For the last few days, loneliness has come to keep company with me. Loneliness just sits and says nothing but its presence is unnerving. Loneliness is an unfamiliar visitor to me. I have never really sat with it before. I grew up in a large family. I have five brothers and sisters and a host of cousins. We all grew up together so there was always someone to play with and to talk to. I got married and for a while, we lived with my family. My oldest son was born in the house where I grew up and it was full. When we moved out, I was working so there were people around and then our little family was together. After the divorce, I moved back to my parent’s house and my youngest was born. We moved out, from the “woods” to the city, where I taught school and had my sons to care for. When I remarried our families blended and that house was full. The children began to leave, yet there was still Oscar and I and work.
When Oscar became too ill to live at home alone, I retired and came home to care for him. Though I dreadfully missed the hustle and bustle of school and the clamoring of children, I did not feel lonely because my full attention was dedicated to caring for Oscar. During that time our love grew exponentially, though it was one of the most challenging times of both our lives. I was always busy doing things for him or thinking about and planning the things that needed to be done.
The passing of my mother left a gaping hole in my heart that I have yet to find the words to adequately express. Her passing was sudden and unexpected, though quiet and peaceful. The necessity to remain focused on caring for Oscar, whose health was beginning to debilitate, caused me to compartmentalize my mother’s death and set it to the side. There was no long period of mourning and consequently little time to “fall apart,” a somewhat necessary event at the death of one’s mother. Later that same year when Oscar died I found myself grieving him and my mother simultaneously. I am thankful for my strong faith in God and my therapist.
Getting therapy was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life. Trying to navigate grief is difficult, to say the least. Navigating grief amid a global pandemic as you are aware of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died, six of which are your family members who all died within a period of two months is a pain that I can only describe as excruciating. So, today as I am writing this, I am sitting in the unwelcomed presence of loneliness.
Just like many other people, I hate the unfamiliar. Whenever I have had to enter an unfamiliar situation, whether the first day of college, the first day of work, the birth of my firstborn, I experience a time of profuse crying. Disequilibrium grips my brain and I seemingly fall apart. I have come to realize however that this is the process my mind uses to wash my soul of fear and allow courage to enter. Today is one of those days. Loneliness has come for a visit and because it is unfamiliar to me my first response to its arrival was to cry. Now, that I recognize it, although I find it a horrid guest, I refuse to turn from it. And though I do not necessarily want to offer it a cup of coffee, I am willing to sit with it and learn whatever it has come to teach me. Now that I have identified what it is by calling it by name, I am not afraid because I realize that it has come to give me further insight into the path ahead.
What does this have to do with LIFE – Living Inspired Free Enthusiastic? Well, avoiding the unpleasant things that come into our presence will cause us to simply go around in circles. The disequilibrium our mind experiences, if not resolved, will cause our thought processes to circle down into worry, complaining, and even depression. Those are not good ingredients for LIFE. However, identifying and recognizing even the most horrible experiences as a part of your present reality unleashes the mental power to move forward step-by-step towards resolution. A balanced mind is a joyful mind. Joy will always result in inspiration, freedom, and enthusiasm. So, do not run from unpleasant, scary feelings like loneliness. Face them. Sit with them. Learn from them. Be healthy. Be whole. Live LIFE.