Thirty-Two Months of Grief

I haven’t been writing much about grief lately. It’s been thirty-two months — 977 days — since my life mate/soul mate died. In that time, many others have suffered grievous losses, and to continue mentioning my grief seems like all I’m doing is whining. Still, this is my loss, and what other people experience, no matter how horrific, doesn’t lessen my sorrow. I don’t have the same sort of raw pain that I did at the beginning, of course, nor do I have the gut-wrenching angst that so often bedeviled me during those first months, but I do experience bouts of sadness and yearning.

My emotions are on a slow Ferris wheel ride, usually sliding down into sadness on Saturdays, the day he died — a day that apparently is etched in my very psyche — and then a gradual climb to hope and possibility on Monday and Tuesday.

Even when Saturday’s sorrow is fleeting, as it often is now, I find that I am at my most vulnerable then, and any hurtful word, thoughtlessness, or setback can send me spiraling down into grief. Without him to talk to, without my being able to casually mention the slights and so slough them off, the unkindnesses take hold and remind me that I am alone. Which reminds me that he is dead. Which makes me grieve.

I can handle being alone. I can even handle his being out of my life. What I can’t handle is his being dead. It’s possible he still exists somewhere, perhaps lolling on the shores of some cosmic sea, a cat purring in his arms, but I have no way of knowing for sure. All I know is that he is out of this earthly life. Gone. Deleted. I still cannot wrap my mind around that. And I still can’t help feeling that he was cheated out of a couple of decades of life.

Sometimes I pretend to believe that he left so that I could experience life in a way we couldn’t experience together, but other times, especially on the day of the month that he died — such as today — I find it impossible to pretend that this new experience of life alone is a positive thing. And even if it is for the best, it comes at the cost of his life, and that is too big of a price to pay.

If I sound discouraged today, the truth is, I am dis-courage-d. Have lost my courage. Sometimes I am strong and forward looking, but on this 977th day of his goneness, I am unable to gather the courage to believe that any good will come from his being dead and my being alone. I’d give anything to see him one more time, to have him smile at me or say an encouraging word, but no matter how much I yearn for such an encounter, it’s not going to happen in this lifetime.

I am used to the ups and downs now, so I know all I have to do is hang on, and in a day or two, when I am less tired perhaps, I’ll find my courage again. And some day I might even come to believe that this new experience of life alone truly is a positive thing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy 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+

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118 Responses to “Thirty-Two Months of Grief”

  1. Mary Friedel-Hunt Says:

    Here we are…again…on the 27th of another month…you with your memories of this day and me with mine. the roller coaster continues to take me up and down…at least now I expect nothing less. Words like empty, lonely, sad weave themselves into each and every day as I also gain some kind of courage to keep on keeping on. Tears still sit waiting to fall at the mention of anything that reminds me of my loss or when I see something or remember something of our life together. Thinking of you today…a day neither of us will ever forget. You are not alone on this path.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I was thinking of you today, too. Last month, for some reason, the 27th didn’t strike me as being particularly sad, but today was a tearful one. I keep reminding myself that it takes three to five years to find renewed life, and we are not yet at that point. But once we are there, our loved ones will still be dead, so it’s not really something to look forward to, more of a guideline of where we’ve been.

      I saw a couple about my age out walking today, and it made me think how unfair life was. They were still together, and here am I . . . alone. On the other hand, I never have to go through his dying again. Someone told me today that her husband was diagnosed with bone cancer, and I started crying, thinking of all the horror that lies in front of them.

  2. Becky Says:

    You express so beautifully the raw emotions that defy expression for most of us. I’m sorry for your loss and hope time will ease the pain.

  3. joylene Says:

    I go through bouts of bitterness, which took me years to realize was very exhausting. These days I try not to think too far ahead and basically go moment by moment. I don’t know any other way. I used to fake it until I’d trick myself. Today I just try to relax and go with the flow.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Joylene, it is so much less exhausting just going with the flow, even if the flow is into sadness or bitterness. If we don’t feed those times, but let them flow, they will flow on by. And yes, moment to moment is the only way to live a full life. Looking backward or forward or around at “If only”s wastes what we have.

  4. James F. Ewen Says:

    A beautiful tribute to him and all You had together!
    I am truly sorry for Your loss.

  5. leesis Says:

    Pat I’m not sure that using terms like ‘positive’ and therefore negative are the right terms to use. Indeed I think reactions like bitterness come from trying to catergorize experiences like death into positive/negative. Jeff going will never be a positive experience. You will grow as a result of the pain you suffered. You will be open to new experiences that could perhaps never happened had Jeff still been around. But…I think he left because…well it was his time to leave and what you take or ignore from there on in is up to you be it either positive and negative.

