Figuring Things Out

For the past two months, I’ve been dealing with a situation I can’t write about. It’s outside the scope of this blog, and the people involved would be terribly hurt if I were to make the drama public. It’s a sadly inevitable predicament, with roots dating back to my childhood, and without being able to write about it, I haven’t had any way to deal with my grief over the situation except walking. And tears.

I’ve foundDesert paths myself crying at odd moments, and it’s been comforting, being in the embrace of this old friend. Like most people, I used to think tears were a sign of weakness, but now I know they are a way of getting rid of the hormones that build up with stress. They are also a way of connecting to one’s inner self, as if that self is saying, “There, there. Everything is going to be okay.”

And maybe things will be okay. Eventually. I’ll figure out my dilemma, if only how to deal with the fallout of the situation.

Today I went out walking earlier than normal to try to beat the heat, and apparently that’s what many others did because I saw a lot of people out and about. I don’t like meeting other people when I walk. Walking is my private time, a means of getting in touch with myself and my surroundings, a place to open myself to inspiration and mystical thoughts, a way to deal with my problems, and people disrupt all that. Since the foot traffic kept me away from my usual route to the desert, I took a different direction to get to the back trail I prefer — the trail is a demanding walk with lots of ups and downs and in certain areas a cool wind comes drifting down the hills. Also, for some reason, it’s where I talk to my deceased life mate/soul mate. (I’ve never been able to figure out why I associate him with that particular area. He never liked the desert, he hated the heat, and he’d never been within a thousand miles of the place.)

When I found my way to that back trail, I said aloud to him, “See? I figured it out.” And then I realized how true the words were. During all these years of dealing with the dying of my life mate/soul mate and my ensuing grief, I’ve had a lot of trauma thrown at me, but I figured out each step. I had to deal with funeral services people, get rid of his things, clear out the twenty-year accumulation in our home, store what I wanted to keep, get myself to my father’s house so I could look after him, learn to live with grief and all its torments, deal with the challenges of the book world and of the world in general.

Although I worry too much (I call it weighing my options), and don’t always know where I am headed, when it comes time to take action, I do manage to figure things out. And I have no doubt I’ll continue doing so, which is a good thing. Life isn’t finished throwing challenges at me — besides my current dilemma, there’s still my father’s decline, my need to restart my life when he’s gone, the vicissitudes of aging to deal with alone, and a host of other difficulties that will be sure to taunt me — but I will figure things out when I get there.


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.

A New Permutation Of Grief?

The months keep passing. Thirty-seven of them have come and gone since the death of my life mate/soul mate.

I never imagined I would continue to be so affected by his absence after all this time. And back at the beginning of this bereft life, I never imagined I would survive to this point. The pain and shock of new grief was so vast that it took my breath away. (Grammar Check has underlined that phrase “took my breath away” as being trite. They want me to change it to “astounded me.” Yes, the pain astounded me, but the truth is, it literally took my breath away. I remember gasping for air, unable to suck enough oxygen into my lungs to make them inflate.)

Even now, all these months later, the thought that he is dead still has the power to steal my breath.

I am doing as well as anyone who has lost the one person who connected them to the world, and perhaps a bit better — or worse — than some in my “grief age group.” (Though this is not a contest. We have all lost, and we keep on losing every day they are Low tidegone.) I can get through the days, sometimes quite peacefully. I am lonely, of course, and even more than that, I am lonesome for him, but still, I do okay. I keep busy, both online and off, and I am getting used to his absence. Sort of.

But . . . when I remember the reason that he is absent — that he is dead, gone from this earth, forever beyond the reach of my arms — I again forget how to breathe. I gasp for air that somehow doesn’t make it beyond the tears that are blocking my throat.

Tears always seem to be pooling deep inside, even when I am at my most content, and they spill over at the least provocation. I find myself crying at losses (my own and other people’s, especially if they have lost a soul mate). I cry at changes, including change of season. (I’m not crying because the seasons changed, of course, but seasonal changes create corresponding hormonal changes in the body, and those changes bring on the tears.)

And I cry at movies. I’ve been going through my mate’s movie collection, and it’s rare for me to get through an entire movie without tears. I cry when a character leaves, because it reminds me that he left. I cry when a character returns because it reminds me that he never will come back. I cry at the moments we used to turn to each other and smile in shared enjoyment. The last time I watched these movies, I watched them with him, and sometimes I weep when the movie is over, no matter what the ending, because never again will I watch it with him.

This oversensitivity and tears might be a new permutation of grief (others who have lost their mates around the same time I did are also dealing with this same tendency to weepiness). Or it could be that my grief has changed me in some fundamental way, and now tears are a way of life.

Whatever the reason, this hypersensitivity is just something else to deal with as the months — and years — of this grief journey slip by.


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.