Slices of Life: The other side of grief

What if I attempt to step beyond my own grief and attempt to understand his? I didn’t think unconditional love was possible here on physical earth; but now I think it may be.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

Grief thrusts you into a world you’d never choose. For many of us, it’s a world we’d never want to imagine.

But then it is here. Up close and personal, much worse than we ever hoped to endure. How horrible. How awful. How terribly alone.

The pain seems unbearable, because it probably is. Breathing is no longer natural, but a struggle. You aren’t sure you can, will or want to survive. It is the depths of loneliness. You no longer feel whole, but a mere half of what you once were.

I lost my husband much too early. He left after a brief illness. I didn’t know what to think. He was my world. If I can be so bold, I will say he adored me, and I returned the favor.

We met at 15 and were best friends ever since. I used to hesitate to use the word soulmates, now I know he was mine. How lucky is that? We were so lucky. We shared a love most never even contemplate. With such a great love comes the possibility of great loss.



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He left this world, and I experienced great loss.
Grief is the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, yet most of us will experience it at one time or another during our time on this planet. When we do, we focus on our loss. On our grief. On the difficulties we, personally, are enduring.

Because we are the ones grieving, right?

Today, I had a thought. What if my husband is going through something just as difficult — maybe even more so — as my own grief?

What if he not only senses our separation but feels it to his core? What if he understands that he left me and his four kids and two grandkids unexpectedly (and too soon) and wishes upon wishing that he could be back here — with us? What if I’m not the only soul wishing for a little more time, one last kiss, one last embrace, one last “I love you?”

Even though he is in a better place (because he is) what if, on some level, he feels like he got sucked into a vortex that took him away from this life he so truly loved?

I’m here, with our family; he is there, alone — or at least without us.

I know he misses us. I know he misses me. I know this is just as hard for him as it is for me. I truly believe this.


Our loved ones miss us. I believe they are in a better place, where joy and love abound but that doesn’t erase the fact that they love us. Love never dies. The physical person may leave this earth, but the soul continues loving those of us left here on the planet.

It’s easy for me to lament about my loss, but what about his loss? I lost him; he lost me and four kids and two grandkids. That thought hit me today because I am sensing that he is missing me, missing us. Even in heaven, you miss those you love. And I want to acknowledge that. He didn’t want to leave.

But he did; it wasn’t his choice. It just was. And I want to cast light upon the fact that it might just be as hard for him as it is for me. He loves me (present tense). He always will, so this separation has to be hard, not just for me, but for him. He loves his children and grandchildren. He wanted to be here, physically, to participate in their growth. Now he watches from above; and however perfect his world is, he is still there, separated from us, and on some level that must rival my own loss.

What if I attempt to step beyond my own grief and attempt to understand his? I didn’t think unconditional love was possible here on physical earth; but now I think it may be.

And with that, I send him infinite and eternal love and understanding. It’s all I have. It’s all I can do.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

Related Topics: FAMILY
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