The Art of Solitude

September 4, 2012 § 58 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

The sky is like a bowl of cold, dirty washing-up water, my children are away and my bank balance has had a cardiac arrest, so what is a plankton to do but indulge in a little solitary gloom?

The whole idea of getting together with someone recently entered the realms of the unimaginable.  At this point, I defy even the imagination of the poet, the novelist, the method actor and the deluded fantasist not to have flatlined, let alone that of the bog-standard, middle-aged, single mother such as myself.  But even at those moments when, with the effort of a weight-lifter, I try to think of myself de-singled, most likely with a man of about eighty-six, I think, what’s the point?  We would only have a brief pause before he popped his clogs and I’d be back to Square One, only plus the dilemma of where best to recycle his zimmer frame.

I just read James Fox’s magnificent and astounding book, The Langhorne Sisters, about Nancy Astor and her family.  The descriptions of the loss felt by Bob Brand, Astor’s brother-in-law, at the untimely death of his wife (Astor’s sister) are profoundly affecting.  Brooks was in love for all their years together and, cruelly deprived of more time with her, never really overcame his grief.

My mother’s great mission was to teach her children to be able to be alone.  She believes that there are times in everyone’s life when circumstances dictate that they are alone.  Bereavement if not divorce comes to us all, but better to learn the art of solitude rather than to make ill-judged choices through desperation for company at any price.  She is right, of course, better to be alone than with the wrong person, I chant through gritted teeth.  But now I am beginning to think, perhaps better, this time of life, to be alone even than with the right one?  Rainy days, I question the wisdom of starting a relationship with anyone, even if I could, only for it to end again too quickly, as it would, because I’m no longer twenty.  A friend’s mother was widowed in her fifties; miraculously found love again and married, only for her second husband to drop down dead eating a hot dog.  Now in her seventies she is mourning all over again, and delirious in her picket fence loneliness and despair.

It’s coming to my coupled friends.  They just had more years than me, luckily for them.  But no one’s completely spared.  That’s not consolation – I wouldn’t wish enforced solitude on anyone – but it does all balance out eventually.  And that kind of helps.


§ 58 Responses to The Art of Solitude

  • Lydia says:

    I read this in the Times yesterday.My perspective is different – it is that you can be happy in all kinds of situations, even incarceration and that that mental state of being happy does not relatve to whether you happen to have a lover, boyfriend, husband or whatever at the time. Many many people are miserable and terribly lonely in a bad marriage too.

    Loads of people are very happy alone. It is the life and sould of the party types who are extroverts and need to be out and with people all the time who have the harder time psychologically in dealing with life. Lots of men and women find solitiude amazing. It’s one reason I bought my island. However even if as I currently am you are single that does not mean there are no people in your life.

    What is sad is when people conclude that relationships to the opposite sex or a same sex sexual partner are so traumatic they will not even try. It is worth a try and if it doesn’t work at least you might have had your life enhanced. I would say all men I have gone out with have enhanced my life in one way or another and it not mattered a jot whether it led to marriage or didn’t.

    Hoever if finances are bad then you have two routes – find rich man (which is anathema to we feminists who often out earn our men by 10x) or concentrate on increasing earnings. It is never too late. Find work which is very well paid, set up a business etc etc. Make sure daughters never go into writing and journalism unless they want to own the papers as there is rarely any money in it and you dont’ want them in their 40s not having enough to live on. Make sure they define themselves by their interests and careers not their looks and that they make sensible career decisions as teenage girls. Give them good role models of successul businesswomen, surgeons and the like.

    The Evening Standard (in London) is putting on a conference with some leading women in finance etc about how we can get more women into these positions of leadership. Concentrate on some cause you love such as that (or saving cats or whatever you are into) and forget men for a bit if you are fed up with it.

  • Caz says:

    I haven’t commented for a while P….but would like to share this with you. It’s some writing I discovered which profoundly affected the way I feel about living alone and, as Lydia said, seeing every encounter as an enhancing one in some way.

