Why GRIEF: THE GREAT YEARNING Is Important — by Pat Bertram

I’ve written four novels, all published by Second Wind Publishing, and although I thought the subject matter of each book important enough to spend a year of my life writing and another year editing (to say nothing of the years on the arduous road to publication), I have a hard time telling people the novels are important.

The basic theme of all my novels is conspiracy, focusing on the horrors ordinary citizens have been subjected to by those in power. Most people who have read the books seem to like them (though a few who didn’t like them seemed befuddled by what I was trying to accomplish). Light Bringer in particular seems to arouse a difference of opinion. Written to be the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories, Light Bringer traces the push toward a one-world government back 12,000 years. Based on myths, both modern conspiracy myths and ancient cosmology myths, Light Bringer is a thriller, or mythic fiction perhaps (if there is such a thing). I never intended it to be science fiction since the science is gleaned from ancient records rather than futuristic imaginings, but that is how it is perceived. Still, despite the scope of the book, despite it being my magnum opus and the result of twenty years of research, I can’t in all honesty say it is important to anyone except me. It probably won’t change anyone’s life or anyone’s thinking. For the most part, we bring to books what we believe, and so those who believe in conspiracies see the importance of my novels, while those who don’t have even a smattering of belief that there are machinations we are not privy to might even think them far-fetched.

On the other hand, Grief: The Great Yearning is an important book. It is composed of journal entries, blog posts, and letters to my dead life mate/soul mate, all pieces written while I was trying to deal with the unbearable tsunami of emotions, hormones, physical symptoms, psychological and spiritual torments, identity crisis and the thousand other occurrences we lump under the heading “grief.” Because of this, the emotion in Grief: The Great Yearing is immediate, the experience palpable. This is a comfort to those having to deal with a grievous loss because they can see they are not alone. (One of the side effects of grief is a horrendous feeling of isolation.) They can see that whatever they feel, others have felt, and that whatever seemingly crazy thing they do to bring themselves comfort, others have done.

This book is also important for the families of someone who has suffered a grievous loss. Too often the bereft are told to move on, get over it, perhaps because their families don’t understand what it is the survivor has to deal with. Well, now they can get a glimpse into grief and ideally, be more patient and considerate of their bereft loved ones.

This book is especially important for writers. I’ve mostly given up reading for now because of the unrealness I keep coming across in fiction. So many novels are steeped in death, with bodies piling up like cordwood, yet no one grieves. The surviving spouses think as clearly as they did before the death. They have no magical thinking, holding two disparate thoughts in their minds at once. (For example: I know he will never need his eyeglasses, but I can’t throw them away because how will he see without them?) The characters have no physical symptoms or bouts of tears that are beyond their control. There is no great yearning to see the dead once more (and this yearning is what drives our grief, not the so-called stages). In other words, we are continually conditioned to downplay the very real presence of grief in our lives. If we don’t see people grieve in real life, in movies, in books, where are we to get a blueprint for grief?

As Leesa Healy, Consultant in Emotional-Mental Health wrote, “If people were to ask me for an example of how grief can be faced in order for the healthiest outcome, I would refer them to Grief: The Great Yearning, which should be the grief process bible. Pat Bertram’s willingness to confront grief head on combined with her openness to change is the epitome of good mental health.”

So, yes, Grief the Great Yearning is important, with an important message: It is okay to grieve. And as impossible as it is to imagine now, you will survive.

Click here to find out more about Grief: The Great Yearning


Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!


Filed under books, Pat Bertram, writing

6 responses to “Why GRIEF: THE GREAT YEARNING Is Important — by Pat Bertram

  1. Sherrie Hansen

    I wish you great success with Grief – maybe the measure of which will be how many people you help? You’re right – very important.

  2. It does indeed sound like a book that matters. It’s all too easy to accept the easy grief of fiction and feel like real grief is somehow a mistake. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.

    • I love the way you phrase ideas, Sheila. You are exactly right. Real grief seems like a mistake, as does the reason for the grief. Something inside of us always thinks death is mistake.

  3. Pat, I commend you for opening your heart and soul, addressing something most of us will face some time in our lives. You now have a different perspective on what you read that I can appreciate. There are so many action-based novels, and I think they have their place in the entertainment arena, but characters can be on the cardboard side, and emotions aren’t addressed, or even mentioned. Like you said, the bodies pile up and nobody cares. Because of all you went through, your life and your writing will forever be influenced by your experiences.

    • The only time such books work is when it’s a couple of years later, after the death of a spouse. There are so many physical reactions that are totally beyond our control, that the only way a character who has undergone such a grievous loss can be believable is if they are in shock (in which case they would be acting irrationally), if they are in total denial, or if they used their grief to propel them to do what needs to be done.

      Right now, I’m not writing much, but when I do write, such as my part in the Rubicon Ranch collaboration, it’s always a character undergoing grief. I cannot even imagine a non-grieving character yet. But even when I can move beyond such characters, you are right — my writing, as is my life, will be forever influenced by what I went through.

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