How Do I Go On?
by Evelyn Horan
“Alma, I’m having a difficult time without his caring love. What can I substitute for this emptiness I feel in my heart without him? I’m depressed. I feel hopeless, and I don’t like feeling sorry for myself. How do I go on? How do I pick up pieces and begin again?”
I sat at the kitchen table drinking tea with my neighbor and good friend. She patted my hand, and spoke softly, “I know you are feeling so sad. But he would want you to go on.”
“I know,” I murmured. “Lately, family and friends remind me, there are others who are facing loneliness, often as in my situation, or through the loss of a friend, who might have moved away, or a child who has gone away to college, and the list goes on.”
“Yes, that’s good,” Alma said. “Talking with family, and caring friends can help you avoid withdrawing into yourself. You know, Emma, I think he would like for you to think of ways to do new things. There are clubs and organizations in the community. There, I think you would meet new friends, and I’m sure some can relate personally to your loss.”
I thought about what Alma said, and I took a bite of oatmeal cookie from a nearby plate. I remembered the other day, when several friends told me about their membership in various clubs and organizations, I noticed their cheerful enthusiasm in recalling pleasant experiences that stimulated and inspired their efforts.
“I think you should think about your interests, and perhaps your hobbies and desires,” Alma said, reaching for a cookie. “You can try to be rid of your self-absorption, by looking around in your present environment.”
I knew Alma was right. But the question I asked myself, was could I put aside my loneliness by reaching out and being with others?
I sighed as I thought, I should make an effort. I should try to become more involved.
“You might want to explore volunteer work in a hospital to help wherever there might be a need,” Alma suggested. “And you could consider your hobbies, like painting, exploring crafts, and doing needlework. You especially enjoy needlework and crafts.”
I nodded. I remembered hobbies I had put aside. I could explore groups interested in specific hobbies.
“And most important of all,” Alma reminded, “do continue to let your faith in God help you. Fellowship with other folks while you participate in church activities, will give you new friendships.” She gave me an understanding smile, and patted my hand again. “Emma, I think the good feeling of belonging to a spiritual family can help rid negative thoughts weighing on you and making you feel lonely.”
As we stood, I gave Alma a hug. “Thank you for all your good advice.” I smiled, as Alma hugged me back. “I’m going to try to think outside myself”. “There are so many possibilities to help me overcome my loneliness. I’m feeling some enthusiasm for going on. I’ll try to plan busier and more active days ahead.”
Alma opened the kitchen door to return home. “I know you will. And I’m always here to share a cup of tasty tea with you,” she said, with a little wink.
Coping with my loneliness won’t be easy. But I could talk to my good friend Alma anytime. With her help, and by trying some new ideas we’d talked about, I can get a good start in finding an acceptance of my loss. And through my faith in God, I can find contentment and happiness.
Evelyn Horan is a former teacher/counselor. Her articles and stories have been published many times in periodicals for children and adults in both secular and religious publications. She holds General Elementary, General Secondary, Pupil Personnel, and also School Psychologist life credentials in the state of California. Horan is the author of a number of books including Aging Requires a Gentle Attitude. Learn more about her work at http://www.authorsden.com/evelynhoran.