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Grief: The Great Yearning

Grief: The Great Yearning
Pat Bertram
Family and Grief
176 pages


Grief: The Great Yearning is not a how-to but a how-done, a compilation of letters, blog posts, and journal entries Pat Bertram wrote while struggling to survive her first year of grief. This is an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.


"Grief: The Great Yearning by Pat Bertram is a book of empathic understanding. How many recently bereft have looked to society's guidelines for grieving and found these "norms" did not correspond to what they were feeling? How many were left confused and even more depressed because they were not "progressing" like the experts said they should? Bertram’s book is a comfort to those of us tossed into the grief whirlwind of disbelief and agony. The entire book is raw and real. Grief: The Great Yearning is a companion guide from someone who has already been there. It is a forever love letter." —J J Dare, author of False Positive and False World.

"Grief: The Great Yearning by Pat Bertram is a wonderful tribute to Jeff (Bertram’s deceased life mate/soul mate) and to Bertram’s own stamina." —Malcolm R. Campbell, author of The Sun Singer and Sarabande

"Everyone needs to read Grief: A Great Yearning by Pat Bertram. It's the best grief book I've ever read, and I have read the Kübler-Ross books and The Year of Magical Thinking. Pat Bertram’s book feels like what most of us would experience, makes me feel what she is feeling, and it's written from the inside out." —Brenda Buckner Wallace, author of Brilliant Prey

"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.” —Leesa Healy, Consultant in Emotional-Mental Health.


     I’ve been searching for happy memories to take the edge off the memory of watching my life mate die so painfully, and one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is a day I visited him at To Your Health, the store he owned. (That’s how we met; I was a customer at his health food store.) That particular day, we spent hours talking—about life, books, history, moving from one topic to another as easily as if we’d known each other a lifetime instead of just a few months—and then he walked me outside. This is the poem I wrote when I got home that night:

               you turned around
               and waved to me
               after we said good-bye
               a small gesture
               that told me more
               than all the words
               we had spoken

     I wish I could have just one more word from him, one more wave, one more minute with him at his store.



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