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Grief, Dealing With the Pain of Loneliness

In March I lost my husband of 31 years. I hope the way I am dealing with grief helps someone else going through the same thing.

My husband on the same beach in 2016.

My husband on the same beach in 2016.

Loneliness in a Crowd

It's amazing how alone you can feel when you are surrounded by hundreds of people as you are grieving the passing of a loved one. I traveled a thousand miles from my home to a lovely beachside resort to escape the palatable loneliness that has become my life since my husband died. The beach I am on is serene and beautiful. The sound of the powerful waves crashing on the shore is peppered with the screeching of happy seagulls as they dance on the warm breeze that fills the brilliant blue sky. The beach is filled with vacationing families playing rambunctious games of volleyball, frolicking in the warm brown sand, and building elaborate sandcastles alongside the loved ones they buried just moments before. An ornery little boy is happily chasing a reluctant and annoyed sea bird as he searches the beach for his lunch. You can hear the crowd's joyful laughter and see the smiles on their faces as they enjoy the time they are spending with one another.

And I have never felt more alone.

Humans weren't created to live a solitary existence. Life was mean to be shared with loved ones laughing together and creating memories. When your other half dies and you find yourself alone like me, those sounds of everyday joy can be unbelievably painful. It physically hurts as I sit on the outside watching and listening to others enjoy their lives and revel in their connectivity. The urge to run and hide is suffocating and the hardest thing I can do at this moment is to stay grounded in the spot I find myself in and experience the almost unbearable pain of loneliness.

Since my husband's passing, I've learned that whether you sequester yourself in a still small place or position yourself in the middle of a crowded event the feeling of aloneness is the same. You can't outrun the sadness or the grief that has become your constant companion, he follows you wherever you go. You can either accept his presence and go through the personal pain of the process surrounded by the beauty of the world, or you can wallow in your pain alone.

The Pain of Healing

Sitting on the boardwalk watching other people's lives happen is more difficult for me than I can possibly put into words, but listening to the upbeat music as the warm breeze strokes my face is far better than hiding in my bed in a dark room smothered by a blanket of heartache and sadness.

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It doesn't seem like it now but I know it will eventually be easier for me to involve myself in life again. If you are grieving as I am, just remember that you are not alone. There are thousands of us out there quietly watching, and feeling, and waiting for the time when we can once again take an active part in life.


Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on August 02, 2019:

Loneliness is one of the most difficult emotions! Like you said here, it follows us everywhere and permeates everything we do. It is much more profound when our loss is close to our hearts. Loosing a spouse is probably the most difficult loss there is to experience. The support system and companionship experienced for years are gone. May you find the peace and solace that you seek.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2019:

My sincere condolences are sent to you regarding the loss of your dear husband. Your grief is palpable and heartfelt. The pain of grief is like slowly climbing out of a deep and dark abyss. Each day the light is a little brighter. Eventually, the memories of our departed loved ones bring more happiness than sadness, but it takes time. Allow yourself that time. Virtual hugs to you!

Lorna Lamon on July 29, 2019:

The pain of grief is such a hard pain to bear and your article speaks of this sadness in such an honest way. It also speaks of hope and knowing that once you pass through the stages of grief, you will come out the other side ready to be part of life again. I find that by sharing our own grief and giving others hope we lessen the pain a little.

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