Loneliness Is To Be Felt – Alone Time Made Better

Friends ask, “What hurts the most?” Always I answer, “Loneliness for Joe. It never goes away.” I don’t want to run from this loneliness because I know to feel it is an important part of the grieving process. But my alone time can be enriched.

Feeling My Loneliness

Don’t fight it; let the feelings come. Express aloud, on paper, physically (without hurting myself), and with tears.

When feelings of loneliness for him are blocked, do something to bring on the grief: look at pictures of him and of us together, read some of his cards or letters, think about the ways I miss him, or find and hold something special that belonged to him.

Talk with others who loved him too. Cry together.

Structure my loneliness by containing it within a reasonable period of time. Then do something different. I call this “containment.”

Making Alone Time Better

Create a lovely “alone place” in my home and schedule meditation time every day. Sit for twenty minutes, completely relaxed. Say one word over and over, like “peace,” love,” “one.” Ignore other thoughts. Let go completely. At the end of twenty minutes, come back slowly.

Determine the time of the week that I mind being alone the most (Sundays for me). List things I might do: sit at a different place in church; take turns, with other “alone” friends, cooking and serving dinner; check television listings for special programs; drive to an area park and explore or sit and read; visit a museum; bake cookies with a borrowed kid; find a volunteer job for every Sunday.

Learn to treasure my time alone. Make a date with myself, dress up, fix a nice meal, serve it with music and candlelight. Give positive messages to myself. Stay dressed up for the rest of the evening. The next time a friend cannot go with me to something I want to attend, go alone. Consciously enjoy the moment.

When you lose a partner or spouse, how do you cope with feeling alone? What do you do to make your alone time better? Share your story below.


Marta Felber, author of Grief Expressed When a Mate Dies and Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, has held many counseling and consulting positions in the U.S. and abroad, including serving for 10 years as director and head counselor at a center for expatriates in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons / Hamed Saber