    A few lines from a dear friend of mine to to share with those who may be alone at the moment……..

    Looking for love is a journey, not a destination. We move cautiously, lunge forward headlong, walk, skip or run as we go. Here and there, we find people who take our fancy; these are the “stops” we make on the journey. We may stop in one place for a long time, or very briefly, and may experience any number of feelings of any degree of intensity. We may be affected only slightly, or in very profound ways. Some of these stops are bright and colourful, or soul-stirring, or life-altering (as in one which results in a marriage), or deliriously happy, etc., etc. Other stops can be grim and terrible, extremely painful or excruciatingly sad (as in ones which result in divorce or death of the loved one). Still other stops are amusing divertissements. All are rife with possibility; all are teeming with opportunities to learn more about ourselves. The learning can come very easily, or it can require great strength or concentrated energy.

    What we are obligated to do for ourselves is to ferret out the Truths of each encounter, so that we are able to walk away richer as a result, because none of the stops is permanent. Each of us passes from being to non-being alone. How we get from here to there is a personal responsibility no other person can determine for us. Everything we need for the journey is already within us, deep inside, waiting for us to tap into. Everything and everybody else is a gift, which may be wasted, or celebrated, as a tool of self discovery and fulfillment.

  • Chris says:

    You know, there is an awful lot of solitude in the UK, millioons of people living alone, a situation proven both bad for health and wealth as the single life is actually more expensive than coupledom. How has this situation arisen when all these people could so easily match up, as they do in many societies around the world, where loneliness in old age is not the terrible problem it is here. Well, maybe a clue can be found in this little extract written by a 56 year old guy regarding dipping his toe into the UK internet dating scene. read carefully it paints a bleakish picture of both sexes in this country.

    ‘ I still have my profile on a couple of UK dating sites and when bored occaisionally peruse them though I often despair at the fantasy world many British women seem to live in. But I recently came across an interesting profile of a 50 year old lady who seemed disheartened with the process of internet dating. She was bemoaning the conceited attitude and shallow behaviour displayed by the men she corresponded with on the site. Her photos suggested a passable appearance and her profile commentary exibited a nice sense of humour, which is extremely rare on these sites. Her entreaty ended with the enquiry ” are there any decent, ordinary men left out there ? ”
    I felt some sympathy with her so I dispatched an eloquent and witty memo to demonstrate that yes, there is at least one decent ordinary man out there. The next day I received her reply which was surprising as the reply rate is usually less than 1%. She thanked me for my communication and said it was refreshing to receive a well constructed and amusing note. She declared she had seen my profile and I appeared to be an interesting and well presented man. She exchanged a couple of amusing comments but concluded with ” On a more serious note, however, I have to be totally honest and say that in my search for the person I am actually looking for this means someone at or above 6 feet tall. After all, a girl has to wear stilettos when looking the part. Naturally this means that I doubt we would be a match but I do wish you lots of luck in your search for a partner. ”

    Well, what can one say ? There is a little window on the world of internet dating from fifty something guy, the perspective from the decent mans point of view.

    • Elle says:

      The mind boggles. No wonder this woman was alone if she was looking for somebody six-foot plus. I don’t know about the UK, but in Ireland it’s hard to find an unattached man over 40 who is over six-foot, indeed, it’s hard to find one over 5’10”. I’m 5’5″ myself but have happily dated shorter guys – there are an awful lot of guys shorter than me in Ireland. No, they’re not leprechauns. However some of them like to date women from cuontries where the general population is smaller and the average height of women is around five foot.

      That leaves a lot of local women single and like Plankton, adjusting to solitude.

  • James B says:

    What an interesting post, Chris. It shows how shallow some people are at heart.

    The problem with Internet dating, it seems to me, is that it turns the search for love into a features based shopping experience. The amount of people on the sites also APPEAR to mean that the principle of scarcity does not exist. Yet scarcity very much is at work here. Actually, I believe that Internet dating makes the chance of meeting someone compatible actually worse as so many people reject those at sight that don’t meet all their requirements up front. They think that there is a plentiful supply of women or men because of the sheer number of listings in front of them.

