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+