A Kinder, Gentler Grief

A few days ago, I posted an article on this blog saying that a story begins when the world becomes unbalanced. If this is also true in real life, then my story began when my life mate/soul mate died. Nothing else I have ever experienced unbalanced my world the way his death did. It rocked me to my very core, and I am just now recovering a sense of equilibrium.

In a story, as the character strives to restore the balance, matters get worse. That usually happens in the case of grief, too (though generally not because of anything the bereft did — it’s simply the way life is). In some cases, the bereft had to move soon after the funeral, sending them further into grief. In other cases, more losses followed, leaving the bereft feeling as if they were drowning in death. Sometimes nothing happened, which at times is even worse, since it leaves the bereft alone in a limbo of sorrow.

I am on my way to finding a new balance, but I am not there yet. I still have upsurges of grief, though for the most part the surges are gentler and easier to handle. A few nostalgic tears, a brief indulgence of remembering, an acknowledgement that I miss him and want to go home to him, then I continue on with my life.

My most recent upsurge began on Saturday, always a sad day, and culminated in a walk in the desert. I haven’t called out to him in a long time, though I still talk to him, but today, I desperately needed to feel some sort of connection, so I yelled, “Can you hear me?” He didn’t answer, at least not in any way I understood.

I’m not sure how one finds a new balance after such a devastating imbalance as losing a life mate. Perhaps it’s a matter of making additional changes, the way small controlled fires can help put out major fires. Maybe it’s a matter of continuing to take one step at a time and waiting until the world rights itself. Or it could be a matter of being present, of being in one’s body, of simply being.

I’ve had to make changes, of course — I had to leave our shared home so I could look after my father — and I will be making other changes when this part of my life comes to an end. Meanwhile, I am trying to take life one step at a time, to capture each moment as it comes, to be present in my life, to be. In a story, of course, such passive actions don’t create a compelling plot, but in real life, sometimes “being” is the best we can expect at any given moment.

And anyway, my story hasn’t ended yet. In some respects, it feels as if this new story hasn’t even begun, as if I’m still in the first chapter, sorting out the imbalance.