    Real life is not like that. People become attracted in real life for all kinds of reasons. Eye contact, familiarity, smell, sense of humour etc. etc. Also, statistically when one is shopping on the Internet for say, a car, the owner of the car does not have to make the same decision about whether we are the “Perfect” customer for his car. Yet even if you like someone’s profile, they have to like yours equally. How depressing. Time, as I have said many times before for a new over 35’s dating solution that does not rely on the Internet alone, nor speed dating. Ideas anyone?

    • fi says:

      I’m really going to burn my bridges now having confessed on the previous posts to a reluctance to do Man Chores – I get the height thing. I don’t think its shallow really as it isn’t about appearance. Let me explain. I’m 6 ft tall. I don’t find men who are smaller than me particularly attractive because for one it’s hard to feel sexually attracted to someone that you have to look down on as if they were your child and when you stand next to them all you see is a balding head. It really isn’t a choice about who and what you find attractive, and in actual fact I have been out with men smaller than me, but their tiny hands and feet, smaller than mine, just make me feel huge, ungainly and unfeminine. And that isn’t conducive to wanting to tear their clothes off. I like big hands, big feet, broad backs all of which appear on blokes who are my height.

      • joules says:

        Dear Fi – sorry I am tall too – just under 6 ft. I would date someone shorter – as long as he did not mind – if there were other things about him that I liked. Have done in the past and have worn high heels doing it. I however also have the “disadvantage” of having shoulders like a linebacker due to years of weight lifting associated with rowing so that will turn off some men. Not so nice when the woman you are dating can carry more than you can :-).

      • T Lover says:

        Fi, there are positives. You won’t need to borrow a ladder to do the skylight.

        But not all is lost. One of my Godsons is 6ft 7ins and his wife 6ft 1ins.

      • T Lover says:


        Come on, think again we would look great in a Bernie Ecclestone lookalike competition.

        Ok I am only 3′ 11″ but why not. I’m every bit as ugly as our Bernie and in my imagination you are a doll.

        Why not?

        At the World cup a few years ago I sat two rows behind the then world’s tallest man. Two rows lower we could not see when he was on his feet and when he stood to wave the Pakistani flag a group of Pakistanis FIVE rows behind us (seven behind him) were howling: ‘Effing well sit down.

    • Jill says:

      Yes, James B, I agree – shallow and STUPID. But only some people.

      Apropos a dating solution for the over 35’s, over to P I say, to initiate a series (well, perhaps one to start with…) of Plankton Parties. Or, the old chestnut raised in these posts before – the “John Lewis” option! (Sadly, PY will be absent as I gather he is already roaming the aisles of Waitrose, possibly believing the two to be one and the same……!)

      Seriously I went to an event sponsored by Times Encounters a while back at the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly. They showed the current Clooney vehicle, “The Descendants”, and held a drinks/eats party thingummy beforehand. I had a fit of the giggles when I arrived as I had predicted that there might be 10 or 20 men there out of the advertised 200 invitees; however even that ratio was over-optimistic – there were precisely 5 very rattled looking chaps present amidst a horde of eager and predatory-looking. females. Not bovvered, I had a very jolly evening talking to some extremely interesting female kindred spirits – AND I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Royal Academy beforehand, which made the bus fare worthwhile!

      • PY says:

        You will find, when you finally get there, Jill, that the JL foodhall is branded as such, but run by Waitrose. Only a short lunchtime walk from my office – so , may well be found truffling around in the wine bins and salami.

        As for the BAFTA showing, I wasn’t aware it was on (that, or dismissed it because it was Clooney and decided that I wouldnt have been able to cope with the swooning hordes) .