    I don’t feel I’m explaining my thoughts really well but essentially Jeff going sucks…but what you experience now can be positive experiences or negative…the choice is yours. Maybe he went so you could learn that lifes beauty wasn’t dependant on just one other human being but at the end of the day that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do with now. I think understanding the greater meaning is perhaps for somewhere way, way, way down the line. And days of feeling “dis-courage-d”…lord do we all have them!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      So this is part of the “I am.” Neither good nor bad, neither happy nor sad, but “being” despite what joys and sorrows life throws at us.

      I am most at peace when I can believe it was his time to leave, that he is where he is supposed to be, but days when I am dis-courage-d, the belief comes hard. I am not yet capable of understanding any greater meaning, which is why I am concentrating on today and being me. Maybe one day I will get there, and even if I don’t, I will continue to find my way.

      I feel much stronger today, much more hopeful about experiencing new things. Although I am still more or less in hiatus because of looking after my father, there will come a time when I have to do something. And I will not molder. Someone suggested taking a sort of “spring break” in England, staying at hostels, and just sort of rambling around. It’s not an idea that completely appeals, though by thinking about it, I am expanding my parameters of what is possible, and that’s a good thing. I hope I will end up doing something totally unexpected. I would like that.

      As always, you give me much to think about. Thank you.

      • leesis Says:

        Certainly not good Vs bad but it surely is sad. There are some things in life that are terrible sad and your current journey is the worst of them.

        I think the important thing though is to learn to be okay with not understanding yet. I’ve seen people take on unlikely beliefs and I’ve seen people decide there’s no meaning at all…all in direct relation to the loss of one they loved. And I think a big part of that decision is because even generally speaking we humans find it very uncomfortable when we just don’t understand something…and never so much so than when we lose that one we never ever wanted to lose. I think we can find many answers mind you but that’s a whole other subject.

        My point here is our intellectual reason, our deepest beliefs are no match for our emotional response. When my best friend died I had 100% surety that whatever the afterlife I wanted him here not there…that’s what my heart said and there was no room for anything less. I can’t even imagine the agony of your soul mate. Actually I can imagine it. And my heart aches for you, for all who are going through this right now.

        I’m not surprised you find your beliefs not up to scratch when you’re discouraged. Our whole self loves…I use the term our psyche because it incorporates every aspect of what it is to be human. And our psyche…the core of us…has suffered a trauma equivalent to a massive car crash. And when the cores traumatised the path to healing is slow. But I know at least Pat your path is clear.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          I’ve always treasured your belief that my way is clear and that I am on the right path. So often the way seems murky, as if I am going around and around on that Ferris wheel, going nowhere. But I am headed somewhere. I just don’t know where or how I will get there or what it all means. The irony of all this is that it would be so much more interesting if he were here to share it.

          Last night I found out that this article was going to be “freshly pressed” in the next day or two (featured on the front page of wordpress), and I had no one to share the incredible news with. In times like that, I feel his absence most acutely, and realize how alone I am. But, as I said, I’ve regained my courage, so it didn’t send me spiraling down into grief.

          What a strange and heartbreaking journey this is.

          • leesis Says:

            Congratulations Pat. I think your post…and your book well worth the attention. On the other hand I wish Jeff was standing beside you sharing kudos for something else entirely. But in a selfish way I’m grateful that this is something you Pat can articulate so well that others identify and that is priceless for us, in the words deepest sense.

            Yes…always strange, usually bewildering, sometimes heart breaking but never forget sometimes beautiful :). You are in the heartbreak now…better than thirty-one months ago but still on that journey. A step at a time. xxoo

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            People used to tell me that grief brings strange blessings, and apparently this is mine — the ability to articulate what so many are feeling. That is something to be grateful for. It helps others while it helps me. Thank you for reminding me of that. XXOO

          • afreestyler Says:

            So glad to hear that you were ‘re~couraged’ so to speak, albeit incorrect English as it is.. but then Life can feel most ‘incorrect’ sometimes… I know it is not the same, but I miss my Mom tremendously (now my Dad is in Hospital) It does help to read posts such as yours.. As I live alone and have done for many years, I certainly know the feeling of not being able to share wonderful (or otherwise) news as well…

            All the best Pat.
            from Sasha

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            Sasha, I know death is a part of life, but is sure does seem incorrect, as if a mistake was made somewhere. I’m sorry about your mother, and I hope your father will get well. Losing people you love is hard, and so is being alone.

          • afreestyler Says:

            That is so true.. Thanks for your kind words, Pat. <3

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            Wishing you all the best.

