The Current Year Will Bring Me Much Happiness

I went to Sacramento for a couple of days to set up my books at a special-ed teacher’s conference. When I opened my suitcase to unpack, I found a little surprise — a note from the TSA telling me they had searched my checked bag. (They also had searched my carry-on bag. Apparently, books are so dense, they show up as fog on the screen.) This was the first time I’d checked a bag — I prefer to travel light, but the suitcase was mostly filled with books, and I knew I’d never be able to lift it up to fit in the overhead bin — so I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, I didn’t lock the bag. So, no harm done.

We had Chinese food while I was there, and since my friend doesn’t eat sweets, I ended up with both fortune cookies. The first one I opened said, “The current year will bring you much happiness.” That pleased me until it occurred to me that perhaps that particular fortune was meant for my friend. So I opened the second cookie. It said, “The current year will bring you much happiness.” Apparently, this is going to be a good year!

I sold a few books in Sacramento, which was nice. Visited with the friend who had invited me to share her table, which was nicer.

Already my fortune is coming true!

selling books


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand 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.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Letting It Be

My previous post chronicled my thought processes as I watched the video “Let It Be” that is making the rounds. As I said in that bloggery, At first I thought that perhaps this was the answer to my confusion over the death of my mate of thirty-four years. Just go on with my life and let it be. Forget my grief. Forget the pain of losing him. Forget trying to make sense of it all. Just . . . let it be.

When I first wrote that a few days ago, something in me let loose, and though I claimed I did not want to let it be (whatever it is) I haven’t been the same since. At least not exactly the same. I still had my usual Saturday upsurge of grief (preceded by a late night — I don’t seem to be able to go to sleep until after 1:40 am on Friday night, the time of his death) but I felt sad rather than soul-broken. I’ve even had a few moments when I could actually feel glimmers of life.

I can’t forget my grief or the pain of losing him, though both are slowly diminishing. And I can’t stop trying to make sense of my life. That’s who I am and always will be — a truth seeker. But I can let go of trying to make sense of his life.

It has haunted me all these months — the dual vision of the young radiant man he was when we met and the skin-covered skeleton he’d become. Were all those years of illness worth living? He was often in pain and wanted to be done with life, yet he kept striving to live until the very end. I remember those last years, months, days, and I still cry for him and his doomed efforts. But he doesn’t need those tears. His ordeal only lives in my memory. And that is what I am letting be. It is not for me to make sense of his life or his death. It is not for me to keep suffering for him now that he is gone.

A fortune cookie I read the other day said, “Cleaning up the past will always clear up the future.” Much of my grief has been about cleaning up the past — coming to terms with small every day betrayals, with dreams that never came true, with leftover worries. I have cleaned up the past, gradually worked through those conundrums. What is left is the habit of dwelling on the past, and that I can let be. It does neither of us any good.

Will it clear up the future for me? Perhaps. At the very least, it will help me face the future. Whatever that might be.