard and try out my gazebo, but the weather has been a problem — too windy or too hot or too rainy. Well, today was none of those things, and so they finally were able to come.

I enjoyed showing off my yard and flowers, trying (but not succeeding) to disregard the areas of dead grass. I know I’ve said I won’t let those brown spots bother me, but it’s hard not to notice the dullness in comparison with the bright emerald green of the healthy areas. Luckily, my friends only looked at what was there, not what wasn’t.

Before they left, I showed them around my house. Which makes me wonder — did cleaning the house today somehow put all these unplanned joys into effect? Or was it merely a happy chance that today of all days, I felt like cleaning? Not that it matters — it just felt good to know the house looked its best.

And now, here I am, visiting with you. That, too, is a joy, though a planned one.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Grief and Loss of Friendship

A recent widow wrote to Dear Abby because her best friend is blowing her off, cancelling plans, and not calling or texting. The widow is understandably upset because not only is she mourning the loss her husband, she’s mourning the loss of a friendship as well as being hurt and confused because she doesn’t understand her friend’s behavior.

Neither does Abby. (Understand the friend’s behavior, that is.) As she so often does, the advice columnist doesn’t bother to go into depth with her answer, just suggests that the widow join a grief support group and to keep busy so she doesn’t “brood.” After that, according to Abby, the widow can confront her friend if she decides it’s in her best interest.

Normally, that weak answer would make me think the columnist was ignorant of grief, but she herself is a widow. (She’s also 80 years old, which means she should be a lot wiser than she tends to be.)

A woman who recently lost her husband and whose best friend wants nothing to do with her is grieving, not “brooding.” She’s also doubly alone, and loneliness tends to exacerbate grief. So many of us who have also been left alone (with the obvious exception of the columnist) know the truth of grief — that it takes you in its grip and doesn’t let go until it’s ready to let you go.

As for the friend, it probably wouldn’t do any good to confront her. Chances are she has no idea why she’s ignoring her widowed friend. I’m sure the friend feels uncomfortable and hesitant to be around the widow, but if she’s like most people who are still married (I’m making an assumption here), she can’t handle the other woman’s grief because if she gives it any credence, then she also has to accept the possibility that she herself will one day be in the same unimaginable situation.

Death is shrouded with an element of blank. It is the great unknown and unknowable, and our brains are not equipped to handle the immensity. We who are left alone have no choice but to grapple with all the conundrums death brings, but others can and do choose to ignore the whole situation. And they choose to ignore us, because — to them —we are the situation.

While we are in the grip of our grief, the survival mechanisms of those around us are triggered. To avoid facing the unfaceable, people close to us will indulge in self-protective behaviors that shut us out. Some also sense that our needs are so great and so complicated that they would be best not to get too involved. And perhaps they sense their own inadequacy at dealing with the very topic of death.

Even though I’m sure they know deep down they are being unfair, people blame the grievers, as if the grief-stricken had done something to bring on their fate. (That in this case the husband died of The Bob would make it even easier to blame the victim, because either the widow or her husband should have been smart enough to avoid getting sick.) We humans simply cannot handle the idea that life is capricious, that we are living at the whim of fate. (I think learning to handle that concept is part of why grief takes so long. The biggest part, of course, is that someone intrinsic to our lives is gone, leaving us with a huge hole in us and in our life.)

It’s possible that one day the friend will resume the friendship when the raw grief the widow is feeling has been tempered by time and work (grief work, that is). It’s possible the friend will excuse her behavior the way people always do, professing that she thought the widow would be uncomfortable with couples or with people who are still coupled. It’s possible the friend will assume they can get back on the same easy footing they once had, but that easy footing won’t ever happen. Even if the widow comes to understand the friend’s behavior, it’s hard for me to believe that she’d ever be able to let down her guard around someone who so willfully let her down. But more than that, grief changes people. It’s as if a line was drawn, and those on the loss side see things differently from those on the “no loss yet” side.

