Another Stage of Waning Grief

Yesterday I wrote about how I am now feeling three and a third years after the death of my life mate/soul mate. I admitted I wasn’t feeling much. My life seems empty. There’s no oomph. No spark.

I wish I wanted something, was in love with something, felt something besides ever-fading sorrow. But I don’t know how to go from where I am to where I need to be.

And it’s not just me who feels this way. From the comments and emails I received, it seems as if many others who also lost their mates in 2010 feel the same as I do. Some people who lost their mates that year are in new relationships, have done something opening roseequally significant to jump-start their life, or have children to raise by themselves, but unless fate intervenes, the rest of us have to figure out how to accomplish a new beginning by ourselves. And we haven’t a clue how to do it.

I basically live the same way now as I did when I was coupled, but what took on significance when it was for “us” seems lame when it’s just for me. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worthy — of course I do because I am. It’s more that when the two of us were together, everything we did somehow seemed to help build our shared life. Every idea seemed to expand “us.” Every finished project seemed to fulfill “us.” Even something as simple as jointly preparing a meal was for “us.” Each of those things was also an act of love, a commitment to each other, even if it didn’t seem so at the time, which made them doubly or triply significant.

Now a meal is just a meal. A project finished is nothing more than a task completed. A bright idea is simply blog fodder.

If I were new, starting out in life for the first time, none of this would be a problem since everything is new and exciting when one is young, but I’ve done most of what I wanted to, or at least tried to do it. To be honest, the things I wanted to do were essentially cerebral — reading, researching, thinking, writing. I haven’t traveled the world but never wanted to. Haven’t lived lavishly but see no need for it. Haven’t partied till I dropped but never had the energy for it. I have done volunteer work but now there’s no cause I’m passionate about. (I’m still doing volunteer work, but it’s mostly online, so it doesn’t do much to give me something to live for.)

It’s possible this oomphlessness is simply another stage of waning grief — it generally takes four to five years to fall in love with life again (assuming one was ever in love with life) and most of us 2010ers are still many months away from that magic number. If this is the case, the emptiness will disappear by itself once I’ve come to term with it, or it will metamorphose into another equally confusing phase.

But it’s also possible this is what my life is, in which case I’ll have to find a way to make the insignificant happenings significant again, because frankly, spending the rest of my days feeling like this is unthinkable.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.