Letter to a Grieving Friend

Hello, my friend.

I understand what you said about the continuity of attachment even after death. At the beginning of my grief, I held to the thought that I was sparing my life mate — my soul mate — from ever having to grieve for me since he died first, then it occured to me that if, in fact, we continue to live somewhere beyond this earth, maybe he is feeling as lost as I am, as disconnected, and as lonely. That took away the last bit of comfort I had. My other thought was that even if something of us survives, I will never see him again. When he and I met all those years ago, I had the strange notion that he was some sort of exalted being come to help me find truth and reality (when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, they say). I’m not sure why I thought I was so special, but the time when we met was steeped in mysticism for me. I sometime wonder if perhaps my grief is so difficult because our separation is truly forever, that by the time I die, he will have taken his rightful place somewhere high up in the pantheon of radiance, and I’ll still be muddling along without him. Such strange thoughts that beset us bereft!

I’m beginning to realize that in some way my grief might always be a part of my life. It’s too immense, this thing called death. Too hard to deal with the reality of it. Oftentimes when people mention how the loss of their mate helped them become the person they were meant to be, it makes me cringe, as if the loved one was an adjunct to their life, not a life in itself. But we all deal with life and death the best we can. My grief has two parts: my missing him and his being missing from this world. Both feelings will be with me forever. And through it all, grief really is molding me into what I will become. I thought I’d have arrived at that place of becoming by now, but it’s still a long way away.

Supposedly, people who deal best with the hole in their lives are those who continue to have a connection to the person, such as still talking to them or writing to them. What is the difference between that and a fantasy? Either way, the person has no physical being (except, in the case of the dead, as dust in the ground or pulverized bone — cremains as the funeral business so cutely calls them). But perhaps that attachment even after death is what makes the difference.

I’ve decided that a life of fun and/or adventure is the only thing that will make the coming years tolerable, yet I have no idea how to have fun. Don’t even know what fun is, except perhaps doing new things or learning new things.

I feel as if I am disappearing, though. So many friends, even friends I made after his death, have disappeared from my life, and I worry that I will disappear, too. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. I’ve been looking at photos of me as a child, and I am no longer that person, can’t even remember what I was thinking or feeling when the photos were taken (can’t even remember having my picture taken) so that youthful “me” has disappeared. Maybe when today’s me disappears, I’ll be not simply old and decrepit, but different somehow, and able to handle the challenges that the future will bring.

I hold to the idea that maybe someday you and I will have a grand adventure together.

Your sister in sorrow,
Pat