Learning to be Alone

It has been over two weeks since Miss Elsie the Cat took a walk. I try to remain hopeful. It is hard to do.

Since before Jim died over seven years ago, Elsie was a part of our life. She arrived as a wee kitty that could fit into the palm of one hand. She snuck her way into our hearts. She liked me and adored Jim. After Jim died, Elsie waited for five months before she decided that I was up to be part of the primary team.

Elsie was a remaining connection to Jim and my life together. The first week after she disappeared, I felt like I dove deep into grief again, similar to after Jim initially died. Grief for the loss of Miss Elsie. Grief for the loss of Jim. Grief for the loss of our life together. This kind of grief is not a good place to stay. I have been using my resources, friends and more to get me back out of that spot. It is OK to visit. It is not OK to stay long.

I am learning how to be alone. When Jim died, Elsie the cat was still with me and I could rely on her for good purry company. I love her companionship. I love how she would talk to me and look at me with those adoring eyes. Now that she is on an adventure, wherever that may-be, I need to learn to be alone. After having some type of companionship for close to thirty years, it is not an easy lesson to learn. I thought it would be easy, yet I find it difficult. I have been talking to her and Jim in absentia a lot lately.

How do I learn to be comfortable being alone? That is a loaded question and the answers are not clear as they seem to change by the minute, hour and day. It is hard to figure out the alone part when I dive into moments of sadness. I come back out and things look a little brighter and then, poof, there is another one that pops up. Sigh.

I am not looking forward to Thanksgiving or Christmas. They are holidays of celebration, joy, and fun. Being single and alone is not always fun. I decided this past week to stretch myself and ask for help. Well, actually it is asking to be included. Today I decided to ask my San Diego friends to think about including me in their holiday fun. I sent out an email to a few close friends asking them to consider including me, if not for the event, maybe for a walk or a few hours of their time. Now I want to extend that to the broader San Diego Community. I promise not to be maudlin or sad. If anything I think I will be joyous, just to be around others and enjoying the companionship and fun.

I know I could volunteer, yet this year it feels like I want to be included with those I love or those who love me or both. All you local San Diegans, if I did not email you and you want to respond to my plea of inclusion, it would be welcomed with open arms and an open heart.

I am grateful for my friends and family today. I am grateful for all those people out there in the cyberworld who are helping me look for a lost kitty. I am thankful for my time with Miss Elsie the Cat.

I remain optimistically hopeful.



7 thoughts on “Learning to be Alone

  1. Oh dear Janet. Loneliness is not fun. Wanting to be alone is different and most of the time I prefer that. However, I know we were made to be social beings so I am so glad you reached out to those close to you in proximity. If you wanted to drive up to Northern California I will certainly welcome you! Any day or time.

    • Thank you and maybe in the future. I have made a commitment to stay in the campground through the holiday. Your support and everyone’s support means so much.

  2. I found myself alone for the first time in my life when my husband died in 2010. I was 59 (I married at 18 and we had 41 years together). The “aloneness” was difficult, but with the passing of time I learned to live with it. I filled my life with a lot of things – volunteering in person and online, taking classes, traveling, and I chose to not celebrate the holidays for many of these past 9 years. I’m happy that you reached out to your friends and hope that you will receive many opportunities to engage with them during this holiday season.
    Soaring Spirits, the non-profit group I volunteer for, has a very active regional group that meets twice a month in the San Diego area. I’ve met the group leaders and many of their members at our Camp Widow events. Here’s a link to their MeetUp page : https://www.meetup.com/Soaring-Spirits-International-San-Diego-Regional-Group/

  3. O, Janet……….I know what you mean about the connection we have with our pets. especially when they connect you to your spouse who is no longer there. I have told you that I am a recent widow and my cat “Honey” was number one in my husbands eyes…. so, I tell her, “don’t worry, Honey, you will always be number one!! ” A friend told me that this is another chapter in the book of life…….. but, better said than done!!! My heart hurts for you…. I do know the sorrow you feel. Please keep in touch with your long distance friends……… we care about you !!! If you are ever on the East coast….. let me know!! Katy

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