A New Pattern of Grief

I’ve lived ninety-three Saturdays since the death of my life mate/soul mate. Of course, I’ve lived ninety-three of each of the other days, too, but Saturday is the day I cross the Rubicon. (Or do I mean it’s the day I meet my Waterloo?) Either way, it continues to be my sadder day, the day he died, the day I always have an upswing of grief.

People think that by counting these sadder days I am steeping myself in grief, when the truth is, the sadness comes even before I know what day it is. Something deep inside of me is counting the weeks of this new life of mine. I’m sure there will come a time when first one Saturday passes without an extra burst of melancholy, and then another, and eventually my internal datekeeper will forget the day ever had a special meaning.

But not yet.

I truly thought I’d be done with grief by now. I’ve had several periods of relative stasis where I felt as if I’d moved beyond the sorrow, but so far, my grief has always returned, and it will probably continue to return for many months to come. It seems as if this process takes three to five years. Most people I’ve talked to who lost a mate say it took them four years to find the joy of living again. My twenty-one months, in comparison, falls way short of that.

Lately, a new pattern has been emerging. After a grief burst, there is a backwash of serenity, an acceptance of life as it now is, a determination to deal with my remaining years as best as I can. I even start thinking about the future, trying to imagine things I might try or places I might go. My mind drifts and I wonder how he will like those things or places. Then I realize . . . again . . . that he is dead, and grief washes over me.

I feel like a not very bright child who keeps running into a wall because she can’t quite understand her inability to pass through to the other side. For me, his total goneness from this life is my wall. I don’t understand death, don’t think our brains are wired to understand it, yet I keep running into his goneness as if somehow I think the solidity of it will dissolve under my attack. Not very bright of me, is it?

I don’t live in the past. I remember our shared life, of course, but mingled with the good memories are too many recollections of his suffering, which makes the past an unpleasant place to dwell. Or to dwell on. Nor can I bear to think of a future where he has no place, and so I live in the present. But I make note of my sadder Saturdays to prove to myself that yes, I can do this. I can live in a future without him. Ninety-three weeks ago, these Saturdays were all in the future and now they are all in the past. I lived them, and I’ll continue to live and count my Saturdays.

My main problem is that even though I know I can do this — living without him — I still have a problem figuring out why I would want to. But the reason will come. It has to.