        However, we are returning to the old chestnut of lack of opportunity/venues to meet potential partners. With the likes of Fi/EmGee tucking themselves up with their cats on a Friday night, it’s not getting any easier. Throw in the polarisation of the screen/desk bound population into our own little worlds and it takes serious effort, Ms P, to get out and about into broadened social circles. MeetUp has been mentioned before but the lack of more spontaneous situations for a specific age group is a sure need.

        It is also becoming apparent that certain elements of my existing social circle are getting more set in their ways and , quite frankly,a bit boring as they get older – already preparing for a prolonged retirement as smug couples (even though still in their 50’s). I am speaking of those who in the past would have been up for a bit of an adventure rather than starting to reach for their Horlicks tin.

        All a bit of a conundrum.

        Conversationally challenged, moi ? Clearly not, nor by heightism or broad shoulders . It is the whole package which surely is of interest. As for discounting an on-line profile by the photo, surely that is what people do when they walk down a street or walk into a gallery and spot somebody/something that attracts them. Do I investigate a profile that does not show a photo? Probably no, unless the writing is up to scratch and arouses interest. As for fibbing about age, experience tells me that that the majorityof women do so – and upto 20% (do the maths). A close friend is a bus-pass toting grandmother who is forever 49 – but can joyeously carry it off.

        The older we get as singletons the more independent we become as well – this was highlighted in the previous blog – and teh more entrenched in our ways. Fi says she is running out of man shaped holes ( not entirely, I hope) but equally I am becoming scarily self sufficient. To an extent which some female acquaintances find intimidating.

      • Emgee says:

        🙂 For the record, I only curl up with my cats when the finances are too tight, which is more often than these days.

        An update on my transient bf, he has been ‘stuck’ here with me for a couple weeks waiting for a check to arrive so he can get his car repaired and regain his freedom of movement. Some days I feel as though he can’t wait to escape my spinster lair, but mustn’t take it too personally, as I would feel trapped in such a situation, myself.

    • The Plankton says:

      No ideas, I fear. But thanks for this. Pxx

  • Barry says:

    The mind boggles …… If I didn’t know the letters were from actual people I would think the replies are pure fiction . How did the human race get this far ?
    Certainly without the amazing ability of thinking one is the centre of the Universe .
    I must get into the “Ivory Tower Construction Business”, it is a thriving industry in the UK it seems.

    I thought of a multitude of homilies to type out, but wont bother, as the superior beings stopped taking note of homespun and socially aware advice in their late teens, I assume .

    • fi says:

      Yes you’re right. We women should just be grateful that any bloke is interested in us at all and we are completely unreasonable in thinking we’d like to be sexually attracted to them.
      Although I did say to a man recently that I’d been on my own for a long time and didn’t know if I’d be in another relationship and his response was confusion and he said “but why? You’re very attractive”. The assumption being that the only thing preventing a woman being with a man was a lack of sexual interest on the man’s part. 🙂

  • James B says:

    Well Fi, the air is clearly thinner up there! As to Jill’s point, I find it very interesting that men seem to prefer the relatively anonymous option of online dating or else the environment of an alcohol-fueled bar compared to organised social dating occasions, such as the Times’ organised screening. It might have something to do with conversational confidence perhaps? Who knows. It just seems strange that females prefer a more sophisticated, real atmosphere. I do too actually. Perhaps I am a woman?

    I have been reading this blog for a while now. The overall impression I am getting though from the female plankton (plankton is plural isn’t it?) here is different than seemed at first sight. You guys (ladies really) are not desperate at all really are you? There are plenty of men around. The problem is just the quality threshold. Men are less fussy and are often swept away by looks alone. Mind you, having read this I might go and get my spine stretched and buy some platform shoes. I don’t want Amazonians staring down at my bald spots and my under-sized hands.

    One final thing to Ms P herself – this week’s post is a bit desolate isn’t it. Do you really feel like this? It’s not worth falling in love because of the inevitable loss at some time? Time for some modern stoicism I think. Nothing is permanent, nothing. Least of all our emotions. I think you just need to gradually refresh your social circle a little. That’s if you really want something good to happen in your love life?

