What a stunningly beautiful woman she was, one of the great beauties of her day who was also known for her tendency to want very much to be alone. "I vant to be alone..." was her mantra. That was her choice...!! This post today is not really about Greta Garbo, but about being alone and not really by choice, like Greta. After living alone for just over a year, following the decision to place my sweetie in a Memory Care Facility, I have found that I have embraced "life alone". If life would have continued the way I thought it would, living together with my sweetie and enjoying retirement together I would never have considered living alone, nor did I ever have the desire to fly solo. After being so tightly wound in the daily trials and tribulations of having a spouse with Alzheimer's I feel a certain relief and freedom that had been so foreign to me. The relief that he is well taken care of, he is safe, he is content and the freedom to live a fuller life. To be able to enjoy Bible Study with my spiritual sisters, to join an art league, to have lunch with an old friend, to continue my passion for photography, to enroll in adult education courses at our local college...these would not have happened if I was not living "alone".
There are days that the only voice I hear are the voices from the TV or perhaps the voice of a telephone solicitor if I happen to slip and answer the phone without checking the caller ID...that's OK. These are the times when I really want to be alone, like Greta, but indeed there are times that I need to be with people. I am blessed with a great group of friends that I am with regularly and my blogging buddies, eventho we do not see each other or have never met I feel a definite connection and I am not alone when I read your posts, or your messages posted here.
While I was walking the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan last weekend we began a conversation with a man who was waiting for his wife and daughter to return from a walk. During the conversation he talked about his Dad and the fact that only a few months after the death of his Mom, he was dating. He stated..."Men can't be alone, you women are much stronger than we men. We need that companionship." What I really think he meant was that men need women to take care of them..hee hee. But I have known several men who have lost their wives and they usually re-marry within the first 6 months. And on the other side of the coin, I know many women who are perfectly satisfied and happy with their lives alone and do not need that "companionship" of a man. They do not need to be taken care of...they take care of themselves.
While I was living in the horrors of Alzheimer's I did not think that my life would ever improve, and that I would continually sink into the hole of caregiving. But after living life alone for this past year I know that God was holding my hand during the bad times, leading me to this new and different life, knowing that I would embrace it. I am alone, not by choice like Greta Garbo, but by circumstances. I have learned that sometimes my plans are not God's plans and that life can be good alone.
"For when a woman is left too much alone, sooner or later she begins to think - And no man knows what then she may discover. " ~ Edwin A Robinson
Until next time....