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As an introduction to an article, that I am going to write tomorrow or the next day, I wanted to ask a question. Is it worse to die alone or live alone? People can be lonely in a crowd, feel distanced from all that surrounds them, and even feel alone in a relationship. There is a part of us that will forever be alone, misunderstood, or not understood at all, by those around us. Sometimes living like that is worse than dying, for I do think angels come at death. How many of us long, with all our heart, to be understood by just one person? It is a rare treasure. To connect with anyone on an intimate level of understanding, even for a moment, is so pleasing. And mostly it does occur in moments-just moments. Then we find ourselves alone again, yearning to express our deepest feelings and thoughts, and wondering if anyone will ever really get it.

At times, I feel like an alien in this world. Too sensitive to live here, too easily hurt and injured. I feel things too deeply, and no one understands. There are moments though, when I laugh a lot, and I have taken to crying more on the inside, than visibly. But the pain is real, and the disappointment and disillusionment is strong. I am glad that there is a God who created me, and knows me by name. For when I am the most lonely, He is my friend. But remember the saying that was going around awhile back, about “just needing someone with skin on.” God made us that way, so that we would need each other.

I remember when we owned the Christian coffeehouse (Crossroads), we were in the middle of our small town, downtown area. And just in back of the shop, across the street from our business, homeless people lived in the bushes. And sometimes they would wander into the coffeehouse. When they weren’t so drunk that they were a disturbance to everyone, we would talk to them, and make sure they got some coffee, and sometimes a bite to eat. Most of these people, were intelligent souls, who had once had businesses and families, but had just given up. Most of them had become alcoholics, and preferred living on the streets to having to be a part of “real” society again. I found their stories tragic, to a degree, and sometimes they made me angry, because I knew they could change their way of life, if they just would. But they had lost all hope of ever living a different life; there was just no inspiration.

Then there are the unseen elderly, who have no one to call on. And for them, living is probably scarier than dying. Imagine being so sick at times, that you can’t even get yourself a bowl of soup, or hardly make it to the bathroom, yet you know there is no one to call. I will be writing about some of these people in the article.

It seems like it is a good idea to try and establish some long lasting relationships before we get really old, and our family dies. But I tend to think this is a lot easier said than done. My mom worked all her life, and her friends were work aquaintances. But when she became older, sick, and widowed those people were no longer in her life. Many of her friends were military, as she was a civilian worker in a military town, for most of her later working years. So when my dad died, she had no friends-other than a next door neighbor. Both are fairly private people, and even though they like each other, they rarely visit. When older people don’t have any friends, that is an even greater burden for their families. As caregivers, we have to become everything to them, and try to meet all their needs-physical, emotional and social, and it is very difficult to do.

There are many hopeless people in the world, hiding behind vacant eyes that do not betray their agony. How many of them do we just walk by? And some-days we ARE them, and people walk past us.

I wish that I could say, that as life progresses, it makes us see the goodness in the world, but truthfully, the pain seems to increase. Perhaps it is because we are like children at the fair. The lights were so colorful, the rides so exciting. So much to taste, and smell, and experience. A “Wonderland” of sorts. But one day, you see it for what it really is. Grungy carnival people standing in sawdust. Stuffed animal prizes not worth the cost of the game. Exhausting motion from the fast thrill rides, and the ever present faint scent of stale beer and popcorn. For those of us not at home in this world, it becomes more and more like that. And we realize, unmistakeably, that it is not our home. A better one awaits us, where we will be understood, and will also understand. 

Why do people end up alone? Some have been disappointed in love, some lose their spouses to death, some are disappointed by life, and just don’t have the motivation to reach out to anyone once again. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort. They’ve been so deeply wounded. There are people like that everywhere.

And there are people who are shunned by others. Perhaps they have some physical defect, that causes people to keep their distance. Or they may have a mental problem that scares others away. To be treated like an outcast by others has sometimes bred feelings of explosive anger and violence. Can you imagine the pain of not looking normal, or feeling normal? (Whatever normal is…) We can be a cruel society if people don’t fit in properly.

So ponder the meaning of being alone. I mean truly alone. Where no one cares if you live or die, and maybe you have wanted it that way, but most likely you didn’t. I’ll be working on my article and we’ll discuss it more tomorrow. Think about the lonely…

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2 Comments

  1. LONNIE,The more you write & i read the more i feel like you .You are not alone cause im always right there with ya. Its so weird ya know i have a big family & im the baby , but i have always been the chosen caregivers for both. Then like i said i bartended for 24 years & believe me the customers loved me because i listened but really i just hid behind the bar & served. No one cared about me & i knew it . Now since my only sons acc., i feel more than lonly. plus loosing all my grandkids, god that was my life MOTHER & GRANDMOTHER,now who am i ???? My husband has been here , but see he was a duputy for 35 years so he has this mean ruff nature. He does have a soft side , i have seen it a couple times , BUT I HONESTLY KNOW HE WILL NEVER FEEL OR UNDERSTAND THE PAIN I HAVE ENDURED!!!! My family is also around , but i feel they all think i should be ok now,well i know i never will be . i lost my life on JUNE 9,2007.Shane & I sure didnt see eye to eye alot but he listened & he knew me.Austin leaves jan 17, & im just sure his mother has no intentions of returning him, even though there is a court order & no one but me can posibbly feel that pain either !!!! i think i will give up on the court cases , finacially its too big a burden & im just wore out fighting with idiots. i never did go back to work , know i wont bartend again (TOO PUBLIC).Do you think i could get disability , i cant go out hardly at all , my emotions are a mess. sorry i took up your life too become mine, but your stories mean so much to me. LONNIE YOU ARE NEVER ALONE I HAVE GOT YOUR HAND. HOWS YOUR HEALTH DOING AFTER THE HARD HOLIDAYS. LOVE YOUR WRITING & YOUR PERSONALITY THAT SHINES THRU. LOVE & PEACE YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS SANDY SHANES MOM

    • jessica H. underwood
    • Posted September 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm
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    • Reply

    very well written…i spent years alone not wanting to go out because of my shaking..no one ever thought to put two and two together about the incident from drinking the turpentine as a child(im sure you remember)I was picked on for so many years and as an adult it became harder to cope in the real world, people are cruel! I have heard everything from freak to drug addict and I would be the least person you would meet to be on drugs. Along came curtis…who has brought me out of my shell as we are defiantly opposites attract…he is well known in the community and been at the same job for 13 years so I felt this was good for me…he has his moments but in the end, he is nothing but a huge teddybear..anyway more to the point, i am 26 years old and at times I dont even want to go to the grocery store for fear of being stared at…and Im learning that the side effects from this incident as a child can take years to progress..let me tell you it is awful, there are days when I cant get my fork in my mouth from the tremors, it is really hard to deal with and even those closest to you can have the meanest hearts…I will survive in the end and have with some encouragement form curtis been back in school for six months now…so I do agree that you have to want to help yourself to get better…and it isnt easy at times..I remember laying in bed crying for about a year solid there were so many ups and downs and doctors telling me it was stress, or so many other silly things that i knew deep down it wasnt. I am a long way form getting treatment but I am learning to cope,and hopefully one day willl be maybe semi normal at best…but then I have to laugh because what is normal? thanks again for the blog!


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