    • fi says:

      I think yes and no. Its not so much that men are less fussy I think, its that men are attracted to different things than women. With men its more superficial and in my experience if a woman is feminine and has the right body parts in the right proportion, and she isn’t overweight, a bloke will find her attractive enough to have sex with, at least once. I would say that women aren’t really sexually attracted to the same degree by a man’s looks. Men and women are attracted to different things and I find men often think because they’d be up for it with so many perfectly decent women there must be something wrong with women not doing the same. Turning this on its head, I’ve often heard women complain about how lacking in discrimination men are. Over and above that though I agree that there is another degree of fussiness that does appear on these pages though – when women start laying down criteria above and above what they find sexually attractive such as location, education, income, whether they have children, interests etc etc.

      • fi says:

        Or maybe its just me. I have enough friends that offer me great companionship and support, and famiy, and I have enough going on in my life to not need to search out any more men that I don’t want to have sex with.

    • The Plankton says:

      I do, but it’s not looking promising, after an awfully long time, so maybe give up? Fed up. Pxx

      • fi says:

        P you really need to broaden your social circle and go out and try new things, without your friends, that you wouldn’t normally do. I suspect either you don’t meet any new ones because you aren’t doing anything new, or you are and are either overlooking the ones you do meet (fixed ideas about what you’re looking for) or going with your friends so you aren’t stepping out of your comfort zone and making the effort to engage with new people the way you have to if you do something on your own. And its not enough to go somewhere different on your own once, you have to do new things a lot of the time, and some of those things many times before people start to seek you out and become new friends.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    I thought about you this past weekend, Ms. Plankton- Have to finally admit, your situation now really does truly look completely hopeless- I don’t actually see how it is possible at all for you to get any again until the first digit of your age becomes “5” …. And then, following all of the recent articles that keep appearing in various newspapers, magazines and websites which celebrate the joys of dating older women, the 20 somethings in your neighborhood will start to try to pick you up … ….

  • MissBates says:

    Hi Plankton — sorry you’re so depressed about your (our) situation. Nothing wrong with acknowledging how miserable you feel. I suspect that when your children are back and perhaps you have some new professional success on the horizon (so much easier than the romantic kind), you won’t feel quite so abso-f*cking-lutely awful. Give yourself twenty-four hours to wallow, and then, you know . . . just get on with it.

  • june says:

    O dear P a very downbeat assessment of the plankton lot, but i find myself agreeing. with you and most of our fellow planktons.

    The women wanting a man over 6 ft made me laugh, as a barely 5 ft female that has never been a qualification of mine, average height would do fine,but with me its the width, i just cant contemplate someone overweight, superficial i know, but there we are,it just completely turns me off.

    Agree this coming to terms with being alone, as an only child,i think you can cope with aloneness more than someone with siblings, well i can. I guess bec ause you are alone as a child you find it easier to cope with it when older. However sometimes i ponder why me, how come i never met the love of my life , why did it never happen.What did i do wrong?.

    I think the points made regarding internet dating are true, they are too set up, too obvious, just too unnatural, meeting someone in normal life so much better but sadly as you get older that gets harder as men do prefer younger women and where do you go, and once you hit 60 i am sorry to say men of that age on whole do seem much older than women, and look it, and i just .dont want to go there, and think maybe would rather be alone.

  • Lindy says:

    “Truffling round the wine bins and salami” eh, PY – rather an amusing image and I shall look for you, as I am in the JL Foodhall, also knowing it is, in fact, Waitrose, very frequently, it being but a short walk from my office too. Let me know if you have any distinguishing features……….:-)! What an odd thought, us Plankton followers unknowingly being in the same place, perhaps at the same time!

    • fi says:

      Here’s a thought – people could smile at each other when they’re out? Pass the time of day when in a queue? Although I do think londoners aren’t very friendly and they ignore eye contact so maybe that only works in small towns?

