The Waning of Grief

020bGrief has taken a back seat in my life for now — so much else is going on, including getting used to my father’s increased dependency and having moments of panic about where I’m going to go when he’s gone. I’d just about decided to move to a lovely small town in Colorado, having developed a craving for familiar cool mountain climes (and cool mountain climbs) until I discovered that the town has a very cold humid climate. Eek. I don’t tolerate humidity well. And 87 inches of snow a year? Double eek. So I’m back to zero. I don’t really want to stay here in the desert because my life would be much the same as it is today, sort of like a real life treadmill. Staying is an option, though, and treadmill aside, I do know people here. But it doesn’t feel like home. And right now, I’d like to go home.

The trouble, of course, is that no place would feel like home. Home was with my life mate/soul mate, wherever we happened to be. Like so many women in my stage of grief’s journey — past the tsunami of raw grief and not yet arrived at a new life — I have an itch to be on the move. Being settled — settled alone, that is — seems so much like stagnation.

I crave challenges. Adventure. Travel. The irony is that I don’t particularly like to travel, I hate hotels and motels, and I don’t like being unsettled. But what else am I going to do? Sit alone in an apartment for the rest of my life? If I’m on the move, anything could happen, maybe even something that will revitalize my life.

Four years seems to be a magic number when it comes to grief. Often that fourth anniversary is the turning point where we feel some sort of disconnect to the past, when everything suddenly feels new again, and we feel free to leap toward whatever future awaits us. I am letting go of the past and I do want to experience life to the fullest, but I’ve not yet arrived at the turning point — the future still seems bleak to me. Still, I’m just counting down to the third anniversary of his death, so I have a long way to go before I’ll feel up to taking any sort of leap, but I am holding on to the belief that such a time will come.

And maybe then the problem of where to go and what to do will take care of itself.


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.” Connect with Pat on Google+