Saturday, October 8, 2011

Loneliness and Loss

Last week, a friend of mine left. He had stayed with Holly and I for a fortnight, staying with me while I detoxed off Tramadol. I was feeling very very depressed, and did not trust myself to be alone. So, in the manner of Lincoln's friends when he was in the same state, my friend stayed with me.

I moved into a new apartment back in March, a much nicer apartment than my old one. Handicapped. I could no longer use the stairs in my apartment, so I had to move to a new one on the ground floor. It's been a very positive thing, I am actually able to get out and about so much easier. My mobility has been improving in leaps and bounds. I'm walking better. I'm actually optimistic.

Until this last week. I really enjoyed having my friend over, I wasn't alone. We shared dinner every night, and I found myself taking great pleasure in cooking simple meals for him, talking at dinner. Doing the dishes together. Listening to music together.Helping with the daily cleaning.  Knowing that if I took a nap, he would play with the kitty with her favorite toy, "Da Bird." It was nice. We were totally in sync with each other. And for the first time in my whole adult life, I felt like we were family; something I'm sad to say I never even felt in my marriage.

He had to leave, eventually to take care of his own things, and he left last Saturday. I cried buckets on the 200 mile drive back home, listening to old "Dragnet" radio shows on my iPod. The pouring rain made me feel better, I was crying buckets, the heavens were throwing down rain so hard I almost saw animals walking down I-95 in pairs.

What I've noticed since Monday, on my mood chart, is that my mood is getting worse. I'm crying more than normal. I thought perhaps it was because of my period, but no, that ended and I'm still crying. My thoughts are going blacker and blacker. I'm sleeping more, and eating too many carbohydrates. Then, one night, listening to the radio, I had my Eureka! moment.

I've either fallen in love ( something I haven't done in almost ten years), or I like having someone around in my fortress of solitude. I can be alone, but I don't feel lonely. When he left, I felt lonely. What's wrong with this equation?

Human beings are meant to be social. As much as I say I would love to live in a cabin in the woods somewhere in New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine, away from the Madding crowd and civilization with just me and two cats and a dog-I realize I as a human being, need human stimulation. I can listen to talk radio while I am awake, or books on tape, and talk back to them, but it's not the same as having someone to talk to in person. I enjoy cooking meals for myself, but to cook a meal for a friend; go through the ritual of eating, pouring juice in wine glasses, and talking about totally banal things, was heaven. I haven't had this simple pleasure in years. While I had company, my mood was on an even keel, I was happy. I was feeling physically sick, but knowing there was another human soul with me was nice. Someone that even would kiss the cat and my stuffed pandas goodnight, and then kiss me.

So knowing my moods were tied to my friend, I'm making more of an effort to get out each day and talk to my neighbors. There are a lot of elderly widows in my apartment complex, they aren't lonely, but they are alone. Like me. Not lonely,  but alone. So I went out of my comfort zone, cooked a pumpkin pie, with fresh cream, made a big pot of coffee, and invited two of my neighbors over for coffee and conversation. It was nice. The upshot is, on Thursday, when I charted my mood- it was the highest since Sunday. A simple act of baking, and sharing, and I felt better. I don't mind being alone. I relish it. But as for loneliness, I think I will be having more of these coffee clatches more often.

Holly with her stuffed panda


Annapurna Moffatt said...

Yay you!

Sharon Pernes said...

What a great post...I'm so glad that you understand this now. Thanks for sharingnthis and reminding us of this lesson

susan said...

@Annapurna, thank you. I wish you could have tasted some of that pie!

@Sharon, thank you. I think it's something we all forget because we are so busy in our daily lives.

Astral Samurai said...

Glad you are back on your feet!

Even the unibomber needed human contact!

Southernbelle said...

Great insights--as always! I dread being alone, but I think you have the right idea--GO SUSAN!!!! :-) Sweetpea and I send hugs and headbonks to you and my little niece!!

Spanner said...

Hi, sorry I haven't been in touch since the great "heat wave".

I hate being on my own too but things look like they may be changing on that front for me.

I hope your coffee and cake mornings continue to bring some well earned joy to you.

Best wishes from London, cor blimey love a duck :-) Spanner.

The Blue Morpho said...

"So I went out of my comfort zone, cooked a pumpkin pie, with fresh cream, made a big pot of coffee, and invited two of my neighbors over for coffee and conversation." That's so brave! Wow. I've been struggling to develop that kind of courage - to reach out and fill that 'people' gap. Good for you.
(PS would love to have you submit a post for my blog carnival!)
Adventures in Anxiety Land

Tina said...


The Blue Morpho said...

Hey there, thanks for stopping by Anxiety Land - you can submit a post for the carnival by going to
Push the orange button at the top and fill in the form.

Ruth said...

I like your solution. It is a great idea.

susan said...

@Astral Samurai-I didn't know that about the unibomber, but I think we all need some physical contact.

@SouthernBelle- Headbonks back to my furry niece Sweet Pea.

@Hey Spanner! How are things in my most favorite place in the world? If I am reading you right, do you have a bird now in your life? Girls like cake and coffee. Or a cuppa is always nice too.

@Blue Morpho- a journey starts with a single step. I adore this time of year, and I love pumpkins- the hard part was cleaning the kitchen for company. I know you can do it too. I have faith in you.

@Tina - thank you.

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Emeshi said...

Thank You for sharing. We often confuse lonely with alone and you've done a great job clarifying. Very happy to know you took that extra step to bake and connect w/others

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