Getting a Grip on Grief

Today is Saturday, my sadder day. The eighty-eighth one. It’s odd that my body remembers this is the day of the week my life mate/soul mate died. Even when I don’t remember, I wake up sadder than I normally do. (Whatever it is that remembers, though, can’t count. For that, I need a calendar to figure out exactly how many Saturdays he’s been gone.)

Despite the lingering sadness and random bursts of grief, I am healing. Today I casually picked up a glass, and it felt solid in my hand. Or perhaps I mean my hand felt solid on the glass. Seems a small thing, doesn’t it? But it’s a big step that came so quietly, I don’t have any idea when I got a grip.

During the first months after he died, I lost my grip, not just figuratively, but literally. Things often slipped through my fingers for no apparent reason. I simply couldn’t hold on. It seemed as if when I lost the connection with him, I lost the ability to connect with anything. Or maybe grief sapped all my strength. One night, a mug slipped from my hand. My fingers were crooked through the handle, so I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden the mug hit the hard tile floor and exploded. Well, actually, the mug shattered, but it sounded like an explosion. It wasn’t an expensive mug, nor did I have a particularly sentimental attachment to it — it was one of two give-aways we’d received from the phone company during a local festival — but I wept as if my heart had broken. Or as if he had died again.

Gathering up the shattered pieces and slivers of the mug, I understood for the first time that as the months and years passed, all our things would break or wear out, and every loss would take me one more step away from our life. This had such a profound affect on me, I made sure I had a good grip on anything breakable before I picked it up. Until tonight.

By such small steps, we heal the ragged wounds where our loved ones were ripped from our lives. By such small steps, we move into a life far from the one we once shared. By such small steps, we get a grip on grief.

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5 Responses to “Getting a Grip on Grief”

  1. Mary Friedel-Hunt Says:

    From one who is still feeling disconnected from so much and so many…eventually we shall get a grip on grief and on life….we have to believe this. How, I do not know….one day at a time.
    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Exactly. One day at a time. One grip at a time. Despite what I said in a previous post, I do not believe the universe is unfolding as it should (because that seems to say it’s okay for him to have suffered and died young) but I try to believe that grief truly is a journey and that it’s taking me somewhere. And how can I not? We met, we who have such a terrible date in common.

      • Mary Friedel-Hunt Says:

        I believe it is taking us to continuing growth, to being truer to the selves we are…and then….we, too, shall cross death’s threshold. Bill’s journey was done. He was a highly evolved human being…I have work to do here…I know that because I am still here….and for some unknown reason I am not being allowed to do that work with my soul mate, Bill, at my side. The whole thing is a massive and painful mystery to me. Tonight it all looks dark ahead. Mary

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          I just realized Saturday could be your sadder day, too, since Bill died on a Saturday.

          J. was highly evolved, too. When I first met him, I’d recently heard of the saying that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and I thought he was a higher being brought here to help me on my quest for truth. He was so radiantly alive! (After he died, I had two images in my head, one of his skin-covered skeleton as he left me, and the other of the first time I saw him. The juxtaposition of these two images about killed me.) I’d forgotton that early thought of his being my teacher. Toward the end, he kept telling me I had to pay attention to what he was saying because he wouldn’t always be here to teach me. It irritated me when he said that, because I couldn’t figure out what made him think I expected him to be my teacher. It was only after he died, and I was so aware of the beginning of our relationship, that I remembered my first thought on meeting him.

          I think now I will have many companions on my quest for truth. Some will be with me for a short time; others will remain for a while. But I also think there are parts of this journey I have to do alone. (That scares me, the thought of the aloneness, but I do think it’s part of my journey.) I have no idea where these ideas come from (well, I get them while walking in the desert) but at times they feel like the truth.

  2. Joy Collins Says:

    I am reading this today and amazed [although I shouldn't be] how appropriate it is for me. Just this morning I felt I was on the next phase of this journey. These last 18 months I have fallen backwards in a sense, being more dependent on others in my grief. Today I feel older, wiser, more independent, more of the old me. I think I am starting to “get a grip” too. I feel the same way as Mary Friedel-Hunt – John’s journey was completed. Mine is not. My belief is that he and I agreed to this before we came here. And now it is my job to do what I need to do before I go home, too.


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