Why I am not lonely

Ramana Rajgopaul from Ramana’s Musings, has recently taken to reading and commenting on my blog posts.  I had tip-toed through his musings on many an occasion since I discovered him at Paddy Bloggit’s.  Ramana lives in Pune, India, with his wife, son and father. A multi-generational family.

In a recent post: The Empty Nest Syndrome. Ramana spoke about how he and his wife Urmeela went through the empty nest syndrome on three separate occasions. I found this surprising since they like me, he has only one child.  I realise that in India, adult children living with parents and grand parents is still quite prevalent and family ties are very strong.

No matter where you live or how many children you have; love, energy, time, heart ache, pride, and worry all go into the caring and nurturing of each individual child. The best gift we can hope to give any child is to raise them with love and self worth, teach them to have respect both for themselves and for their fellow man, while also teaching them to stand on their own two feet independently of their parents.  If we achieve that then all the time invested is worthwhile.

It is a nice feeling to have my daughter home when she WANTS to be here and wants to spend time with me rather than because she NEEDS to be, or worse still because I NEED her to be here with me.

I commented on Ramana’s post thus:

I try not to think about empty nests.
My mother died in 1996 at the age of 82, it was ten weeks after a stroke. Since she lived over 100 miles away from me I had problems spending time with her. My husband was ill with cancer at the time. Six weeks after my mother’s death my daughter (one and only) left home for University in Scotland and her dad died a year and a half later.
My home has been quiet since then; it feels like the heart has gone out of it. My daughter visits when ever she can but she has a husband of her own now, a job and home to run. I have been known to say ‘I gave her life and not a life sentence of caring for me!’
I am not a lonely person and make the best of whatever life throws my way. With the internet and blogging the outside world comes in to me. I am so fortunate.

Ramana replied:

@Grannymar, That is a very poignant comment. I wonder if you could consider expanding your last paragraph in one of your posts. I too differentiate between loneliness and solitude. I look forward to every possible occasion when I can have some solitude. I too use the internet and blogging to connect with the outside world.

‘I am not a lonely person and make the best of whatever life throws my way. With the internet and blogging the outside world comes in to me. I am so fortunate.

There were four people already living in the house when I first showed my face to the world.  My father, mother and two older brothers, within two years we were six and numbers increased until we were eight in total.  Added to this was a multitude of relations that covered several generations from both sides of the family who came for rest or recuperation.  My mother was a Master Caregiver.  This care she gave to everyone without stinting or the help of my father.  He saw his role in life as the breadwinner, and once he produced the money to pay for food, clothing and household bills then he was free to rest and read.

We children provided help and there was always plenty to do.  Reading and resting were not in my lexicon back then.  With so many people in the house and visitors coming and going, it was difficult to find a quiet spot for reflection.  I often longed to have a place of my own with no interruption.

My move to Germany in the early 70’s gave me that space and I loved coming home to a quiet apartment where I could hear myself think and not fall over half a dozen pair’s of feet every time I entered a room.  I really grew during that time.  I learned to really budget with nobody to borrow from when funds were low.  We had no mobile phones or PCs then and a letter took nearly five days to reach home.  If I had a problem I had to find my own way to deal with it.  I worked with and learned from people of many different cultures, creeds and languages.

When I returned home to live in Ireland, three of my brothers were married and living in homes of their own.  The house was a little quieter and I had time to rebuild a social life and travel.  After a few years I met Jack and we married within the year.  My move to Co Antrim was not easy.  It was the height of the troubles and I was a ‘stranger’ moving into this town!  The natives were very wary of me and my southern accent. It was more difficult to make friends.  I way young and in love and made the best of my life.  I have outlived the people who were horrible to me and eventually make some friends.

My health issues of the past six years prevent me from working. There are times when I am unable to go out or feel at risk both to myself and to others driving my car, on such days the Internet and blogging are my salvation.  The world comes in to me! Blogging has allowed me to meet virtually and personally the most amazing group of diverse people of all ages & persuasions stretched across the globe.

Did you know you were good for my health?

