Feeling so alone

All my life I’ve been an independent, resourceful person, but now I feel at rock bottom. My husband died suddenly in September and my mother in November. I have supportive friends and a son who has been there for me on the end of a phone but being alone is becoming unbearable. I have a step son and a step daughter close by but am realising that the emotional ties I thought were there are missing. I woke up alone on Christmas morning, I was alone on Mother’s Day, I am going away on my own soon - on my birthday. I long for someone to think, ‘that will be a difficult time for Pam, we’ll invite her here or go and stay with her, or suggest she comes on holiday with us.’ But no-one does. I have to be one asking to be with others - which makes me feel such a burden.
I feel terrible saying this; it feels like a self-indulgent moan. I have fantastic friends and acquaintances who have been there for me, but they are with their own families on significant dates. I say ‘of course I understand,’ and I do, but it doesn’t stop me feeling let down and unsupported. I know there aren’t any answers but thank you for allowing me to share this.

Hi Pam,

Sharing worries and frustrations is what this community is about! You have expressed exactly what I’ve been feeling, especially after a long holiday weekend spent alone.

When you’re normally independent and resourceful, friends and family don’t appreciate that you might welcome some support at certain times. Anniversaries and holidays are especially difficult to cope with on your own. My usual strategy is to plan something that keeps me busy, preferably involving other people. But, like you, I find it tough to deal with the times when everyone else is wrapped up in their own activities.

Hi Pam, it seems to me that you are missing having Family times together. This is what I feel happens more as you get older in life. The young ones have their own family hub. we have found that unless we arrange a regular time to get together things drift apart. It is harder when you don’t live close by but it can be done though it’s harder with the younger generation…they are so busy and we feel practically irrelevant in ther lives. So I would say plan weekends away, trips to the cinema, etc in advance so you aren’t so lonely around those times.

Thanks Dancing Queen and ChrisC. It seems that the key is to plan ahead, to book in things to make sure I’m not alone. And I’m sure you’re right. Not being a part of a family hub where you are naturally included, feeling irrelevant, does hit hard though.

Hi Pam, I hope you are feeling better this week. It’s not surprising we get lonely in our situation. I don’t think people have evolved to live alone, but rather to live in family groups which provide mutual support and a sense of security. So when we are left on our own, it is completely natural and understandable to feel very anxious, vulnerable and lonely, and to long for the family hub.

But what can we do about it? We can try to adapt and arrange activities and join clubs etc to minimise time alone as ChrisC has suggested, and I think a lot of people do that. If we are lucky we might be able to share a house with family or even with friends to regain a sense of belonging. Then there are retirement homes, sheltered housing, or residential homes where there will be others in a similar situation who might provide companionship. Or we might be able to find someone new to share our lives with. I know none of these options come close to the future we wanted, but they are the only alternatives I can think of. I still aim to live one day at a time, but I can’t always keep thoughts of the future out of my mind.

I hope you are having a better day today, and wish you well.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Neil. I am having a better few days thank you, partly because of the support I’ve received here which has definitely helped me feel less alone. I don’t know what the future holds for all of us but I sincerely hope that time will heal in one way or another, and that new memories will gradually replace the painful ones so I can look forward with hope not fear.

Sorry to hear you are alone and feeling alone.I can identify with you completely.I feel very alone even though my granddaughter lives with me.one of the reasons you may feel alone is because grief is quite a insular thing I think its private inside you.I still find myself having to be proactive .when I think others should be able to recognise my needs .your not self indulgent at all I don’t think.sending you a invisible hug.Annette.xxx

Thank you for the hug Annette! You’re right, it is that feeling of being alone even when surrounded by others that’s so tough. I have to bite the bullet and get proactive too. I’ve been away on my own this week - very up and down but it has helped being away from constant reminders of who and what I’ve lost. I hope life gets easier for you too. x

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