Help Please!

I am driving my brother to Colorado.  We left just after midnight (too long a story to tell pecking out on my phone) and I am driving straight through. Am in Colorado now and need to drive across the state. This has been a horrifying and heartbreaking trip. To make things worse,  I’m not sure he’ll let me leave him here since he’s afraid of being on the streets again.

If you are prayerful, please say a prayer for both of us. If not, please send good thoughts and wishes for . . . I don’t know. Maybe for  courage.

My Chariot Awaits!

I rented a car to take my brother back to Colorado, but he is not here, and a rental car is a terrible thing to waste. So I am taking off for the weekend. Will be going . . . anywhere. North perhaps.

I’m leaving in just a few minutes, but I know many of you are concerned about this situation with my brother, and I didn’t want you to think anything bad happened.

I’ll try to keep in touch, but if not, know that I am free for a few days.

Thank you all for your support during these traumatic years. I hope your weekend will be as wonderful as mine.


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+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Yes. I Can.

It seems as if it’s been a lifetime since I wrote an article for this blog, and perhaps it has been. I thought my move away from the house I lived for the past two decades with my life mate would be the start of a life change — a real journey. I expected to be different at the end of my trip to my new location than I was at the beginning, but in truth, the change had already begun.

During these past months, I’ve had so much thrown at me that I was overwhelmed. First my mate’s death, then arranging his cremation, packing and shipping the stuff I’m going to keep, doing a yard sale, cleaning out his things, disposing of all the detritus one accumulates during a shared life time, preparing for my journey. All this I did alone while dealing with overwhelming grief. During each agonizing step of the way, I’d cry and wail and scream, “I can’t do this!” So much pain. So much loss. So much change in such a short time. And I had no idea how to cope.

My last morning at the house, I got up early, cleaned out the few remaining items I’d been using, packed my car, and took one more look around the house. I walked through the rooms, remembering with what hope we had moved there, remembering the good times, remembering the more frequent bad times. Remembering his last hug, his last kiss. His death.

As I was shutting the door, I thought of all that lay ahead of me, and I cried, “I can’t do this.”

Then, it dawned on me: Yes. I can. Because I did.

I got out my camera, and went through the house one last time, taking photos of the empty rooms to prove to myself that all those things I thought I couldn’t do, I did. I know there will still be much for me to have to deal with — learning how to live without him, learning who I am now that I am not part of a couple, finding a way and a reason to live – and through it all, I might continue to wail, “I can’t do this,” but this truth is, I can. And that was the real journey, the real discovery. The trip turned out to be just a trip.




Tempest Tossed

I’m going to be without the internet for a couple of weeks, so don’t worry if I don’t post for a while.

I’d always planned to follow the conventional wisdom and not move for at least a year after my life mate died, but here I am, two months into my grief, and I am moving — not by choice, but circumstance. Right now I’m rattling around in an empty house, filling it with tears. Though I’m mostly moved and packed and the house cleaned, I am not ready to go — it is way too soon. But even if I could stay, it wouldn’t change anything. My mate would still be dead. And I’d still be homeless — he was my home, not this house.

Despite my declaration (after having to throw away so much stuff these past weeks) that I would never buy anything again (except electrontics) I did buy a new camera (a cheap little thing, but it works, and besides, a digital camera is electronic, right?). I took pictures of this place today: our cars parked next to each other, the bushes we planted that enclose the house and give it privacy, the hybrid bush/tree I borrowed for my soon to be published novel Light Bringer (which will is tinged with sadness for me since he never got to read it). I don’t know if I will ever be able to look at the photos without weeping, but at least I have them if I want to take a peek.

From what I’ve heard about the loss of a mate, as hard as the first months are, the second year of grieving sometimes is even worse. I cannot imagine that. But then, I never could have imagined the pain I am feeling now. I don’t know why, but occasionally the loss hits me anew, as if it just happened. Which is what I am feeling today. And, apparently, that too is normal. It still happens to some people even a decade later.

Our life together — his and mine — is receding, even in memory, as if it’s a fantasy, a dream, a mirage. When he was alive, the past always seemed present. Now it seems so very past (passed?). That’s one more loss to add to so many.

I feel tempest-tossed. As if I am unmoored. Swept away on an emotional storm. Besides all the other emotions that beset me, I find I panic easily. I took up the mat on the floor of the driver’s side of my car where my feet rest (I was cleaning the car, getting it ready for the trip), and I discovered . . . rusted-out holes. Yikes. I’m about to go on a long trip with holes in my car? Panic! There is no such thing as ER for car bodies as I discovered after a spate of phone calls, so when I calmed down, I patched the floorboard using aluminum foil, metal tape (way cool stuff!), oven liners, and cardboard. Should last as long as my car.

I’m sure I will be okay, eventually. Just not yet.