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.
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