Most days, I wake up aware of how much I have in my life. I am a lucky woman; a rich woman. But there are days when I feel very alone; when I can not feel any of the good things in my life. Yesterday was one of those days.
Yesterday was my daughter’s 19th birthday so she had a big day planned. She was going with her brother, her friend, and a few of his friends to a fantasy convention in Toronto. Then she was going out for her first legal drinks with her friends from work. My only role in the day was as Taxi Driver; I was to drive them to and from the train station. I was totally fine with all of this. But somehow, the idea of spending my daughter’s birthday all alone flipped me into a dark place.
All day, I could not stop crying. I was not even sure why I was crying. I was busy most of the day; doing things I normally enjoy; but doing them with no pleasure. There were a hundred different things I could have done with my day but none of them held any draw for me. There were also a number of people I could call, but I felt no desire to call any of them. When I slip into this dark place, I am a failure, no one likes me, and no one loves me, so why would anyone want to spend time with me! In this dark place, life is not worth living.
This is not a place I visit often but it is a familiar place; it is the place where the teenager within me resides. The teenager who felt unseen, unloved and unsupported; the teenager who felt terrifyingly alone. My family fell apart during my teen-aged years. My mother moved to Barbados and we seldom heard from her. My father would go out a few nights a week and farm my younger sister out to a neighbour or relative. My older sister left home when she finished high school. So often it was just me at home; in a big home all alone. I had a food, shelter and clothing; my material needs were met; but I had no emotional support, no love, no family. It was an extremely lonely time in my life.
Yesterday, the darkness evaporated when I picked up the ”kids” and their friends from the train station at 10:45 pm. Once they all piled into the van, my son and daughter started to tell me about their day; about the art work they saw, the prints they bought, the restaurant they ate in, the fun they had. As they spoke, I felt my heart warm as the difference between my two realities became clear to me. When my husband and kids go out into the world, they are not leaving me; they are still connected to me; they are still in a relationship with me; they still like me and love me. It is a totally different type of aloneness than the one I experienced growing up. Realizing this makes me believe that this new type of solitude might be one I can embrace.