    • PY says:

      Apart from a discrete ‘P’ on the lapel badge, unlikely that I would stand out in the bloom of Plankton

  • rosie says:

    Sorry you’re feeling down, P. Going through life alone when you don’t want to (I think most of us expect it in our twilight years even if we dread it) is bullshit, it’s as simple as that. Wish I had some words of wisdom. But at least the sky is blue today.

  • SteveH says:

    Sorry to hear that you’re feeling down P. I think we’ve ALL been there at one time or other.

    As regards solitude, there are some times when I can revel in it and some occasions when it can make you feel deeply lonely.

    You mentioned again recently that you won’t try online dating(for more than a nano-second) . Others have pointed out the flaws of online dating – but when it’s close to being the only game in town for a generation not into going clubbing/bar hopping , why not?

    Is it the finance? Too much trouble?

    Ten years ago, I (and many of my friends) would never have admiited to or even tried online dating. Now it’s so commonplace the “shame” factor has completely disappeared. So why not give it a go ????

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for this. I totally agree about the shame factor having disappeared. A lot of people may shoot me down – and indeed have in pst comments – but, frankly, I just can’t face it. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but I’d rather be on my own than sit through a lot of dates (if ever anyone wanted to go on a date with me in the first place?), and them all being if not ghastly, then just not for me. This is a quick reply to what should be a long and better-argued post as to my reasons, but these are them in a nutshell. Pxx

      • SteveH says:

        The prospect of sitting through a heap of dates is one that does leave me feeling a snese of dread (as and when the latest of my twinkles comes to naught).

        I think the trick is to have a ready made excuse after an hour. Chances are that the other person will be overjoyed that you are the one with the Cojones to cut the date short!

        But for every four or so crappy dates, there’ll be one or two where you’ll have a decent time ; good chat and a laugh. And then, occasionally, will come a date when you’re both on the same wavelength and you think “Yes”!!

      • fi says:

        I don’t really like it. Once you’ve got over the brief thrill of loads of emails dropping in (and they do as I think blokes take a scatter gun approach and contact lots of women) you’re faced with somehow weeding them down and all you can do is peer at photos, try to not make judgements about people from what they’ve writtten (but you have to in order to decide who to speak to) then eventually meet up with someone who you wouldn’t be keen on if you meet them in real life. And all the time you’re turning down folk that you know in the reject pile are bound to be some blokes you’d like if you met them, but you don’t know which ones and you need to put in filters somehow. And I’ve never been attracted to a photo – I need a real person standing in front of me. All that effort is just too much for me – and after all that you finally meet someone (presumably, I never lasted that long) only to not fancy them in the least. I think maybe if you don’t meet many new people its a way to expand your contacts, but I think its better to just do activities that allow you to meet more people.

      • The Plankton says:

        I completely agree! Pxx

  • toyman says:

    Well hello everyone……………….
    I found a girl friend and I am in a relationship; but now four months later I find out she has Cancer!
    Life is not fair!
    One lump on the collar bone and that was it………………
    Hair falling of, taste buds gone………………………
    I cannot figure out which is worst, not having or losing!

    • fi says:

      Sorry to hear that. Life is shit sometimes. I hope everything works out ok.

      • PY says:

        Now that it is FREE in London , most people read it . Enables you to avoid conversation or smiling on the Tube at the end of the day.
        However , it was curious how quickly the social etiquette developed of leaving your copy neatly on the back of the seat or overhead rack for the next person to read – even on occasion handing it over in person with a shrug and a nod.
        I’m sure a social anthropologist could read something into it.

    • Minnow says:

      Toyman, you must be feeling dreadful – but she is probably terrified. Things to try and hold on to: cancer is sometimes cured – completely; sometimes a person with cancer can live for a long time – and enjoy living; you can still enjoy each other’s company – some of her views on life might change but she is still the same person. She might push you away, she might pull you closer – but whatever she does – this is, first and foremost, about her. Don’t slap a death sentence on her.

