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Too Much Time Alone

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I have been alone in this house with few exceptions (people dropping food off or getting my mail, a few phone calls that only resulted in heavy coughing so were short) for over 2 weeks now. What started with what I thought was the flu/cold/crud became pneumonia which, I did not know is very weakening. In the 16 months this week since Bill died, I have gone out of my way to avoid being alone for this long a time. Sometimes I have gone overboard in either direction though I have tried to balance being alone with being with others (quiet lunches, concerts, etc ) that, though empty, at least distracted me or reminded me that I have people who care in my life. Granted, upon returning home, the loneliness reappeared or surfaced again but at least for a while, it sat in the background...present but not predominant.

Being alone this long has reminded me that I need to continue to balance solitude with people time and accept the fact that none of these people will ever be Bill and can never put me first, as Bill did, but who do fill some emptiness. Alone too long, I begin to think of all the mistakes I made in taking care of Bill; of the times I could not give what I did not have; of the sadness I feel that I was impatient with him as exhaustion took more and more of my life energy over 4 years. It reminds me that I was grieving Bill's death long before he ever died and my denial prevented me from getting enough help and from allowing the grief in which would have freed the pain so that I might have been able to be more for Bill in those many months. I look back and feel selfishness where total exhaustion should be. Being alone all the time only makes this worse. The black hole feels deeper and blacker. The mistakes, the impatience, the emptiness, the sadness seem to grow exponentially with each day.

It is hard to sort out after so much focus on the tough times and I tend to forget all the good times, the loving moments, the deep love we shared, the oneness that was ours, the bliss we had, the laughter and the joy, the times we listened to Mahler or read poetry or hiked a mountain or even took ticks out of our dogs after walking our woods. I begin to weep out of pain of loss and out of a helplessness to tell Bill how sorry I am that I was so exhausted, in so much denial, and so burned out that I did not act like me too often...and did not do all I wish, in hindsight, that I could have done and been for him (and for me.)

I share this because I need to and because I know so many of us here on this forum spend too much time alone and I encourage all of us to balance our lives with solitude and with time with friends and family or doing volunteer work or in support groups. Do not let the hole grow as I have these past 17 days. It only becomes harder to distinguish what was real from what was not real. It is harder to have any hope or positive outlook when one is staring at a mindless TV or a blank silent wall thinking every negative thought one can think in spite of efforts not to do so. .

I look forward to getting out this week and getting some strength back into this weary body and to remembering the good times which far outweigh the tough times. I look forward to having that world out there become a source of distraction and in some ways fulfillment and beauty. I also know I have to take better care of myself as I am so run down that I have to do a lot more than usual to get my health back. I know this will strike home with many of you and hope you can use my experience to do some preventative work of your own. Starting tomorrow Bentley will get his daily walks again even if it is hot (well not the 111 we had recently) and I will begin again to do some self care again. Thanks for listening. Mary

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Dear Mary, so glad you are getting " stronger" and have plans to get out of the house. I also am realizing the extreme importance of balancing everything in my life and make sure i get some alone time, but not too much. We,I am realizing this is one of the best ways to be good too myself. Do find that the more time i have on my hands just to think also brings out some of the worthless guilt I have had to suffer through, I do believe as I have said before, guilt serves no positive purpose, and yet it still does haunt me if I dont watch out!

I have gratefully noticed recently that the anger that i had for Mike in his dismal last days has started to dissipate and the good times are coming through clearer in my memory bank.....which is helpfull. Just wish my strenght would return, today is better ,able to keep down food and actually have some appettite...Please cont to take care and dont over due getting out of the house. thinking of you ! Dave

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I can relate...since I got laid off, I am home way too much...looking for work or checking email for my job (I still work one day a week) or doing their bank reports, icing my elbow, trying to take care of this place one armed is way slower. I find myself getting lonely and bored out of my mind. Yesterday I drove my dog to the park just to get out! Being sick you don't feel like doing things and don't have the stamina to go anywhere, it gets old very fast...I keep praying you'll improve soon!

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