“You just can’t imagine what loneliness is,” Dad confessed quietly as he eased his way off our deck that has needed new steps since we moved in (has it really been 13 years?). His full schedule keeps him going to something nearly every day, but his “Big Apple loneliness” is something I need to understand.
The passing of five years hasn’t buffered his missing Mom a bit. If anything, along with the expected aches and frustrations that go with aging, it gets worse as time goes on. It’s hard for me to imagine how much I would miss a spouse of 50 years, especially a spouse who was my best friend and with whom I’d done nearly everything during 20 years of retirement.
When I overhear conversations about losing a spouse, I feel required to chime in with, “Couples should never do everything with each other. There should always be some separate territory unique to each partner.” That way, when one dies first, familiar ties remain in a situation apart from associations with a spouse. Many couples probably have separate interests, but, perhaps just as many don’t. I’m speaking up only for less togetherness, certainly not less love.
I’m seeing first hand the significance of this guideline and making a mental note. I’m sure Dad would want us all to learn from the complex paradox of too much togetherness being a bad thing. It’s got to be tough with so many people ready to reach out, to console, and yet, none of them a party who is able to make a difference.
We’re very much creatures of habit; we get used to having things a certain way. Change is difficult and some of us need things to stay the same more than others. I’ve found no magic potion to overcome it. Maybe learning to sing a little more; that’s what Mom always did. The times, they’re always a-changin’. Happy Birthday, Dad.
Celebrating its 19th year, “Be Kind to Humankind Week” was created as a tribute that recognizes and affirms this fact: “There is not one small act of kindness that goes unnoticed.” Note below, the list of suggestions for performing one (or more) daily acts of kindness.
The Web site includes this brief story: At an inner city soup kitchen, a young woman was serving meals to guests. As one man was moving past her, she noticed he had missed his bread portion. She reached out and touched his arm. When he turned, the young woman saw he was crying. Concerned, she asked if she had hurt him. The man replied, “No, you are the first person who has touched me in more than two years.”
There are many kinds of loneliness. We must never be afraid to reach out and touch our fellow humankind.
BE KIND TO HUMANKIND WEEK