The Surprising Power of Grief

The power of grief still manages to surprise me. I thought I was moving beyond its reach, but apparently, no matter how well I do, it still has the power to bring me low.

I haven’t had a major upsurge of grief for quite a while now. (I can’t remember the last time, to be honest.) Partly, I’ve been aware of my triggers, such as Saturday (the day he died), and being hungry, angry, lonely, tired (H.A.L.T.) and I am especially careful at those times. I’ve put away his photo so I don’t catch sight of it unawares, and I try to look forward, not backward. Still, despite all that, yesterday grief came sweeping into my life, and I had to let it run its course.

Why yesterday? Perhaps because I’m keeping busy as the week heads into Saturday and I maintain that busyness as the new week leaves Saturday behind, so that now I am most vulnerable in the middle of the week when my guard is down.

Perhaps because it was Halloween, and traditionally, Halloween is the night when the dead are closest to us here on Earth.

Perhaps because on Tuesday, for the first time, I felt as if I were awakening to life again. Every step forward seems to be celebrated with an upsurge of grief at what is being left behind, and this was an immense step that could only be celebrated with an immense upsurge of grief.

Or perhaps there was no reason at all.

My life mate/soul mate died two and a half years ago, and despite all those months of grieving, despite all the thousands of words I have written to make sense of what I experienced, I still do not completely understand the forces at work when it comes to grief. All I can do when grief hits is what anyone does in a storm — ride it out the best I can and wait for the calm.


Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy 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.” Connect with Pat on Google+