Today I am having thoughts about loneliness. We are creatures who need each other. We are hard wired to be in community. We need belonging. The emotional toll of being shut off from others is being felt, not only where we are, but in the world at large.
Finding myself in an Independent Retirement Community during covid has brought on questions that I didn’t expect.
Even though we have all (almost) been completely vaccinated we are still alone much of the time. Our need for companionship, which is one of the reasons to be here, has been intensified. We must all wear masks which limits our ability to see facial expressions. Encouraged to seek physical distance we cannot gather to be with others. This is no fault of where we are but since we are elderly our safety is primary.
Of course this hits harder on those who are truly alone and do not have a spouse or companion with them. We have to find a new way of belonging. Electronic connection doesn’t satisfy the need. We need physical presence. It is imperative that new ideas for belonging are tried and used with safety in mind.
Some of that is already happening by default. People are meeting with others who they feel take safety seriously . Small groups meeting can bring the closeness we need to alleviate the physical and emotional pain (and yes it is actual pain) brought on by our need to experience belonging.
We are suffering. All of us. The innate need to experience personal physical links with others is critical. Without it the increase of depression, loneliness and suffering will increase enormously.
Our love of life, desire to live fully and happily are threatened. We must find new ways to experience belonging or many of us will die lonely and sad.
Last week was a real roller coaster. My dogs bark and cry. They do this because they are anxious since I am the only stable thing in their lives. Crash has been somewhat anxious since we got him. With both of them being rescues they have a past that I don’t know about. Unfortunately, this has made them what they are. I understand because they have been through what I have been through.
Last Monday I was told that the dogs have to go as people have complained about their noisiness. I understand this as they have truly have been noisy. I have done some drugs with them with little success. Now I have to try something else. I am doing the only thing that I can as a last ditch effort to solve the problem. I don’t want to have to drug the dogs all day every day to calm them. At the same time something has to be done….so…tomorrow they will be going to a dog boot camp for two weeks.
This may or may not help. They are old dogs and may not be able to make big changes. They will be with very professional and caring people who will work hard to make a difference. If they don’t eat for three days they will come back. I don’t know how they will respond.
The dogs are not at long term risk as my daughter and her family will take them if they have to leave me. However, they are the last link to my former life and I will miss them terribly. I want them to be settled and not afraid. The next weeks will tell the tale.
Life is truly challenging. One day everything is fine and the next…who knows? My daughter has ILC breast cancer. This type of breast cancer only shows up in 10% of people and doesn’t usually show up on a mammogram. It is frequently found by feeling a lump. It can also be difficult to treat.
ILC or Lobular breast cancer was only defined as a different cancer in 2012 and now research is being done on how it can best be treated. It has some things in common with lung cancer and a study is being done in Britain using the newest lung cancer med as a treatment.
Enough said about the disease itself. For me the hard part is watching my child go through all of this. Like most people I want to die before my children. I know this is not always possible but I don’t want to watch their pain. I think most parents feel this way.
During my time working as a nurse in pediatrics I saw parents struggling with the pain of having a seriously sick child. Losing a child has to be excruciating.
My daughter has a good prognosis but the journey changes your life forever, No more going blithely through each day. Even after treatment has had good results there is only remission…not cure. Learning to live with this reality is hard. I would take it from her if I could.
She is a positive person and is adjusting to this new world but I am having difficulty. I am a mother and want only the best for my children. Life is not perfect and we all have to live with that reality. Sometimes it is just not easy.
It is so easy to get sad thinking about the coming holidays. Christmas was always so special to my husband. He absolutely loved it. At the moment I don’t even have any decorations that are suitable for where I am now. Since I don’t go out much I guess I will have to search Amazon for some things that will work. This is a small apartment and I don’t really need much or have any place for it.
We always had the biggest tree that would fit where we were living. It actually took up more space than I would like but nothing else would do. One year he was so irritated with the tree having so many old ornaments that didn’t look good that he went to the local shop and bought everything off of the display.
He really didn’t care about getting things for himself but was always concerned that we did all the things for others we could afford. There were years when we had guests at our dinner table who had no one to be with. We used to joke that we took in strays. It was our joy to do so.
Things are completely different now and I know it will take so thought on my part to make the changes I need to. I am blessed to have family to be with and new friends to share with. My life has been rich and will continue to be.
The weather has changed at last and the air is cool and crisp. The dogs and I both love to walk when it is like this. We took the longer walk. Old bassets don’t do long or fast walks but today they were up for more exercise.
Dealing with the dogs has been a challenge in the last week. Crash (male) had diarrhea and Tillie (female) a bladder infection. This is the first time since we have had them that either of them has had any real problems but as we get older things happen. They have both been to the vet and both are better.
Basset mom is better too now that they have more or less recovered.
I have not written since the middle of June. It has just been too hard. I have struggled with IBSD and grief and didn’t want to write about all my sadness and anxiety. I have moved to Longhorn Village a wonderful home for those who want to live the rest of their lives with joy and I have met so many people who live life to the fullest. It will take me time to adjust and the grief will come and go on its own schedule. Nevertheless, I am hopeful for the first time in forever.
I will be able to do stimulating mental and physical activities and it is such a relief after covid to be able to go without a mask here and shake hands. Before all this journey we have all been on with virus we would never had imagined how our world would change.
I thank God for all that has changed in my life…the good and the bad. I would have preferred to not go through some of it but I am alive getting up every morning.
For some reason it has been very hard for me to write. It is as if my brain has gone on vacation. In some ways it worries me. Has all this stuff over the last year changed my ability to think? It is a scary thought. One that is particularly frightening one for me. I have worked with families who are suffering through family members with dementia and their pain is great. I hope as things settle I will feel more myself.
I hope that it will only be a few weeks before I more to my next destination. It will be so wonderful to feel that I can plant my feet and settle into a home. The apartment is being worked on at this time and I can move as soon as the work is done.
I have been trying to get some things cleaned up and sorted for the move. That means sorting my husband’s things and deciding what to let go and what to keep. It is going well with some moments of sadness.
Hopefully I will get back to my regular writing schedule in the near future and actually have something interesting to say.
Last week was a lost week. For some reason I was in a bad place and nothing seemed right. It is the first time that I have had such a down time. I think the impact of everything that has happened since last March finally got to me. (Covid, husband in hospital several times, moving to another city, downsizing to an apartment from my wonderful home, losing my husband, paperwork, changing everything from ours to mine.) A lot to take in over that short time. I guess I wouldn’t have been normal if it didn’t get to me. Just letting it all out helped.
I have begun doing mandalas for healing again, my attitude is different and I feel better. Strangely enough the dogs are behaving better. I am sure that my upset has been affecting them. Yes, I am still grieving and that will take time but I feel more grounded
Today has been one of my first special days to get through. It was my husband’s birthday. It is strange to live that day without him around. I was remembering last year when we did a party for him outside in the yard with just family and one friend. He was not well then and didn’t really enjoy it.
I am sure that this day is better for him. He didn’t cope well with being unable to do the things he loved. Even though he was able to be with family during the last months it wasn’t the same for him.
Now it is time to accept this day with joy for the time I had with him. That is what he would want.