A fellow griever once told me she had a friend who treated her as if her grief was a small thing, telling her to get over it, to move on, all the usual platitudes. Later, when the friend’s husband died, she called to apologize because she hadn’t known the truth of how hard it is to lose someone to death. As she discovered, you can’t know until you’ve been there, which is why I sometimes give people the benefit of the doubt when they offer paltry advice and scant comfort to people who are hurting. But it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who has been there, yet still offers little help or understanding.

The letter writer should have come to me instead of writing Dear Abby. I do offer grievers both help and understanding, as well as a few stray tears of empathy.

At least I do now. Before Jeff died, however, I was as impatient and as uncomfortable as everyone else on the clueless side of the line.


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.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

When I left my parents’ house and was living on my own in an apartment, my father said he never worried about me. It wasn’t so much that he thought I could take care of myself. It was that when I was out of sight, I was out mind. This sort of philosophy has followed me much of my life. People always enjoyed being with me, but when I wasn’t around, they seldom thought to call. (When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a lot of friends who seemed to like me, but I got tired of being the one to carry the friendships, so one day I decided to wait until one friend called and then I’d check in with everyone. No one called. Not one person. Either they didn’t like me as much as I thought they did, or they succumbed to the whole “out of sight, out of mind,” mentality.)

Apparently, despite the spectacle I make of myself with my fifty-year-old iconic car and my fancy hats, I am forgettable. Though he denies it, my contractor forgets me, which is why, when I haven’t heard from him in a while, I text him to remind him I am still here and he still has work to do on my place. The text doesn’t get the work done because as he becomes involved in other things, I slip from his mind again. (Though to be fair, he did send someone out last week to pound down the metal edgings along my pathways without my reminding him.)

My car mechanic is the same way. Every week for the past few weeks, I’ve stopped by to find out what he’s doing about getting the part for my brakes, and every time he says he’ll drop by my house to take a photo of the necessary part. (The part he ordered didn’t fit, even though it was supposed to.) And every week, as soon as I left, he promptly forgot me.

I’m being halfway facetious with this “out of sight, out of mind” scenario because I could nag the poor workers until they finally showed up. But maybe they wouldn’t show up anyway. Considering how busy they are, even if they didn’t forget me, they probably wouldn’t be able to fit my atypical jobs into their schedule. And in a way it’s okay since this gives me a lien on their time, so that when emergencies arise, I feel comfortable calling. And they are very good about taking care of emergencies.

Are my brakes an emergency? They could have been. With all the nearby fires last week and all the evacuations, I would have been in a pickle if I had to evacuate. Of course, my neighbors would have offered a ride (if they remembered me), but then I’d have to leave my car behind. Generally, though, the brakes not working don’t qualify as an emergency since I walk to do local errands, and I go with a friend when she hits the “big city” to stock up. (We joke about the big city, but it’s merely a slightly bigger town with a Walmart.)

Today, as usual, I visited the mechanic’s shop, and he seemed a bit embarrassed when he realized that he’d spaced me again out last week. So he promised to come for sure today.

And he did.

Now that he has a picture of the part he needs, it’s just a matter of finding it. I did tell him about an air-cooled-VW parts place that has a help line, so if he can’t find the master cylinder, they might be able to help him get one. You can buy all the parts necessary to build your own classic VW Beetle from scratch, so it seems rather strange that something as important as the brakes would be hard to find, but what do I know. Even though I’ve had the car for fifty years, I still don’t know a whole lot about how it’s all put together. (I’ve actually learned quite a bit over the years, just not how to fix anything.)

The mechanic doesn’t need to remember me to order the part; he just needs to look for it, and I’m sure he will do so since a part is probably more memorable than I am.

Once the VW bug is fixed, maybe I’ll start bugging my contractor more frequently to see if we can get some of the work done around here. Maybe.


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.

On the Q.T. at the D.Q.

