Loneliness

Adam didn’t make it home until long after I went to bed, I watched Eastenders and headed straight of to bed, with no struggling to stay awake just so I can spend more time with him. I have wondered often how I would live now if I were alone, one of those “what if’s” none of us really want to think about, but I have I suppose mainly because I write so much and hear so many stories for others who are also living with chronic illness. The thought of being here by myself 24/7 is actually impossible to pull off. I would have to have help whether or not I would want to accept it for all those daily tasks every home needs. I couldn’t get rid of the rubbish for a start, nor clean the house or do the dishes that the dishwasher can’t and changing the sheets, well I would never manage at all. Clearly no one with an health like mine could manage any of the practical things, but the more important part of life, that human contact we need, is much harder to replace. I have spent many years living by myself and as long as you have your health and can get out and about, living alone isn’t a problem in any way what so ever. I have heard people saying how long Sunday was or how depressing Christmas becomes, but I never found any of that a problem. I suppose the fact that I see the days of the week as just that days, changes things totally. The majority of the jobs I have had didn’t observe any day as any different, I just worked, without holidays or time off set to any day or time of year at all. I’ve never understood this strange need that people seem to have in this country to not working at the weekend, I actually loved working then and having 2 days off when everyone else worked, I had shops and social spaces to myself, not heaving with people.

Being by myself just hasn’t been a problem in the past, to work through these thought though I have to do one thing, remove Adam from the picture totally. Living by yourself is one thing, living missing deeply another person is totally another story. So I have to take myself back a few years and move forward from there, could I really manage being by myself, unable to go out and about when I wanted, not being able to socialise, go to the pub or out for a coffee, well I would like to think so. I never really was the type of person who had loads and loads of friends, when I did go out, I usually went out by myself. I was happy to go out for a coffee or a pint and just watch people, I would usually take a book with me, not to read but to fend off those who would approach me for a chat. I didn’t need to talk to anyone, or do anything really special or expensive for me to go home happy and feeling I had had a good time. Even when I would stay at home for days, not going out at all, I still never found myself feeling lonely or wanting to get out of there, the stir-crazy so many others tell me about. So I guess that yes, I probably would be quite content here by myself, most of the time, allowing people in to do what I couldn’t as they would supply those brief pockets of time when I would have someone around, if only to say hello, thank you, good bye. I keep hearing on the TV that loneliness is one of the biggest problems of old age, I can only take a mix of my past life, my everyday life I have now, alone when Adam is working and a knowledge of me as a person, I think I would survive and survive contently. I have never really been sure that lonely really exists, I believe strongly that lonely often really equates to bored, nothing to do and no idea of what you want to do. At some point in my life I must have felt it, but I don’t remember it ever happening, I have never been really bored, I always have something to do, something to keep me not just busy but interested. Once I was forced not to work, I found this and a ton of things on line to hold my attention and interest. I put time in to learning more about the history I love, I discovered new interests and daily I now have more I want to do than I have time for. Yesterday I was alone all day I found myself having to force myself to click my PC off button, so I have half an hour sat in front of the TV, then off again to go to sleep. My life is as busy and as fulfilling as it was when I was part of the rest of the world, going out to work and all the things life brings with it, never did I then have time to be bored, I just made lists of everything I wanted to do but didn’t have the time, some things don’t change.

I am not alone though, I have Adam, here every evening and every weekend, he fills my life with a dimension that those who are lonely don’t have, a person around them who loves them, cares for them and makes them happy. For me to be alone something would have to happen to him, that changes what lonely means, I think that is true loneliness, loosing the person you love isn’t about any of the everyday words that get banded about. Loosing your partner is like loosing yourself and how anyone copes with that, when there is no one else there to help them, that is when I start to understand loneliness. Could I cope with that, I don’t know, I have never had to and I never want to. The English language once again fails us by not really having enough words descriptive enough to separate out the different levels, types and grades of loneliness. You can be as busy as you want, have as many people around you as anyone could ever need, but loose your life partner, I believe you would still be lonely and somehow, always alone. I know from my life experiences, that slowly you do start to return to the life you had, so I expect if you were like me, you would head back into a life of always being busy, I expect it would be those hours you spent together at the end of each day that would be the hard ones, but busy might also grow to be a cure for that to.

So could I cope if I were alone, yes over all I believe I would, at least I believe that I would. I am the type of person who has always refused to be beaten and I doubt this would be any different, as long as I am not bed bound, I would be able to make it through every day, constantly busy from start to end, constantly still making lists of what I still want to do in my life, maybe that really is the secret, well for me at least.

4 thoughts on “Loneliness

  1. I think you have hit on something here. Loneliness for some people is just boredom, while for others it is the loss of a life partner or family members.
    I was and still am very much like you in that I never feel lonely and have so many things I enjoy doing that I will never have time to do it all. However, after the loss of my parents (one died and the other has cut off contact with me), I have for the first time experienced what I think some call loneliness. Even though we didn’t see each other very often and lived hundreds of miles apart, just knowing they were there was a great source of security and support. Now that has gone and it has been very, very hard. But, as you say, things move on and with time they gradually return to some sort of normality. We humans can be very resilient.

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  2. a difficult one to be sure I know that if Jen wasnt here with me then my life would be a very different one i do find being able to talk to someone helps keep that little link to an outside world I mean dont get me wrong I do like being on my own and being alone at times but a chat is a nice thing to have with the right person of course.

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  3. What a wonderful post again and so much food for thought. I was watching Sky news the other morning when they do the newspaper review at about 8.40am and one of the guests was Linda pop*****, sorry can’t spell it as it’s Greek, I think! She’s a psychologist I believe, the subject was how more people now live in separate houses/homes as “couples/married” or not and she actually said she thought this was “weird”. I was shocked that she took this view as I don’t see anything wrong in this at all and I mention this as the reason she gave was, how could the couples be together etc.? Who on earth said couples have to be together/do everything together and we’re probably talking of able-bodied people here. When there’s long term illness/disability involved for one or other person, that really changes things in my view. I actually think that there’s more trouble caused by couples spending too much time together, especially as time goes by and I think more people would do the separate homes thing, if money wasn’t an issue!!!

    I think that perhaps like yourself, I have always not minded my own company, though I do like social contact, I’m just not prepared to have that if it means going along with everything and have always known my own mind. When I was child I lived in a city, had sisters and we all lived very close together, there was school, mixing with 1 or 2 friends outside of that. Yet for many of the school holidays I spent weeks at my Grandparents in the West of Ireland on their farm. though this was the 1960’s/early 70’s, they had a very small traditional farmhouse, no bathroom, TV, or any mod cons and everyone had to work on the farm/in the house, doing something. During many of the days, as it was safe and different times, I was allowed to wander off from the main house and go exploring. I spent hours by myself walking mostly across all the fields, at other times, the field at the front of the farm, where there was a “sort of quarry” and I played “shop” there using the different settings of the big stones as my shop, people’s houses etc., I would stay there until Granny shouted me in for dinner/tea etc. I can recall girls at school asking about it and saying, “but what did you do” and “were you not lonely on your own”? but I wasn’t and the rest of the time in the farmhouse you were very close physically to Grandparents and Uncles, had to sleep in same bed as Granny, so I loved & appreciated that time on my own. When I returned back to Dublin, it was back to sharing a bedroom, being around others all of the time.

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