          • afreestyler Says:

            Thank you, and all the Best also Pat.. :)

  6. Malene Says:

    Thank you. Beautiful. I am grateful for the words you find to put to what so many of us are experiencing, Thank you, Pat.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I wish I could stop experiencing the sadness, but since I am still prone to such episodes, I’m glad to share. It helps all of us understand what we are going through and that unfortunately, grief is a powerful force in our lives.

  7. Bob Says:

    Hello again Pat. It has been some time since I entered a comment on your blog but I had to let you know that I’m experiencing the same feeling that you did at 18 months, only it took 20 months for mine to hit. I thought I was doing very well until August and it’s been going down hill since then. I keep telling myself that you got through it so there has to be some hope out there. Tuesday will mark the 2nd anniversary of losing my wife and I’ve got my fingers crossed that maybe, after the holidays, things will turn around again. This sure continues to be a long and painful journey doesn’t it?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m glad you stopped by, Bob. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing. Yes, it is a long and painful journey. Two years for you on Tuesday. That’s a long time to live without the person you love.

      One thing I have learned about grief is that there will always be downs, but eventually the downs aren’t as low and there is more calm between the bouts of grief. And yes, there is hope. One day, or so I am told, we will awaken to a renewed interest in life. I am getting twinges of awakening now and again, so I know that it’s true.

      I hope you’re taking care of yourself. Feel free to stop by to talk when you need to. After two years, most people will have lost patience for you grief, but I am here for you.

  8. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Again? Pat, you’re on a roll. What is your secret?

  9. ghostofawriter Says:

    As this time of year rolls around everyone feels their losses. It’s the season for family and for those who have lost it becomes more poignant. All we can do is remember them and raise a glass of wine or cup of tea to their memory and honor them by living our lives as they would have wanted us to.

  10. free penny press Says:

    Your words climbed into my heart.. Death is one of life’s cruelest intentions and I am truly sorry you have this in your life.. Your words are honest, raw, loving and painful. I too am grieving the loss of a special person and yes, each day it’s a struggle but If we don’t keep going forward we too die..
    From my part of the world to yours, I send you peace and strength.
    Lynne

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Lynne, I am sorry you lost a special person. It’s never easy to deal with grief, and yes, we have to keep going forward. I hope someday we will both reawaken to life and happiness. Wishing you peace.

  11. camdenstables Says:

    Three years sounds so much longer than 32 months. Put into months it is not long at all to feel the loss.

  12. thetemenosjournal Says:

    Very beautifully said. I’m at the beginning, once again. This time though it was my partner who died just this last October. I have decided this time around to not try to force a positive spin. I don’t know really how successful it was when Mom died 11 years ago. But I will go on, one way or the other. I won’t say if its better, least not yet. I guess we don’t have to always look on the bright side, if we are truthful with ourselves we have to admit some dark. Take care, Paula

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That is one thing I have learned about the death of someone very close to us. There is no bright side for us. If they were sick or suffering, we can be glad they are no longer in pain, but that isn’t much of a bright side since they shouldn’t have been in pain in the first place.

      Our present culture seems to believe that everyone has to be happy at all costs, but sometimes it is impossible.

      I am so sorry about your partner. It’s a hard thing you’re having to deal with.

  13. Joe Owens Says:

    Pat – I remember three dates each year that remind me of lost loves ones. My brother died on January 8, 1997 at age 29. My father on October 8, of 1999 and my mother on February 26th of 2010. My grief was most profound after the death of my mother, because of losing my life giver as well as the last of my original four member family. I certainly can sympathize with your feeling and hope time will soothe your pain just as it continues to soothe mine.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Joe, It must be hard to have lost all your original family members. Your brother was so young. I lost a brother six years ago in December and my mother five years ago also in December, but my father and other siblings are still alive.

      Wishing you peace.

  14. outlawmama Says:

    Congrats on the freshly pressed; it’s how I found you. I love the analogy to the ferris wheel. Grief is so hard to make peace with, as a process.

  15. segmation Says:

    Hi Pat, I am sorry for your loss. This had to be a hard blog to write. One thing that bothers me with some people is they seem to think there is a time line for grief and kept telling me I would move on. It is nice to see that you share my same thoughts of loss of a loved one on this very painful journey. Right?

  16. candidkay Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Pat. I wish you signs. Having lost two loved ones in the past two years, I now see that they give me signs that would have meaning only for me–and are without a doubt from them. That may sound crazy but as I experience it, I see it is not. I wish you signs.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you. Many people get signs, but I never did. Not when my brother died, not when my mother died, and not when my soul mate died. Someone told me to look for butterflies, since those are a sign of renewal, but I haven’t seen a butterfly in years. I hope your signs bring you comfort. It must be nice to have proof that your loved ones still exist somewhere.