    • joules says:

      I am sorry to hear this. But you may not lose her. Thing to do is fight like mad to keep her alive. It is not a death sentence, my sister is now seven years cancer free and has two small children to show for those seven years. Part of the reason she is still here – other than modern medicine and luck – will be due to the support she was given by her family and her husband.

    • PY says:

      Sorry to hear that Toyman – a tough shout .

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    There are monks in the Himalayas who supposedly only have contact with other humans no more that a few times per year… and this possibly occurs in other cultures in other regions of the world, too …. ….
    Have to admit, some days I do envy them … ….

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Ms. Plankton, you are a woman who continues to be full of surprises… You never struck me as an “Evening Standard” reader …. …..

  • toyman says:

    Some times I believe we should be thankful for the little we have, or be very careful what we wish for; because we just might get it!

    I found myself a 5′ 10″ beautiful full figured half English, half Swedish woman that will vanish off the face of the earth within six months………..

    I have the pain of losing her to look forward too, followed by the pain of being alone again…………………

    This life is not fair, nor does it favour anyone………………………..
    I do hope everyone has better luck than me than me……….

    Thank you……………………………….

    • Jill says:

      Yes, Toyman, you are absolutely right about counting one’s blessings, and I am so sorry about your (and her) grim predicament. I hope very much that you both have as much happiness together as possible, even if it seems that will be cruelly curtailed. And I do hope that your friend has had the best possible medical advice. I am sure she is lucky to have you at her side at such a difficult time. All best wishes to you both.

  • PY says:

    Hi Jill

    R U OK ?

    • Jill says:

      Yes, thank you very much for asking, PY…..if a bit battered by the slings and arrows of a rather testing week. I wasn’t going to risk sticking my head above any more parapets again, but I was very moved by Toyman’s tragic situation, and reading/thinking about that did put one’s own tiny little misfortunes and knock-backs into perspective. But I do sometimes wonder why, when things are not going well anyway, a whole lot more of the wet and smelly stuff seems to rain down relentlessly….it’s baffling. Then, someone or something makes one realise that tomorrow is another day. Trite but true. So, at the risk of calling down condemnation, thank you for your kind concern.

  • AnonW says:

    I meant to comment yesterday, but I had to go to A&E, because of the laziness of my doctor. I call him Doctor Chocolate Tea-Pot as he’s so useless, but finding another in this part of London is difficult. Frying pans and fires come to mind.

    I sympathised with your loneliness and really don’t have much to offer, except that I was lucky in that I always worked in a solitary manner, so can find positive ways to fill my life.

    I am very annoyed this morning as a meadow lady described divorce as a bereavement on the television this morning. She ought to try double bereavement for a few weeks. I vented my spleen here.

    I also sent her a reasoned e-mail, describing how insensitive she had been.

    It all helps, but doesn’t get over the lonely times.

    • MissBates says:

      I’m very sorry for the loss of your wife and child, AnonW. I can’t pretend to imagine your grief, and am not going to offer up any further platitudes, as I don’t know if I myself would be able to put one foot in front of the other after having such an experience. However, I think it is not fair for you to “rate” or “grade” the grief of others in comparison to your own. I, like your late wife, am a family law attorney, and I work in a busy, 16-attorney practice. My colleagues and I all recognize (as do the psychologists and psychiatrists with whom we often work) that many (certainly not all) of the people who have gone through a divorce DO go through a bereavement process and experience the well-established stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, & acceptance. Of course, much of the foregoing depends on the circumstances of the marital breakdown, whether a person is the spouse leaving or the one who was left, etc. My point is, though, that I doubt that any of my clients would tell you that YOUR terrible grief is invalid; isn’t there room enough in the world for THEIR loss as well as your own?

  • AnonW says:

    There is room for everyone’s grief, but real bereavement is treated so poorly in this country. As an example, there is only one researcher in one University in thev UK, who seriously studies bereavement. She struggles for funds, despite doing world class research.

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