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Comment by River of Tears on January 30, 2011 at 7:44am
I have never felt lonely before but now in these few months following my Sister passing I feel more alone then ever before . Maybe it is the emptiness shell I feel I am and encased in .  Unable to just pick up the phone or see here to spend time with her is numbing . In the days following I will find myself still planning as though I maybe if she will be over then I will have towels for her or what she likes to eat. Or when shopping I see things I want to get her . Yet then I look around, and I am alone .  No calls from her on my caller ID , No emails .  No notes on my door in asking me what did I want to do that day .  Nothing.  Lonely ,, ?   no more so it is  ALONE. Something that comes with the vast feeling within the shattered heart that I don't think can mend . and yet I ask myself What now .  ?  I can not imagine there is anything that can or will help what this feeling is or what now is that the room is empty and the clothes of hers sit in a box ready to be donated . Or the boxes that I still have not touched as though to tell myself it will keep her here.    Alone is where I feel inside in a world of many  .  How does one even start to find direction or know the way from this pain as it one that is not felt as we all have felt from a cut or a splinter .   No easy fix , no remedy ,  and sadly I had flunked the test that time will heal .   Some what healing the same week well at this stage I was still  numb  . Now entering into every feeling one can imagine that you could have .  All at once it seems .  So to say I am alone now not really , I have all of what is inside constantly repeating over over and over as though the tape is on replay.   The love I had for my Sister and the one we shared was something that some how I was fortunate enough in life for at least a short while to be able to share with her .  Time has stopped but the love I have for her will alway go on .  Alone I may always be or feel though I can say I was given a gift in life , A Special and Loving Sister .  
Comment by Rowett on January 5, 2011 at 8:33pm
I,m  feeling the day as it come's forward it will be three yr's on the 11th  I keep feeling this empty feeling like i,m dead and it feels so bad  like i want to be sick  I can not even take a breath it's that kind of empty  it is a solid dead spot and i feel it's reserved for me . Adam died in his sleep from a drug overdose  but it'still like it just happened Donna's been here everyday since he died trying to support me in every way she diserves so much more then I have to give . five days and counting its like footstep's through the night each one louder then the last  it's below freezing outside  I hear the rumbleing of the lake as the ice crack,s trying to make more room for itself  it ishow I kind of feel like I want out of my own skin.  I want it to just not be here or not have to relive the event each yr .I almost went insane the day my son died and to relive that day every yr is like takeing my hart and killing it over and over again and to top it off we have a house that has what we have been told is some type of portal  for spirit's. yea I know I didn,t want to believe it untill after my son died  and the evidence was so overwelming I had no choice but to admit that there is something different about this house and most of the time I deal with it but then there's the Night's that a spirit or goast is a reject and is not allowed in and it start'sbanging on the door or trying to force it open and they take there nails accross the glass like a chalk board  it's enough to make me leave the room just so I doent have to hear it . its sad knowing that there's something that is powerfull enough to say who goes and who stay's .I still can remember Donna saying Adam's moveing furniture around in his room  this went on for a few month's befor he died  and i allway's said what is he moveing  he has a waterbed it's not moveing  a small desk with his computer and a small dresser  I allway's said your hearing thing's but then Adam died and a few week's had passed it was bedtime not that i was sleeping but it was quite and then we both heard it a door opening and then a few seconds later the door closed  allmost like it was adam letting us know he was leaving now  . some would say so what but to you there is no door in his room its a flat wall between his and our room.  I cryed for the next week just over that, thinking that there was something or someone who had been building a doorway for along time  that was the noise Donna kept hearing saying they are moveing furniture. who knows they may have been to make the doorway to his room . there's so much we doen't know about life after death and i,m so frightened of it .I know he walk's with us each day untill it's our turn but since adam's death  it really makes me feel his loss and the pain I feel still to this day and I keep feeling like my time is not far off and I can only hope that he is the first person I see when I get there but it still has me upset it's like one minute i,m like ready let's roll do it get it done. but then I think about the pain his death caused and I doent want that to happen because of me and the old saying god has you here for a reason so I really doen't know what's going to happen it's in god's hand's but it brng's me full circle  i,m five day'saway from adam's death reliveing the moment  I find him dead and the 1/2 hr I was locked in an empty room at the hospital as they tried to save him. you see my ex wife and her daughter showed up at the hospital just as they were rolling adam into the ER and my ex step daughter started screaming murderer at me without knowing anything and causeing a big scene well the hospital staff not knowing who or what was going on grabbed me and locked me in an empty room and when i say empty it was bare no window's nothing but 4 wall'sand a locked door so it made me feel like I was going to go mad I have no other way of saying it . finnaly  the medical examiner showed up from the county and he had them release me so they could tell me that it was to late there was nothing they could do Adam was gone . I was alowed to sit with him  for a few minute's say my goodbye's and tell him how much I loved him but he allready knew that we had a special relationship and I allways let him know just how much I cared about him and vise vrsa i,m sorry I keep going on here but I just need to let it out It's five day's to jan 11th the day he died and I really feel so many feelings flooding through my mind  and each day bring's more untill the day's here the finnal moment.  I,m a mechanic I learned from a very young age if its broken fix it  but this time I cain't fix it there's nothing I can do it's finnal and I so much doen't want to except it It's madening  to want to fix something so bad that can not be fixed  I spent months after he died crying and screaming at god .I really can not believe he didn't strike me dead just for saying what I was saying to him but He understand's better then I do . but it's still five day's away I know Donna's going to go out of her way to try and keep me sane for another yr and the rest of the family's going to start calling in a day or two and talk to me about anything they can  to try and help sometime's it make's it harder but I love them so I deal with it and then I had read the artical befor mine and it's righht there the pain I feel is loneliness the part of my sole that Adam filled it's silent and it hurt's so much I can be in a room with 50 people and i,m still alone and I know the only people who can understand are here  I really doen't know how many more I can take I love him so much and I miss him even more and that spot of loneliness is like cancer and it's growing so I just have to say thank you for being here to listen to me spill my sole and say a prayer for Adam he had so much ahead of him he should of had the life he so much wanted and I know how I feel so I can only guess how muchit's hurting him at 18 yrs old  he is now on his own in a whole new life spirit  or what ever it is on the other side I can only say a prayer for all of our family members who have to start all over in a new place without any support from us I really wish God gave us a phone number lol just to say Hi but t is what it is and i,m still five days away Tim

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