I made a new friend today. We’ve actually been friends (or at least friendly) for a couple of years, but until today, all of our conversations have taken place during transactions at her place of work. She’s retired now, so we decided to continue our friendship outside of the confines of her job.

I was going to invite her for tea at my place, but at the last moment decided it might be awkward, so I suggested we meet at Dairy Queen for coffee. I needn’t have worried. We had no problem talking about all sorts of things from The Bob to religion to the slap heard around the world. (Yep, even I and my sparse contact with the world at large heard about the slap.) In fact, in all that talking, we somehow forgot to order coffee. We’d like to make “having coffee” a weekly thing, but as my tea friends are aware, it’s often easy to let life get in the way and sometimes hard to make the effort. But we’ll see how it goes.

There were only two other customers in the restaurant most of the time we were there, a couple I thought I knew fairly well, but when they stopped to talk to my friend, they barely acknowledged me. Later, they came up to me, finally smiling in recognition. I wasn’t wearing a hat, you see, which is why they didn’t recognize me at first. It was cold when I walked to our meeting and so wore a stocking cap to keep my head and ears warm, and I took the hat off because it was too hot to wear inside. Apparently, “Pat in the Hat” isn’t easily identified when there isn’t a hat on her head. I didn’t purposely go to the D.Q on the Q.T., but if ever I do need to be incognito, I now know what to do — go hatless.

Still, the couple did eventually recognize me, and we had a nice chat before they headed out the door.

These three weren’t the only people I visited with today. On the way to Dairy Queen, I stopped at the bank and saw my contractor. We had a nice visit, catching up on each other’s news (nonexistent in my case) and talking about the work still needing to be done around my place.

I’ve often wondered what my social life will be like when my job inevitably comes to an end. I don’t want to go back to the senior center and play games. I don’t want to do the three-times-a-week lunches at the center or the once-a-month dinner put on by the churches. And, because of The Bob, it will be a long time before I am willing to be in a crowd or around a lot of strangers. I’m hoping, of course, to be able to have tea with friends more often, and perhaps if obligations aren’t tugging at me, it will be easier to make arrangements.

But then, going by today, I won’t need to do much of anything if I want to be social — just step out my door, do whatever it is I need to do, and chances are I’ll see someone I know. Of course, I’ll need to be sure to wear a hat so people will recognize me, but considering that warmer weather is coming, it’s a sure bet I’ll have on a topper.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Sad Day

I was sad last night, but it had nothing to do with Jeff or me or the anniversary of his death. I had to say good-bye to a friend who is heading back to Thailand to care for his wife until the end. The doctors’ prognoses for her have varied over the past several months, from a possible three months left to maybe a year or two, so he’s not planning on coming back any time soon. He smiled when he said good-bye, but his eyes were bleak. I cannot imagine doing what he is doing — leaving the country for an indefinite stay so he can give his wife the care she needs. It’s so very heroic. Sad, but heroic. Admittedly, he’s fine with living elsewhere, but his previous lengthy visits to other countries have been for fun and education, rather than for the heartbreaking task that is awaiting him this time. Even worse, he tries to put on a happy face since she doesn’t want anyone to be sad on her account.

I can’t help being sad over the situation because his wife is a dear sister/friend. From the beginning, although we are different nationalities, grew up on opposite sides of the globe, and had a bit of a language problem, we discovered a strong connection to each other. All I can do for either of them, the one cared for and her caregiver, is to continue looking after their house to give them one less thing to worry about.

Not wanting to feel sad (because even if the end is coming, my friend is alive and happy now despite her infirmities), I kept myself busy all day. I went for a walk, cleaned my floors, cleaned my clothes, cleaned me, fixed a nice meal (a salad and an overloaded-with-spinach frittata), and did various other small chores.

And now I am here, dumping my sadness into the ether where I have deposited so much sadness over the years.

After today, I intend to honor her wishes and think of her at home in Thailand. Happy. With her husband and family and old friends.

But first, I need to get through today.


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.