Thursday, July 21, 2011

Solitude Is Pleasant....Loneliness is Not

Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact. ~ Martha Beck

I love this was the only one that gave loneliness a positive spin.

Of course, any post that starts out with a quote about loneliness doesn't sound like it will be exciting, funny and inspiring.

I will admit that you are correct.  Nope, no laughs in this one.....nothing inspiring like running a marathon or jumping into thin air 11,000 feet from earth.

Just a very personal, sole bearing post....about loneliness.  A glimpse into the feelings of a widow, me...and a lot of other widows/widowers I suspect.  This isn't a pity party - although it may sound like one - but it isn't.  It is reality.

There are a lot of pitfalls to being a widow....most of which I have accepted and overcame.  The one I cannot shake is the sheer loneliness.

Yes, I am surrounded by my three children, great friends, co-workers....I lead a pretty active life....I have a nice house.....I have a great job.  So what could possible be wrong?

Well, I am alone.  My kids are kids....and I am their parent not their friend or companion.  My co-workers are people I work with - and I probably spend the majority of my time with - but we are there to isn't social time....and I manage many of them, so the level of friendship is a bit different.  My friends are amazing....but they have their own lives, their own kids, their own spouses.....or they live far away.  And this doesn't sit easily with someone as social as myself.

"I had become, with the approach of night, once more aware of loneliness and time - those two companions without whom no journey can yield us anything." ~ Lawrence Durrell

It is that companionship of another adult I miss most.  Granted, being married doesn't mean you spend every moment of every day with your gets in the way.  I understand that....I was I recognize at times, there can be a sense of loneliness in a marriage.

The difference is.....the loneliness of a widow never goes away.  It hangs on - sometimes hiding for an hour, a day, a month.....but it is always there.

It has always been there....lurking in the background....but in the span of a month, two very close friends moved for fantastic opportunities (very happy for both of them) and a relationship I now realize I was much too invested in by trusting someone I loved to be a part of my life suddenly disappeared into thin air.  Suddenly my loneliness jumped out from it's hiding spot and became even more magnified.

These changes in my life made being along so much more apparent to me.  I suppose I had been too busy dealing with Brian's death and the kids to really ever notice it.

I used to be able to do things on my own.....but now I dread it.  I routinely went to Chicago for the weekend by myself, but I am heading there this weekend and although I'm looking forward to the activities that are bringing me there, I am dreading all the time I will have alone.

To put this in perspective,  think about the last time you were REALLY and truly alone....not for a few days....but for weeks that turn into months that turn into a year.....that suddenly turns into years.....and you realize time has slipped away.....and all you have to look forward to is more days, weeks, months and years alone.  It is an awful feeling and one I think most widows feel.....and keep to themselves.

We widows put on a good front....we have to be strong....many of us have children and jobs which require a level of strength just to get up and moving each day.  Over time, that becomes more routine....and we really don't have a choice but to keep moving - for our kids, for our employment so we can care for our kids.  But, deep down.....deep deep down.....there are a lot of emotions that we are afraid to expose.....for fear of being viewed as weak....for fear of upsetting our children.....for fear of impacting our livelihood, our source of income.  I often times feel trapped in my life and angry that others are happy....every moment of every day is a personal struggle at times.

I love my friendships, I love my children but I miss the companionship of being in a loving relationship.....of having someone wonder about you.....someone that checks in on you.....someone that just wants to hear your voice.....someone to be in the same space as fill that void and provide you with a feeling of safety.   Of not being alone.

Damn you cancer!  Damn you for ruining my dreams of growing old with the man I love.  Damn you for bringing hopelessness into my vocabulary.

To be clear, this is NOT a pity is the reality of my situation.  And some days I'm better at being strong and kicking my life into gear.

And some days I am not.

Something we all want and crave.....but I am also not willing to settle.....I would rather be lonely alone than lonely with someone.

The sky is one whole, the water another; and between those two infinities the soul of man is in loneliness. ~ Henryk Sienkiewicz 

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