18. On Being Alone

18-beingAloneI now live in Crestwood Village apartments located on the north side of Indianapolis, in a small efficiency apartment. Crestwood is an independent living complex where the average age is 77. Very soon I will be 84 years young. I have found as the years have rolled by I’m more and more comfortable being alone. This was not always the case with me.

My early years spent with my Mother, Dad and brothers were always a time of love and companionship. Whatever the day may have brought to me there was always a loving base to return to. Our home was full of activity, humor, as well as lessons to be learned. I never felt alone.

When I went on to college at the University of Vermont I had many friends there. There were 14 of us that spent time together. During the summers during those college years I worked as a riding instructor at summer camps where I had a number of summer close friends. I might add here that I also found great companionship with my horses. There were times when I would saddle up my lead horse and wander into the wooded area of the particular mountains that I was fortunate enough to be working at. It was not necessary for me and has never been necessary that I must be surrounded by many individuals. Time alone and the solitude of being alone allowed me to restore myself and hear the songs of the earth. I never felt alone.

Shortly after spending two years in the Army I married my best friend Mimsie. For 23 years my wife and myself, I believe, had a wonderful, happy home together, sharing who we were was so natural for us. She was always there for me and I for her. Our home was always full of love, activity and fun. Each morning I woke, walked into my children’s rooms, woke them and told them that their daddy loved them and it was time for them to get their day started.

Mimsie would get them ready for school and I would go out to make a living. Whatever it was that I had to do and however long I would be away doing it, I found great comfort knowing that my wife and children were there when I returned. When I became a full time salesman many times it would be late at night when I returned home and my children would be asleep. There was never a single night I did not walk into each of their rooms kiss them and say your daddy loves you. Mimsie would wait up for me and it was always wonderful being together once more. I never felt alone.

One evening, my wife of 23 years informs me that she desired a separation. A few days later I moved out and drove to Indianapolis. I felt very alone and depressed. I was lost and quite frankly did not know how do handle the situation that I found myself in. I had never really ever felt alone before. For approximately 6 months I was quite a loner and had no desire to spend time with anyone. There were many nights that as I laid down to rest a feeling of panic and dread came over me. There had always been loved ones around to in a physical way as well as a mental manner to make contact with. I needed that so very badly. There I would lay in an empty room alone. It was a feeling of suffocation.

Arriving at the station in life that I then found myself had become a process. When I was first separated from my wife and children it was very difficult for me to spend time without them. I did not want to be alone. Going into this strange single world that I found myself in when first I lived in Indianapolis I did not handle it well at all. Each day would drag by. I was a very miserable soul. At first I found it difficult to be with others for others could not replace what I had lost. Time passed and I felt the need more and more to be with someone. The old saying is “no man is an island” which was certainly the feelings and emotions for me at that time. I don’t believe that anyone who has not found himself in a similar situation could completely understand the feelings one has at a time such as I found myself in. What came of this was that it seemed easy for me to find or be found by other individuals that had like needs. This is how I lived for many years.

There is a country song where a few of the words are: “help me make it through the night.” Well, I had reached that point and I needed someone to help me make it through the night. I guess you might say that I was fortunate that there were other souls that felt as I did. They did help me make it through the night. This did not replace my family in any way yet it did become more and more my lifestyle over time. I just did not want to be alone.

I can recall a conversation that I had with my wife during this period of time where I explained to her that I was starting to fit more and more into the lifestyle that I was surviving in. I told her at that time before it became more and more acceptable to me that we should put a stop to it. This did not occur. Years went by where it became easier for me to spend time alone as long as I knew that there was some short term relationship that I could turn to for companionship. At that time I was working and did spend a lot of time with coworkers or individuals who worked with me or for me. These relationships have been amiable yet in most cases not deep in nature. I lived alone and I believe functioned as a loner, which was fine with me. You learn how to accept the day as it came to you and make the most of it.

A little more than 10 years ago a lady who had been my companion off and on for many years convince me to marry her. It was a bad decision to make, yet I made it thinking that now being older this individual and I could grow old together supporting each other in a productive manner. After we married it took about a year for me to realize that I wanted out of this marriage. In order to do so I had to find a place where I could live with my two best friends Tarzan and Rocky my two K-9 children. At last we found an apartment complex on the east side of Indianapolis moving there. For the next eight years the three of us lived together. There was not a moment during that time spent with Tarzan and Rocky that I ever felt alone. They were all I needed for companionship since they were honest, loving and certainly loyal. What more could one ask for? Unfortunately a dog’s life is a short one. First Tarzan left us at the age of 13 and in a little over a year later Rocky left as well. I felt very alone without them.

A little more than four years ago I moved to my present address in Crestwood Village, which was much more convenient for me than where I had been living on the east side of Indianapolis. My needs are met here so I have little complaint about being alone. Under the circumstances that I find myself in presently it is my choice to make. I wish it was not. I spend my time as I pleased to at times writing. Other times I read or study. I find it pleasant when the weather is good sitting out on my small patio listening to my choice of music smoking a good cigar. I take each day as it is laid before me most times alone.

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