  17. lilypetal91 Says:

    I lost my dad 10 years ago and I still get those days when a moment or memory can knock my breath out and make me ache for him. It’s hard knowing someone that would have been a never-ending beam of comfort and guidance isn’t there. There are no magic words that will help but being able to talk about it and let yourself feel every emotion be that anger sorrow or days of happiness, is so important. it’s only when i stopped trying to be so strong all the time that i finally started to come back to me. I’ll be thinking of you. beautiful post.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      We get used to anything, even being without the people we love, but something in us can never comprehend their absence. You are so right about not trying to be strong and to feel every emotion. It’s how we grow and eventually find peace. Too many people see tears as a sign of weakness, and so don’t let themselves weep, but those tears help wash away some of the stress of grief. I am sorry about your dad. He sounds like a wonderful man.

  18. Sandra Stephens Says:

    I know that the grief and loss of others does not mitigate your own sorrow, but I would like to share that reading Donald Hall’s book of poems, “Without” (on the loss of his wife Jane Kenyon to cancer) is heartbreaking, beautiful, and took me out of myself for awhile. I’ll never forget Jane’s comment near the end of her death: Death is easy, it’s the separation that is so hard. Peace to you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s so true about death being easy and the separation hard. I watched him die between one breath and the next, and I was relieved that he was finally gone and not suffering any more. It was only later that the grief of separation hit. I tried to find comfort in knowing he was at peace, but I couldn’t help wondering if he too were feeling the angst of separation. What a strange journey this is!

  19. Katia Says:

    Reading this made me sad for you and for him. It also made me admire the ability to put an often such abstract emotion into words so relatable. Perhaps knowing that so many people can relate to your pain will make you feel not as lonely.

  20. freshlypressedisbiased Says:

    Your way of thinking is what gives these writers the idea that it’s beautiful to marginalize their loss and the lives of those that pass away by romanticizing their pain by comparing it to a Ferris wheel. The moment you start counting the days of your pain and blog about it, it’s no longer pain, it’s just a pathetic and a poor excuse for the dramatic. call oprah maybe you can get a book deal, you lame excuse for a human being.

    You need to stop doing this to yourself. Please, blogging is not the place for this sort of thing. Of course, wordpress and the freshly pressed panel just encouraged you and fanned the fire of your drama. So good for you, I hope day 978 is more drama. pathetic. Get over it!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      People who hide their pain and anger and grief lose the sense of community that comes from being honest and vulnerable. Grief is not romantic, though perhaps it is dramatic. It certainly changes the lives of those who have lost someone they cared for deeply. You could be right, that a blog is not the proper place to talk about the important issues of life and death. Maybe blogging is better suited to venting one’s anger and bitterness by posting scathing remarks, but each to his own.

    • allthingsboys Says:

      Wow! What can you say about someone who names there blog, freshly pressed is biased? I think you are the one with a problem. Sour grapes ought to be the name. Consider changing it…

  21. dianajoy7 Says:

    My date is the 20th and it was a warm, sunny, Tuesday. Coming up on 15 months since my soul-mate breathed out his last breath while I held his hands and looked into his eyes. I am so sorry for all the losses and all the pain that I read here. People who have not experienced these types of close losses cannot understand, though they sometimes say “I can imagine how you feel.” All that is said here resonates with me, except one thing – I no longer feel alone, I feel integrated. I wish everyone a successful journey into peace and joy. My heart goes out…

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      People cannot understand, and I no longer expect them to. I’m glad you no longer feel alone. One of the hardest things about losing one’s soul mate is the isolation and un-integration.

  22. hedgesjl Says:

    Like you, I know grief, and it is so very much an experience of losing and finding, losing again, perhaps to find again. And I also found that you have to arrive at a place where you no longer expect others to understand. Like our relationships with those we grieve, it is ours alone to navigate. Like the Woody Guthrie sang, “You gotta walk that lonesome valley, You gotta walk it by yourself, Nobody here can walk it for you, You gotta walk it by yourself.” Thank you for writing.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, we each have to walk that lonesome valley, but still it’s nice to meet kindred souls on our journey. It sounds as if you have found a measure of peace. I hope so.

  23. blackbeanbrownies Says:

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. Love the analogy! Sometimes the only thing that heals is time, and even that may not suffice.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you. One thing I’ve learned during these months is that time itself doesn’t heal. Time is what we pass through until we find a way to let ourselves heal.

