Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Being Alone

Loneliness (Photo credit: Alex Abian (Also on
When I was little, I was afraid of loneliness which I could best describe as boredom. I was an only child so loneliness and boredom were the worst threats to the joy of childhood I could imagine. I grew up and found my life populated by a host of people. When I married, Frank and I lived with my father for the first eight years. By the time he died, we had three children. In the ensuing years we had three more children. Loneliness was not something I ever experienced, in great measure, as an adult.

For a few years Frank and I were alone, but the solitude was not unpleasant until he had a severe illness. Then the multitudes of doctors and nurses were mostly an annoyance. They didn't help Frank's discomfort and they added to my unease. He finally improved enough to be released. He could not regain his vitality and energy, but sometimes the humor and joy of his life was still evident. Frank died and I felt the full weight of true loneliness. But I had to go on. My son moved in with me for a few months; then I moved to a town house in another small town. Now I was ready to make it as a single woman alone. I lasted three years. Then my daughter's husband died. She is disabled and needed help, so I insisted she move in with me, she and her daughter. Here I was again in the middle of other lives. We made it for a little over two years. When I started getting medical issues, I decided it was time to try it by myself again. I moved to "the home."

There are lots of people here, but I am more lonely and isolated that I have ever been. Only being alone relieves the loneliness. I really do pretty well by myself. Nothing is more lonely than being with a bunch of people I don't know and have nothing to talk about and no common interests. 

Occasionally when I go to the dining room I want to sit alone. Some people are so kind and compassionate they can't stand to see me sitting alone.I appreciate their kind hearts, but having learned to enjoy my solitude, I wish they would leave me alone. I've mentioned to a few people and now I have acquired a new reputation.  I don't like it either. I'm not really a loner and I don't always want company. I just want the right to choose.   
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