Because we are required by this current pandemic to be cloistered in our own little confined living space it’s easy to become introspective and self-centred. And, whilst it may be useful to do some honest self-appraisal, it is not healthy to over-indulge in one’s own self-pity!
For those of us who are now living alone, not by design, the absence of a partner is bound to be felt more acutely and I have found it difficult to avoid despondency. I confess to feeling a deep loneliness, not for the company of others, just for my partner of sixty-two years who is has been in care for these last fifteen months and counting. I know she has the best care possible and that care is something that I can appreciate even more, now that I am not permitted to visit her (because of the coronavirus restraints). I am now able, indeed forced, to ‘let go’ in a way I couldn’t in earlier times, and learning to fill my life with other activities, albeit they are house bound! Well, not quite all, we can go out for a walk! With weeks of solitude yet to come, the challenge is not what to do but having the will to do it!
Such an unplanned incentive occurred a couple of days ago when a fellow resident, here where I live in a retirement village, brought his ‘sick’ computer to me for a ‘heart transplant’ (hard drive replacement) and I actually enjoyed getting into my old role of PC doctor. And, as well, I am trying to get out and walk, to relax a little more, even enjoy doing some crossword puzzles and having a mini spring clean of my villa. Writing these website notes is also quite therapeutic! Yes, I’m finding plenty to do, even starting a little ‘jobs to do’ list.
So, I am beginning to find this solitude can be put to good use and in the process, time is flying rather than it being oppressive. It’s helping me knowing that Dorothy is at peace in the main, and me being miserable is no help to her and was beginning to affect me more and more. I realise now that I have been feeling increasingly despondent with sadness seeping into my soul, steadily and relentlessly. But I know now that this enforced separation is helping me to accept that the discomfort and unhappiness I have been harbouring is pointless – even destructive of my wellbeing. The remedy has been facing me, but I wouldn’t accept it. I’m only now understanding the real and unpleasant reality: I must learn to live without my dearest love by my side. While I am able, I must live for her and to continue to be a presence in her current life, but I also need to be present for our children and grandchildren and get on with my own life. Easy to say, hard to fulfil, as my silly old mind keeps focussing only on Dorothy alone and on our past lives. Truly it is said ‘time is a great healer’, but only if you let it!
It’s something of a paradox, isn’t it, that we can draw strength from the happy past to enhance the present. Not being able to visit Dorothy because of this coronavirus threat has forced me into a new mindset; it’s helped me rise above despondency to accept that I need to get on with my life – a different life that includes Dorothy but doesn’t exclude my having a more diverse lifestyle.
Maybe, dear reader, you can identify with some of my experiences and agree with me that how we react to circumstances, indeed interact with others and live out our lives is, in reality, ‘all about me’!