      Black bean brownies? I checked out your recipe. Sounds interesting.

      • blackbeanbrownies Says:

        Very true, I guess we never really know until we experience the grief ourselves. I pray the best for you!
        Yes, black bean brownies, the ultimate replacement I’ve found for any treat. ;)

  24. janeykylescott Says:

    Hi Pat – December 20th 2012 will mark 12 years since my husband passed. At first I counted in days – lots of days…then weeks…..then months……and all of a sudden its December again. I still experience tearing emotions on his birthday and our wedding anniversary but as December arrives yet again I can feel my ferris wheel on a down turn. Sometimes its not so bad….but others….only those who walk the path will ever know – and even then, for each of us the path is unique.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Twelve years. A couple of years ago that would have seemed unfathomable to me, that anyone survived so long after losing a spouse, but the years pass and gradually such a thought seems . . . fathomable. Wishing you peace this Christmas, and many joyful memories.

  25. 1196kay Says:

    I am sorry for your loss, but you seem like a very strong woman and I hope you make it thorugh things okay ,god has a plan for everyone and no matter how strange it may seem no, it will always have a purpose in the end.

  26. Brandi Roberts Says:

    Thank you for sharing. Very moving and honest. Hugs. I am sorry for what you are going through.

  27. emiliabrasier Says:

    I lost my 29 year old best friend whom I had shared most of the significant changes a person goes through between the ages of 13 and 29 (married a month apart, first child within 4 months of each other, that kind of thing). It was September 21, 2010 about 27 months ago and I can honestly say that I feel the same way you do, like my grief is not as valid as someone who just lost someone, or it is not as worthy of being discussed. Now I feel less of the gut wrenching sadness that is overwhelming most of the time, and more of an ebb and flow of sadness that does not bring me to tears all the time but finds me and grabs me, making every small stumbling block feel like a momentous mountain. I think there is no right amount of time to grieve and although you feel that yours may not be as valid or urgent as someone who just lost someone it is just as valid, relevant, and urgent. I am so sorry for your loss and I hope someday you stumble far enough past the grief to get off the ferris wheel.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you for telling me your story and for your kind words. It always helps to know how others are dealing with their grief. I am sorry for your loss, too. The loss of a best friend is truly a grievous loss. Wishing you peace as you continue to find your way past the worst of your grief.

  28. iampriyam Says:

    Indeed, loss is the thing most of us can hardly handle. It feels overwhelming. The pain that we bear.. oh no words to explain it.

  29. glad Says:

    You made me cry. Sorry for your loss. I adore how you write.

  30. divyaakella Says:

    It hurts to know what you are undergoing through. I ‘m sorry about it. What will remain alive are the memories- Memories of togetherness. Cherish them and relive those in the form of writing. I would love to hear your joyous moments of life. I recently wrote The Wish..(http://readdsmind.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/the-wish-part-1/) your blog connects to it a little. Don’t think ‘m promoting my blog here.. I want you to read it, it has a +ve ending… well, are you wondering a +ve end to a grief… I tried my best to do so. Take Care. May God bless you with peace.

    Regards,
    D

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      He was sick for so long, there weren’t many joyous moments, but his presence in my life brought me joy. He was a good man, an honorable one, and my life is poorer for his absence. Still, I am trying to find other ways to enrich my life. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. And thank you for the link to your story.

  31. Livonne Says:

    I lost my daughter 17 years ago and the pain is still there. I still struggle to come to terms with it at times although it’s certainly more bearable than the initial rawness. No matter how long it’s been, your grief is still valid. We put too much pressure on ourselves and others to complete the grieving process…. a process that never ends.. Be kind to yourself and keep writing.. and thank you for your honesty. :)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I am so very sorry about your daughter. One of my blog friends has lost two of her children, and she shared her pain with me to help navigate my own grief, so I have perhaps an inkling of how you feel. (Though one never truly does know. Grief is so very personal.)

      I don’t know how it is possible ever to come to terms with such grievous losses. Maybe the best we can do is live despite them?

  32. allthingsboys Says:

    Pat, I read with interest your piece on grief. My father passed away a year ago, and what I have found about the process has been surprising–and not in a good way. In an incredibly dysfunctional family, my father was the norm. He was the anchor on a violently turbulent vessel, and his passing was sudden and unexpected. I am still navigating the waters of a CA estate that was without a will and dealing with an addict brother and a mother who is opportunistic at best. The most surprising thing about all this has been the realization that when a loved one dies, there really is nothing anyone can say to make it better. You have to travel through the process, and the grief alone. Which I have to say sucks, and lends it a feeling of aloneness that I didn’t expect. Everyone said a year, and that’s true I found for the profound grief. However, there is a lingering suffrage that takes its time evaporating. I wish you peace in the coming year.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Grief is totally shocking. We think we know what to expect, and yet it’s so much worse in so many different ways that it takes a long time to process. Even worse are all the death chores we have to deal with, such as the final disposition of estates and effects. I don’t know how any of us get through this, but we do. Still, despite getting over the worst of the grief, the effects of the loss continue to haunt us for a long time.

