Excerpt From “Grief: The Great Yearning” by Pat Bertram

I never actually set out to write a book about grief, never planned to make any of my writing public (except for blog posts, of course), but I was so lost, so lonely, so sick with grief and bewildered by all I was experiencing, that the only way I could try to make sense of it all was to put my feelings into words. Whether I was writing letters to Jeff (my deceased life mate/soul mate) or simply pouring out my feelings in a journal, it helped me feel close to him, as if, once again, I was talking things over with him. The only problem was, I only heard my side of the story. He never told me how he felt about his dying and our separation. Did he feel as broken as I did? Did he feel amputated? Or was he simply glad to be shucked of his body, and perhaps even of me?

It’s been more than three years now since the following piece was written. I still don’t understand the purpose of pain, loss, suffering. Still don’t understand the nature of life or death. Still don’t know how energy can have cognizance, if in fact, consciousness survives death. The main difference is that the wound where he was amputated from me has healed. I don’t worry about him — at least not much — but I still miss him and I probably always will.

Excerpt from Grief: The Great Yearning

Day 115, Dear Jeff,

Did you use the phrase okie-doke one night at the end when you were saying all those jaunty things like “adios, compadre”? You must have. Every time I see or hear the expression, I start crying. Good thing it’s not in common usage any more.

I am hurtling away from you at incredible speeds. Maybe I’ll come full circle and meet with you again when my end arrives? I wish I believed that, but it makes no sense. How do sparks of energy have cognizance, character, memory? How would we know each other? At least I would no longer have to deal with your absence since I’d be absent too.

You came into my life so rapidly. One day you weren’t there, and the next you were. You went out the same way. One day you were there, the next you weren’t.

Yesterday someone told me that life on earth was an illusion and so you still existed. But if life is an illusion, why couldn’t it be a happy figment? A joyful one? What’s the point of pain? Of loss? Of suffering?

You’ve been gone one-hundred and fifteen days, and I still can’t make sense of it.

Adios, compadre. I hope you, at least, are at peace.

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


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.”


Filed under books, Excerpts, Pat Bertram

5 responses to “Excerpt From “Grief: The Great Yearning” by Pat Bertram

  1. We all grieve the loss of a loved one, Pat. My parents have been gone from me for 16 and 17 years respectively, and not a day passes that I don’t think of them, miss them, although it’s much easier to bear their loss than it once was. As much as their loss from me pains me, I’m happy for them, that their suffering is at an end. I choose to believe that they’re in a far better place and have found their reconciliation.

    Maybe Jeff is glad to have shucked his earthly flesh—this is, after all, not a happy place in which to exist—but I doubt very much that he is glad to be gone from you. I’m sure he found in you an oasis from the anguish we’ve made of this world.

    • J. Conrad, I hope you’re right about his having found an oasis in me. As connected as we were, sometimes I hadn’t a clue what he thought, especially during his long years of dying.

      You must have had a wonderful relationship with your parents. Interesting that they died within a year of each other. Hard for you, of course, and painful, but easier for them, perhaps?

      • I had a good relationship with Mom most of my life; but it was difficult watching her succumb, little by little over 18 years, to Parkinson’s disease. Dad wasn’t very nurturing to me when I was a boy, but we connected the final year of his life, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

        Dad took Mom’s loss hard, and was ready to go onto the next plane of existence. I do believe something of us survives after death. In nature there is less death and destruction than death and transmutation. Day follows night, and spring (new life) follows winter from year to year. Why should it be any different for us?

        • Since energy can never be destroyed, I am sure that something survives. What I don’t know and can’t even guess is if that energy has consciousness.

          Some people believe that our consciousness comes from without — that we are like TV channels, accepting that certain frequency which is each individual, but again, I don’t know the truth of it.

        • I was never close to my parents, which is one reason I am here looking after my father — I don’t want the rest of my life to shadowed by regrets.

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