When You Lose the Person Who Connects You to the World, What do You Become?

“When you find that one person who connects you to the world, and that person is taken from you, what do you become then?” —John Reese (Person of Interest)

John Reese might be fictional (at least I assume so; I had never of Person of Interest until I saw this quote) but his question is one many of us bereft are pondering. When that one person is first taken from us, we wonder how we are going to survive. We never figure it out, but still, the days pass, then the weeks, months and years, and we realize that somehow we did it. We survived. Then the question facing us is what do we become.

I’m still waiting to find out the answer. So far, I seem to be just . . . me. Sadder, but me. I keep hoping that grief will bring some sort of mind/soul expansion that will allow me to become . . . well, something other than the same person I have always been. I hope for wisdom, perhaps a glimpse into the eternal mysteries, maybe a greater understanding. But so far, such experiences remain beyond my grasp.

I am trying to re-establish a connection to the world, though. For a long time, I felt as if I were balanced on one foot, the other suspended above the void. Occasionally I still have that stepping off into nothingness feeling, but mostly I’ve been trying to concentrate on actually being on Earth. To notice my connection to the world. To feel the ground beneath my feet. To be aware of my breath mixing with the air around me. To feel the wind against my face and the sun against my back. All these things connect me to the world whether I feel connected or not.

During the past few days, I’ve noticed that I’m letting go of the past, or at least feeling an easing of its grip. I haven’t wanted to let go of the past because in the past I was loved. I had mate — a life mate, a soul mate, a play mate. In the past I wasn’t alone. Nothing can bring back the past, and to be honest, I don’t want to bring it back. In the past, my mate was miserable, in pain, dying by inches every day. But without the past, or my connection to the past, what will I become?

Or is that the wrong question? Perhaps the important question is not what I will become, but what will I be at any given moment. If I try to live each moment as it comes, whether it comes with tears or a smile, with heartache or peace, then perhaps all these moments of being will lead to becoming.

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9 Responses to “When You Lose the Person Who Connects You to the World, What do You Become?”

  1. Deborah Owen Says:

    This is a great question, Pat. No one leads a static existence. All of us evolve according to the people we meet, the experiences we endure, the things we learn. Even the weather affects who we are and how we act. You’re in another evolving step of time, marching to the piper’s tune. None of us know who we will be a year or five years from now. In truth, we scarcely know who we are today. We are endless, fathomless souls on a constant quest of discovery. Whoever you will be, you will be different than you are now – as will we all.

  2. Carol Says:

    You’ll always be you, Pat. Maybe not as complete as you felt with your mate, but still unique and wonderful you. Life is still moving ahead, one day at a time, and as you move along with it, your reconnection to it will become stronger.

  3. bornbyariver Says:

    sometimes its hard to see the change when you are in it. maybe in 10 years you will see how you transformed… but maybe its not a transformation. maybe grief simply brings us closer to who we really are.

  4. Malene Says:

    With each passing day, I echo the sentiments you express, Pat. Your quest, your journey, your pain are all so intimately familiar. Like you I wonder who and what who I am without my mate. More often still, my question is: Why? Why am I – without my mate? If the solution to this riddle can be figured, a reason, a purpose can be found, maybe then there can be some peace with being left behind … maybe.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      This is the conundrum I struggle with: if he is in a better place, why aren’t I there? If life is a gift, why was it taken from him?

      Maybe we will find a place for us here, a reason for being. Maybe we will find out who we are without our mates. I don’t know. But we’ve survived this long, so apparently, whether we wish it or not, we are headed into the future. I hope you find a purpose and some peace.

  5. Becky Says:

    you are all so articulate in what you write. It has been 2 yrs for me, too. It has hit me like a truck full of bricks. I too wonder who I am, what I shoudl do with myself, who I should become, and have some difficulty remembering who I was 40 yrs ago when his disesase robbed us of our hopes and dreams. And I don’t want to remember all the hardships of his illness – I think it must be like PTSD. A traumatic stress of 40 yrs.
    I worked hard to care for him until he died. Now I have my mother to help in a different way. Some days I just want to sit and do nothing – I feel so hlepless to tackle the chaos around me that builtup over the years and years of caregiving.
    I miss having someone to touch, to hold, who adored me even when he could not do anything – and i mean anything – not even feed himself.
    The question I live with is why is life so hard? I konw why i took care of him – because God wanted him cared for. But I want to know who is caring for me?
    It seems that it grief is getting harder, not easier, as time passes.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Becky, you ask difficult questions, and I wish I knew the answers for both of us. A major part of grief seems to be questions about life, what it means, and how we now fit into the world. And grief does get harder — you lose the cushioning effect of the emotional shock, you are further away from life with the person who connected you to the world, and at the same time, the unwelcome truth that he is gone from earth for the rest of your life is sinking in.

      It’s not easy. I don’t know how any of us survive this, but apparently we do.

      I hope someday you’ll find some peace.


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