      It sounds to me as if you are now the norm in your family. Wishing you strength.

  33. bliss steps Says:

    ~ I feel for you, Pat. I can relate how excruciating the pain was. We cannot change what happened but we can change the way we look at things. It will never be easy and I know I can do nothing but pray that you will be fine, really fine. When you are sad, just relive and cherish the happy memories you both had. You’re strong and I hope you won’t forget that. :)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you for the reminder. I’m getting to the point where I can be more glad that he was in my life than I am sad that he’s out of it, and that is such a huge step forward. Sometimes I’m afraid that in the bustle of life I will forget him, but he is written in my soul. I will cherish the happy memories.

  34. Keacut Says:

    I lost my 20 year old cousin, who was more like a brother to me & sometimes a child, in July. I literally cry everyday. Maybe not ALL day, but everyday…without fail. He was taken in a manner in which I don’t believe it was his time to go, but just snatched. I struggle with knowing that there are other people who have lost even closer loved ones, like a brother, a mother, a lover…and I find myself beating myself up because their grief must be worse than mine. But I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my grief is just that…MY grief. I will not be apologetic for tremendously missing someone I love that I know would miss me in the same fashion if the situation were flipped. He was a good kid, had a good heart & an even greater soul. I miss him EVERY day, EVERY hour, EVERY minute, EVERY second. And i’m getting teary eyed as I type this because I just knew no one in the world knew what I was going through… until I read this post. I thank you… for letting me know that my grief is justified & acceptable.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Of course your grief is justifiable and acceptable. You lost someone who was vital to your life, and you are the poorer for it. Cry, scream, do whatever you have to do to relieve the incredible stress that loss brings. Four months is not enough time to process all that you are going through. Be patient with yourself. You will probably always miss him, though the pain will lessen. I promise.

  35. themorningmug Says:

    Thank you for being real. It’s so often that we expect people to “move on” or “become normal again” in a certain amount of time after a huge loss, like yours…truth is, that’s not realistic, or healthy.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It breaks my heart to see how the bereft have to hide their grief because those around them can’t stand to see them sad and so urge them to move on. It’s one reason why I continue to write about grief. I want people to know that it’s an important part of the healing process.

  36. Delana Says:

    Wow! I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be. Praying for you! I saw a video today with words I am very familiar with yet nonetheless totally blessed by seeing in this way. Maybe it will bless you today as well. The words are printed on the screen as well as in the video, but it was much more moving watching it slowly in the video. http://www.habeeb.com/fathers.love.letter/fathers.love.letter.english.html

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, Delana. The reality of grief so shocked me that I decided to chronicle my journey here on this blog so that others will be more prepared for the effects of having lost someone important to their life, but the truth is, such grief is totally unimaginable until you experience it.

  37. A Story of Light Says:

    With regards to grief, I have learned the hard way that there isn’t much anyone can say to make the loss we feel any less devastating. But, what I do know through my own experience is that expressing our emotions, regardless of how or who is listening, helps us to heal in our own way. There is a transformation that happens, it can be immediate or it can take years but it comes in its own time and with its blessings. In the process of allowing and helping yourself to heal through your gift, you are helping others as well and so, I as well choose to believe that whether it feels like it or not, you have many blessings, joy and light coming to you… in its perfect timing. Until then, keep feeling it out and sharing whatever feels right. :)

    Thank you for sharing!

    Love and light,
    Jennifer

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Jennifer, I would like to believe that you are right — that many blessings, joy and light will be coming to me in its prefect timing. I feel that what I am doing now, writing about what I am going through and processing it all, will help me reach that stage. And if not, well, this is a blessing in itself, being able to share a moment of truth with others. Thank you.

  38. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife Says:

    your post and comments leave me with a heavy knot in my stomach. i hate the thought of anyone hurting like you do during grieving periods. big hugs to you this holiday season.

  39. oboeart Says:

    Reblogged this on iCygnet and commented:
    The journey of loss in life is universal — spinning like a ferris wheel and sometimes you get stuck at the top!

