Grief: Finally Grateful

Two years and three months after the death of my life mate/soul mate, I am finally beginning to understand that this is my life and my life alone.

Sharing a life with someone might shroud the basic aloneness for a while, but after the person dies, it eventually becomes apparent that your destiny belongs only to you. (Because, obviously, if it belonged to both of you, he would still be here.)

Surviving a mate is hard on many counts. The sheer agony of his being ripped from your life leaving you feeling amputated. The bewilderment and angst that come with confronting death. The collateral losses that go along with losing a mate, such as the loss of one’s connection to the world, the loss of one’s best friend, the loss of someone to share the burden of decisions and chores. But beyond the obvious hardships are the more subtle problems of loving someone who is no longer alive, of continuing to worry about their wellbeing, of feeling bad for them that their life was cut short. (Much of my grief was for him, a posthumous empathy for his suffering and for his dreams that never came to fruition.)

I do not know the truth of his death — perhaps he is sunning himself on some cosmic beach or playing with a couple of galactic cats. Perhaps he is glad to be dead, assuming he even knows that he is. The corollary to this being my life and my life alone is that his life is his alone. Despite all that we did together, all that we shared, all that we were together, I am no longer part of his life.

In some ways, his death set me free. Our lives had become so constrained because of his illness and our financial concerns, that it trapped both of us in a world that was barely tolerable. (I was going to say that it was unbearable, but we did bear it.) His death brought an end to that world for both of us, though losing him catapulted me into the world of grief.

I am not over my grief — I never will be — but my sorrow is being assimilated into my life, and I am coming closer to an acceptance of the gift of freedom he gave me. I am still prone to tears and fears, but finally, after all these months, I am able to think of him and smile, and be grateful that he shared his life with me.

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7 Responses to “Grief: Finally Grateful”

  1. adifferenceforyourlovedones Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Death is the hardest thing of life. may god make all things new for you. Blessings to you in the name of Jesus!

  2. Lisa Hallowes Says:

    Pat,
    I’m so happy that you have reached this level of peace. I have read your entire blog and now reading your grief book. I am at 14 months now but my story is so much different. My boyfriend was only 39 when he died after a long battle with Chrohns and a diagnosis of Leukemia for the last six months of his life. We only had a year but the connection was immediate and everlasting. We were the best part of each other and it’s very hard to miss the part that made me whole. Thank you for letting us go through this journey with you and showing us that we will get through this on the other side mostly whole and well.
    All the best.
    Lisa.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Lisa, your story might be different, but our grief is the same. One grieves for the whole of a man’s life, for what was lost and for what never was. With your shared life cut short before it ever started, your grief would be every bit as stronger as someone who spent many years with their mate.

      It’s a long journey, but we will survive.

      Thank you for introducing yourself. I could tell from my blog stats that someone was reading the whole of my blog — it’s nice to put a name to that person.

  3. joylene Says:

    A very healthy way of looking at it, Pat. Although, what would I know about healthy. Maybe what I mean is after reading this, I felt a moment of peace. Thanks.

  4. leesis Says:

    Loved this post Pat. Yet again you shine a torch for those that need to know. It is true that our life journey is ours alone and that each other persons journey, no matter how intertwinned with ours, for however long and however intense, is theirs alone. (I believe we are all interconected but at a different level)


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