16 thoughts on “Why I am not lonely

  1. Baino

    It is a wonderful thing Grannymar and I’ve met many people I consider ‘friends’ through my blog, both in reality and via email, Skype, Facebook and comments on the blog. Sadly, most are well outside my own back yard. Even the Aussie contingent is interstate with the exception of a couple. But they’re great company when I’m on my own which is often and usually in the evening.

    I dread the empty nest. One will definitely leave this year but only around the corner, the other, probably after Christmas when she’s paid her debts and accumulated enough cash to travel again. In the meantime, I have their feet to trip over and their towels to pick up. . each moment is precious.

  2. Paddy Bloggit

    Solitude and loneliness …. I’ve never thought of them as separate entities.

    My make-up determines that I am more a person of solitude than a social being. I enjoy my own company a lot more than I enjoy being in the middle of a social setting. This bothered me for years until I came to an age/a stage where I decided that it’s who I am and trying to be a social animal when I’m not doesn’t work.

    As a singleton I do suffer from the odd bout of loneliness but I’ve come to accept that as part of life.

    The internet has opened up the world for me and I have met some nice people on my travels but I find it hard at times to make people on the net ‘real’ when I haven’t a tangible person to talk to or to see.

    Because of my work situation I can’t fully tell the world who I am.

    More developments that have come to my attention means that drastic changes in my life will be happening within the next 5 months. By September ’09 I should be facing a different direction in life.

    There are times where loneliness supersedes solitude in my life but I have to say, on the whole, the direction my life is going is one I am happy with.

    A great post GM.

  3. Darragh

    That was beautiful GM. Solitude vs loneliness is a hard road to walk down, but once cultivated can bring many surprises and blessings.

    You’re not alone. True, people mightn’t be in touch as often as they like/should/promise (rap on knuckles for me) but they’re thinking about you. I certainly am today x

  4. rummuser

    Grannymar, you have not disappointed me. This is a fantastic post and I am very grateful to you for heeding to my request and writing about your world. Problems of health are the only things that seem to bother people with the empty nest syndrome. Eventually everyone seems to get used to it and from the responses to my post, grow in relationships with their spouses and find other meaningful relationships, some even with animals. It is much easier for us in today’s flat world, with access to the internet, mobile telephony, information overload, entertainment at the finger tips etc. Our parents, except those that are still alive, went through different ways to avoid loneliness. Overall, I think that we are fortunate to be living in interesting times.

    Talking about the flat world, just by getting to know a columnist on the internet, I hit a newspaper all the way in Indiana, USA. Jerry, my friend used one of my posts to talk about what he called the ground zero mentality that we develop around our little worlds and shrug off distant events that affect people. Unfortunately, the paper that carried that article, does not carry the printed articles in its archives for more than a month and I only have it saved in a word document. If you care to read it, I shall be delighted to send it to you by email.

    Baino, I hope that with these exchanges your dread changes to hope!

    Paddy, it is lovely to see your emotions on print in Grannymar’s blog. I can now see why you are so reticent in your posts on your own blog.

  5. Magpie11

    Where to start…you knew I would GM…didn’t you?

    This post and replies are thought provoking…almost too much so…

    I always thought that Sillitoe had the wrong word in his The Loneliness of the Lang Distance Runner because for me, at boarding school, it was the Aloneness that appealed when I was running…the Solitude that I craved having spent much of my earlier childhood playing alone in the woods and fields in different parts of the country…rabbits will sit and listen and not interrupt.

    The quote that I hope informed the up bringing of our children came from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner…Sidney Poitier’s character says to his father “I owe you nothing. You owe me everything.” My children owe me noting…except a few pounds I leant one of them the other day ;-)… but in the larger plan of things…is there a plan?…they owe me nothing as It was a concious act that created them…a concious act on my part. They sre my responsibility …even tho’ they have been brought up to take responsibility for them selves and their actions.

    Kahlil Gibran reminds us in his writing “The Prophet”:

    “Your children are not your children.

    They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,

    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    We do not own our children; their lives are in our keeping when they are young. It is our job to care for them, to provide them with a strong foundation, until they can control their own lives, when we must release them to do so. ”

    However, I mine them everything

    As for the internet….. I am amazed at how many lonely people I have come across in various places…and I’m drawn to them as are many others..this post has started me wondering just how lonely I must be..without realising it. Ho Hum!

    I must shut up now!