  40. (that's me) in the corner... Says:

    Pat,
    Beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss and I wish you the ability to never forget, or get over, but to move forward and live your life. Blessings to you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sometimes I do worry that I’ll forget, especially as I age, but I’ll never get over the loss. The world seems so much dimmer with him gone, but I do intend to move forward so as not to waste his death or my continued life. Thank you for the blessings. I appreciate the thought.

  41. coffee2words Says:

    My grandad died on the 27th of November. I can only hope that my Grandma will get to have the same level of understanding of her grief that you possess now. I know we all want to see her back to her usual self, but at what cost?

    We’re all dealing with our grief in different ways. I think I too, feel stronger and develop a better understanding of it when I write about it. When I’m unable to articulate my own words, finding other words written by someone else that express my feelings has helped, even in this short time.

    I know how hard it is for me to handle this, let alone what my grandma or my mum is going through having lost their partner and father.

    Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and feelings. It helps.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      As hard as it is for you to deal with the death of your grandfather, it is a hundred times harder for your grandmother, so I hope in the months and years to come, as you move beyond the first raw pain, you will still have patience with her grief. Grief brings many blessings, and if you allow it, it could bring you even closer to your grandmother. And yes, definitely write about your grief, about your feelings of death and isolation and anger and whatever other feelings descend on you. Grief is so bewildering, that writing was the only way I could begin to make sense of it. Wishing you and your family peace this Christmas and in the new year.

  42. Booke Mark Says:

    It is hard to lose a loved one, especially your lifemate/soulmate. That you had a chance with your soulmate is one tremendous gift. I believe in reincarnation, and I believe that you will be together again in another life-while he watches over you in this one.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I have to keep reminding myself that I had something most people never get to experience — a soul-deep relationship with another human being. I hope one day I will remember that and be able to let the sadness pass by with barely a notice. Thank you for stopping by to talk to me today.

  43. tearsandregrets Says:

    Reblogged this on Tears & Regrets.

  44. sportsandthecross Says:

    Wow…inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed as well.

  45. Sean Patrick Photo Says:

    I apologize, in advance, for the length of this comment, I just felt like I had to join the discussion. Thank you.
    I lost my best friend in September, 2010. It caught me off guard and hurt me so deeply. A mutual friend called my cell as I was catching the train to go to work. I missed a few of his calls, decided it was urgent, and called him back from the train platform. The first thing he tells me is, “He’s gone, man. He’s really gone.” I realized that I am grieving even worse now, and feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not intervening and actually helping. I have not been able to speak to his parents or his son, for a while, because I am so embarrassed and crushed that I failed him. We were best friends. Best friends look out for one another, they don’t watch you ruin your life and just sit there and skirt around the issue that’s potentially killing you.
    Of course we saw it coming for a few years, as our friend had been suffering from severe substance abuse disorder. Two years prior, Isaiah was completely hooked on meth and I really thought that when he cleaned up from that, he wouldn’t even fathom doing hard drugs, because of the psychological damage he caused to himself and others. He was an absolute monster on meth, staying up for weeks at a time, hitting his girlfriend He told me that the meth use left a void in him that would never go away. I could tell that he was plotting something, and I became concerned at how absolutely vulnerable and weak he had become, knowing that his ability to get drugs of any kind was extremely convenient.
    During his time on speed, his girlfriend (also a meth user) had their baby boy, and named him Isaiah Jr. She smoked meth until the morning she went into labor. There was nothing we could do. I say “we” because I found out the hard way, that even if we brought in law enforcement, they were being watched for selling methamphetamine, and the secret indictment the feds had on those two would not be complicated for social services until they needed a confession. She was gonna have that baby, and keep him. Moreover, I was there to help in the way a journalist is there to help…just objectively. I was there routinely, with food and an open ear for my friend. I was shocked that the baby came out okay, and to this day, I believe that he is a true miracle.
    I found out after they came home from the hospital, that they had indeed, had their indictment served to them from the local DEA and the Cleveland PD. It happened two days before she went in to have lil’ Isaiah.
    They both served time and there little boy was looked after by the girlfriends’ parents and Isaiah’s folks. When Isaiah got out of prison, he looked healthy, rested, and ready to make a change. That lasted for a couple months.
    No more meth to be had, Isaiah turned to pain killers, xanax, and soon enough, unbeknownst to me, heroin. He shot it in the bottoms of his feet so no one would see it. He was embarrassed to tell me because I hadn’t been into drugs, for a long time and I became a little judgmental, to be honest. It became scary to have to deal with him because I, truthfully, couldn’t guess what drugs he was abusing. He came over to my house, on a Saturday night, to have a couple of beers and showed me a bag of crack-cocaine that was collateral from one of his sketchy drug-friends that owed him money. Owed him money for what?..is what I was thinking, and, on principle, had to ask him to leave my house and never bring sketchy drugs near me again. We were supposed to hang out the next morning and grab some breakfast. He called me, with a very scratchy, unlike-him voice and I really couldn’t understand him, but I worked out that he would be over soon and we were sticking to our plans. He showed up an hour later and was so high, that there was no way I could get in the car with him. I got in anyway, and we drove a half-mile, got something to drink, and then Isaiah had to go somewhere, and his phone was ringing non-stop. No breakfast, I guess. I was happy when he dropped me back at my house. I was pretty angry and a little on edge about that whole situation and dropped a couple of his phone calls later that day. I couldn’t deal with it. It was Labor Day weekend and I had to work Sunday and Monday, so I wanted to enjoy myself and not be worried about anything.
    I never tried calling him back on Sunday or Monday. Work was busy. Although, he called me and left me a few voicemail messages, but I didn’t listen to them because I was on “me” time. His dad found him dead, the next morning, when he tried waking him up, lying there swollen and blue in the face. I found out he was doing heroin the next day.
    Moral: Whether it’s your soul-mate, partner-in-life, or best friend since high school, you share the same ideas and philosophies, and make each other laugh for the hell of it. You look up to one another at times. Be there when your friend is looking up to you. You’ll know how important it is because, I can’t explain it, but you just know. Believe me, you don’t want to hear the voicemails that you never returned and neglected because you just didn’t feel like helping. When you lose a loved one, its hard enough, and the grieving process is difficult as it is. If you feel like you could’ve helped him to stay alive, you may never be able to forgive yourself, and that anger inside of you may never go away completely.

