I never imagined the pained of the loneliness I am in. Even going into the second year, that has not subsided. The other parts – the longing for him, lack of intimacy, the making decisions of my own, the pit forming every time I see or hear couples doing things, the not being able to share things with Peter, even the shock of his death, all of it – I’ve learned to accept, tolerate and live with. But the loneliness? It festers in me like an open wound not even beginning to heal.
I know loneliness is experienced by so many people, sometimes even in a relationship. Mine came out of nowhere and screwed with me. One day I’m having another day-in-the-life of thirty one years with Peter, and without asking for it, wanting it, talking about it, preparing for it, boom, the next day it’s done. My life with the man I shared everything with is done. With it, came the deafening sound of loneliness.
I’ve been downtown at Discovery with my dog, Barkley, this past week. The whooshing sound of silence inside this one-bedroom apartment hurts my ears, hurts my soul. I talk to myself, disguising it as a conversation with Barkley, just to get some noise in the place. I continue to “talk to Barkley” when we go for walks. I really don’t give a damn about the stares anymore. It’s for my own sanity. Barkley is not the best listener. Sure, he cocks his head at me with each rise of my voice…when he’s not sniffing the ground, sleeping, or playing with a toy. Honestly, when I talk to Barkley, I’m really having a conversation with myself since he distracts easily and can’t respond to, or even start, a conversation.
I have wonderful friends. I am blessed with an abundance of them. But their lives are filled with their own commitments, their own noises. They have families and jobs and, gulp, their persons. They aren’t always readily available to fill in my own noiseless void in the moment I need it the most. It’s not their fault and I know this. I also have siblings, many siblings, and I don’t really want to drag them into this blog. Let’s just say, for many reasons , don’t feel I can count on them….with two exceptions.
When I reach out to people, and I do, it’s hard sometimes to get no response, or a response of “I can’t talk right now”, “I’m busy”, “Can we talk later?”. These are all valid responses, responses which would caused no pain pre-Peter’s death, responses I give all the time. Yet, when I’m lonely, really lonely, my hurt is an exposed wire of emotions, and the responses devastate me. Upon hearing them, my heart drops to my stomach and sits there like a pit, a growing, all-encompassing, self-centered, pit.
COVID has made it worse. There’s not much to distract me from my lonelies. I can’t go to a movie, loose myself at a library, take myself out to lunch, join an in-person support group, take in the sights of Chicago, window shop, whatever I was just about ready to do to distract myself pre-COVID. I had high hopes when I renewed my lease at Discovery. I thought it would give me opportunities to put myself out there and take advantage of the wonderful offerings in Chicago. I even thought of doing new things like joining classes at Second City, or volunteering somewhere. But, well, COVID shot that to shit.
Let me just stress this. It’s not my friends and family’s fault. I’m not even mad. Okay, I am but more at the situation and COVID, not them. I totally understand. They have their lives, lives they need to live. They do have commitments, even partners and spouses. I know I am not their responsibility. No adult is anyone’s responsibility. We are all our own. Sure, Peter’s death was problematic, is problematic. It’s hard to shift gears with the suddenness of a well, fatal crash, from my person being there – my person who held my hand, shared laughter, listened to my voice and spoke his own even if in rambles or quick observations, had intimacy with, and felt his presence around me – to it all being gone. Peter is not just gone, but my life of noise and conversation and touch are all gone with him. And it’s the silence is painful. However, this is not on the good, kind, loving people in my life.
The other morning, I had a talk with God. I once again questioned Her/Him/They about the purpose in all of this. I lost my faith in God after Peter died. Yet, I am now understanding questioning is faith, and I am open to dig deeper. But I don’t know. The whole “God gives you what you can handle” and “God is carrying you” and “God is with you through it all”, beliefs I held at one time, are hard for me to believe now. I am willing for more faith to come in. In fact, I welcome it. I practice it. I pray for it. And yet, there are times, probably during my most loneliest of times, where I doubt everything, and I don’t feel anything.
I know it’ll take time. I know the COVID will require more time and patience from me. I know I need to take it ‘one day at a time’. My loneliness knows this. It doesn’t take away the agony in the hush sounds of isolation. And I know there are options of X Y and Z to help me along. I am working on those, on my good days, my less painful ones. So, please. No advice. No platitudes. No saying things I already know. Even when it comes from a good place, a place of love and respect and desire to help, it’s not what I need. Thank you. Really. Thank you and when I begin to feel less of all this, I am sure I will appreciate you, and all your words, more.
Today, my life is all about being alone and adjusting to this. Although I wish Peter was back with me to make some noise and erase this loneliness, I know wishes won’t bring him back. He’s gone forever and is replaced by agonizing stillness. My here and now is hearing the lonely silence of my life around me.. I know better days will come. Well, at least that’s what I tell Barkley and pray to God for anyway.