I’ve come a long way in the three years since I wrote the following journal entry. I still don’t understand the nature of life or death. Still don’t understand the point of it all, but the questions don’t haunt me quite as much as they did during the first years after the death of my life mate/soul mate. I’m learning to live without him, learning even to want to live without him. Sometimes I see his death as freeing us — me — from the horrors of his dying, and I don’t want to waste the sacrifice he made.
I still yearn to talk to him, though. I miss talking to him, miss his insights, miss the neverending conversation. (“Neverending” is a misnomer — the conversation that began the day we met and continued for decades until he got too sick to hold up his end of the dialogue, did eventually end.) He was easy to talk to. He never misunderstood what I said. I could make a simple comment to him, and he understood it was a simple comment. He didn’t make a big issue out of it, just answered back appropriately. It seems now every remark I make to anyone becomes a major deal as I try to explain over and over again what I meant by the first remark. It’s exhausting.
I’m grateful we met and had so many years together. Grateful for all the words we spoke to each other. Grateful I once had someone to love. Grateful that when my time comes to die, he won’t be here to see me suffer. Grateful he won’t have to grieve for me or be tormented by unaswerable questions.
Excerpt from Grief: The Great Yearning
Day 214, Grief Journal
Life/death has me very confused. I still don’t see that a person lives after they are dead. What survives, if anything? The part of us we never knew—the un-sub-conscious? If so, how would we know who we were after we were dead? Is it just the energy in our bodies that is released? If so, for sure we would not know who we were.
On the other hand, without some sort of afterlife, life simply does not make sense. What’s the point of it all? To survive? For what—more survival until there is no more survival? To help others? Why? So they can survive? For what?
If there is life after death, what do you do with eternity? You have no ears to hear music, no eyes to read or watch a movie, no legs to walk, no hands to caress another, no mouth to talk, no brain to think. Sounds like a horror movie to me. And what will we do if Jeff and I meet again? Bask in each other’s light? That would get boring after a minute or two.
I guess it doesn’t really matter. Whether life ends or continues after death, this is where I am now. So what do I want from the rest of my life? I don’t know. I’ve never really wanted much. I never even wanted happiness—I thought other things were more important, such as truth. But now? I truly do not know what I want, except that which I cannot have. I yearn desperately to talk to Jeff—not about anything in particular, just to talk. It’s like a voice hunger, or a word hunger. A dozen times a day I think of something I want to say to him, to ask him, to marvel at. Sometimes I just want the feeling of connection. I still yearn to put my arms around him and protect him from what will happen, but it’s already happened, and anyway, my touch never had the power to heal.
I know I’m strong enough to handle this—after all, I am handling it—but I DON’T WANT TO!!
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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense 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+. Like Pat on Facebook.