    I have a photo on my website of Isaiah if any one would like to put a face to the name. No link just copy http://seanpatrickstreetphoto.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/untitled_cleveland_2010.jpg

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Regrets and anger and unfinished business fuel grief, so you will probably grieve for your friend a very long time. Eventually, I hope, you will realize that you were there for him in a way he needed — as a friend who loved him and made him laugh, not as a caretaker whose job was to keep him alive. We can only deal with a situation from our perspective at the time. If he hadn’t died, your reactions to his drug-taking would have been perfectly acceptable, as would be your taking time for yourself — it’s his death that makes you feel your reaction was so unforgivable. It’s almost impossible to deal with someone who chooses drugs and self-destruction over friendship and family. (Forgive me if I am speaking out of turn, but it seems to me he failed not only himself, but you too.) I know what it’s like to deal with substance abusers you love, and truly, there isn’t much you could have done, though I’m sure every day you think of dozens of things you wish you had done, like take his calls. Those “if onlys” are haunting and destructive. I hope someday you will forgive both yourself and your friend and remember the laughs you shared.

      Thank you for telling me your story. I’m glad you joined the discussion, and if my remarks are out place, just forget them.

  46. bestdigitalmarketingschoolsumd Says:

    This is awful.. Prayers going out especially during this time of year

  47. masterhadleysbedroomteahouse Says:

    I was really moved by your piece – you write beautifully and capture grieving with such melancholy unease… It aches to read. I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope you find peace.

  48. mdcoach4life Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss but regardless of your pain experience you do show inner strength hidden amongst your words :) dead was always an uneasy topic for me to deal with in my clinical setting . I always felt awkward approaching the families to the lost one. Id like to reblog your entry with your permission if I may . It moved me and I hope to show others this feeling .

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, you can reblog this post as long as you use the word press reblog button. Death is a hard topic, but I’ve been talking about my grief since he died, so I’m comfortable with the topic. I’m still not comfortable with the fact of his being dead, of course, but I can talk about it.

  49. thegallantlady Says:

    I am sorry for what happened to your soulmate. Death is really something inevitable. I know it’s hard to move on from this. But I hope you start living your life again. I guess your soulmate wouldn’t like to see you depressed after months of being gone from the world. I’m sure he would like you to live your life and be happy and move on.

    My advice is to live in the present and start being thankful for the present’s little blessings to your life. I suggest journaling if you are into that kind of stuff. It really helps. It can also help you track your blessings in life :)

    I wish you all the best Ma’am Pat. Hoping you can find peace soon.

    Sincerely,
    April (The Gallant Lady)

  50. S. Smith Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your titles appear to be all on this topic. Do you write about anything else?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Only one of my published books is about loss. The other four books are fiction — suspense novels.

      As for this blog, if you check out the titles listed under “recent posts”, “top posts” or “archives — all my posts”, you will see that most of my posts deal with topics other than loss.


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