  6. Nick

    What a very moving post, Grannymar. Like Paddy, I like my own company and I’m seldom comfortable with others unless I already know them well. I’m very fortunate that I clicked instantly with Jenny and we have given so much to each other over the last 27 years. I’m good at amusing myself but I do need the stimulus of social contact which is why like you I enjoy blogging so much.

    How sad that when you moved up north the locals were so wary and unfriendly and couldn’t appreciate your isolation and need for company and support. Had they never been in the same situation themselves? Poetic justice that you’ve outlived those who were horrible to you! I hope the locals are a bit friendlier to strangers nowadays, particularly all the immigrants who are even more isolated in a foreign country and maybe not speaking the language.

  7. Paul McCarthy

    What a wonderful post.

    I’ve never had a problem with solitude. I too grew up in a large family, so peace and quiet was something to be cherished. Some of my happiest memories were sitting under the kitchen table reading a book with no-one around to disturb me.

    For me loneliness is when you can no longer keep yourself company. Luckily, I’m happier to be by myself than I am when I’m with other people. Crowds don’t appeal to me – stillness and quietness do.

    Thanks for the great post.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Modern technology some days I like it and some days I hate it. Like right now I had a very long reply to all of you and I hit the D*** wrong button.

    😀 Begin again!

    @Baino – Give the birds their wings and they will fly home when they are good and ready.

    @Paddy B – Once you are happy in your skin then that is the main thing. When you want someone to chat to you know where to get me… and as for the picture, well you know what I am like… 34 -26 – 36 🙄

    @Darragh – Consider your knuckles rapped! Hugs!

    @Ramana – I would love to read your article!

    @Magpie – You know my answer …. start to blog!

    I agree that our children owe us nothing. Elly was born out of unconditional love. I only wish my relations and friends would remember that fact instead of the constant ‘Is Elly not coming for (insert, weekend, christmas, birthday, easter.) This is Elly’s home and she knows that she is welcome at anytime and needs no invitation!

    @Nick – Apologies for the problems you had earlier today. Internet Explorer does not like Grannymar for some reason.

    You say that you seldom feel comfortable with others unless you already know them well. We all had to start somewhere. I was very timid when out in company during my teens and early twenties, having a body like an anorexic was no help. I taught myself to intreract and include others in conversation. Now I am prepared to meet people on any level. If they don’t like me, then that is their problem and not mine!

    @Paul – Welcome on board. I enjoy meeting people, when I can hear what they have to say. In large groups the background noise & so called music takeover and drown out the human voices.
    I hope you find us a friendly lot and come back to join us soon.

  9. wisewebwoman

    I too enjoy my solitude, GM, as I enjoy my own company. I am blessed with many friends, both real and virtual and find the blogging world supplies a lot of mental and intellectual stimulation. Like you, I was brought up in a house of 8 where there was never enough space to be alone so I really celebrated this ability when I could have it.
    I’ve been saying “Yes” a lot more in the last few years and that has opened many many doors, particularly in the performing arts and workshop fields.
    Health is the greatest wealth of all. I can sympathize with your failings in that area but you find much to fill your downtime. And your writing reaches out to the world.

  10. Grannymar Post author


    The best part about being alone is being able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without having to consult others. I only wish the ticker didn’t present me with obstacles!

  11. kenju

    I know that all of the bloggers I am friends with (in life and just on the web) have been wonderful for my health (mental) and I would be lost without them – even though I am blessed with good local friends and family!

  12. Grannymar Post author


    When I meet bloggers in real life I feel like I have known them for years. They are kind generous and caring people!

  13. Darlene

    Until the age of ten I was an only child and had to learn to entertain myself early. When my mother remarried I was surrounded by others and felt lonelier than I had as an only child.

    My early years have stood me in good stead because I have lived alone 22 years. (The first two years after I was widowed I had a revolving door as my daughter moved in and out until she married. I have been widowed 24 years.)

    I enjoy solitude and only feel lonely when I am sick. Then I wish I had someone to talk to and someone to bring me a bowl of soup.

  14. Grannymar Post author


    Oh Darlene! Joining a ready made family must have been difficult after being the centre of attention for 10 years.

    When I am sick I just want to be left alone. The time I miss company is when I have good news to share!


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