Monday, 5 August 2013

Out of Synch

The most intense loneliness is the kind that happens when you're surrounded by joy, sunshine and positivity. Dark days, pouring rain, seriously stressed neighbours/colleagues/friends sort of give us a licence to feel lonely - we feel it already but now we have a logical excuse for feeling it. The inner despair is perfectly in synch with the outer grimness.

Throughout July we had a heatwave here - so unusual for Ireland. So for about 3 to 4 weeks there was a holiday vibe - barbeques, beach trips, ice creams, daddys and daughters, daddys and sons, husbands and wives............. and I have never ever felt such black loneliness in my entire life. My Lonely Licence expired, the rules changed, I was now supposed to join in the banter about late night barbeques, last minute hotel deals, sun lotion and how we're finally getting to use it, the "it's like being abroad" comments, the hysteria, the fun.

Surely only a surly, mad, grouchy fool would feel anything but elation when the sun shines for 16 hours and the whole country grinds to a halt to enjoy the summer we waited for for years? Well I guess that's me then - a grouchy ol' biddy, 44 but old before my time, a negative moaning Minnie. Pffft. Summer Scrooge (but without the redemption).

To be fair, for the most part, I played along - 'played' being the operative word. I kept my mask on, agreed that it was great - yes the sunshine's fabulous; yep, nothing like it; enjoying it? Of course. Happy? Jeez, why wouldn't I be? I smiled, faked it. But inside I was dying. I felt completely dissociated from society. Just as our inner despair is perfectly in synch with those lonely winter rainy days, my inner turmoil could not have been more out of synch with the 'shiny happy people' all around me throughout July.

Roll on winter time - it suits me better. Bah humbug.


  1. I felt like that for a long time - always hated to see winter go, it suited me far better. Parties and gatherings are still so bizarre. What's changed, at least some of the time, is that I can fake it better - which may not be a great thing. I have more capacity to engage at their happy, shining level, and it doesn't drain me as much. I remember that second year though: it sucks. It is unbearable suckage.

  2. Unbearable suckage! I like that. And yes, it does suck. Easier in lots of ways but sucky in many ways too. Ah yes, we become great actors don't we? We know when people have had enough of our whining about our dead husbands and we pretend to be better so they feel less uncomfortable. Ah, such is life I suppose. Hope you're getting through the days okay Megan xxx

    1. odd times - in 5 weeks, I leave the place we lived - a whole new city, whole new coast. It's been a very long process. Totally strange to be excited about the adventure, being in a new place, and at the same time, almost continually nauseated at the reality of this, having a life without him here. Going to be (ahem) fascinating to see how I navigate meeting people who never knew him, and never knew me as non-widowed. When to tell, and when not to.

      Hope chilly weather comes for you soon.

    2. Oh that's a big move Megan, but a very brave one and exciting too. Yes, it's hard to contemplate big life choices without our other halves. I admire you for making that decision.

  3. Hi Deb
    I've spent more time reading your blog than any other site.

    "44 but old before my time"
    I recently turned 45 & feel like I might as well be 65!

    I get tired of people asking if I'm going anywhere this summer, and what I'm planning on doing. It seems to make them suspicious if I don't have enough school holiday activities planned.

    Soon I'm going to a Christening for my late wife's sister's son.
    Time to start working on my happy mask...

    1. Oh good luck with that Alan. One thing I learned that's very important (difficult to implement but vital) is this - don't go anywhere that you don't want to go, even family events. I know you probably feel a sense of duty to attend the Christening but in these early raw stages of grief you don't have to feel duty towards anyone. You shouldn't push yourself. People who have empathy and understanding will truly get it; those who don't get it aren't worth bothering with. Having said that, perhaps you want to go and that's great. If you go, I hope it goes okay. I'm still trying to find the balance between the fake smile (enough to let people know I'm not the grim reaper so they can approach me) and not so much that they think I come across as a hysterical maniac.