Jonathon's Closet

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Life as a Recluse

A few days back, Dana at the Club Mom blogs commented on the difficulty of making friends.

I can totally relate. It’s so difficult to make friends. We were in the middle of relocating when my husband died, and I knew NO ONE in this new town. I was overwhelmed by grief, busy finding a job and a house, and trying to care for my then-5-year-old son.

Well, I worked 55 hours a week, bought a home, and continued caring for my son. I became engrossed in HGTV and do-it-yourself books as I learned how to repair my fixer-upper and I continued to raise my son. And I would fall into bed at the end of every day, thankful for the exhaustion that would allow me to sleep instead of think.

Now more than 7 years later, I am still very much alone in the crowd.

Oh, I made efforts to connect with others. In fact, I made many efforts. I was Den Mother for my son’s Cub Scout Den, worked as day camp staff for 3 years for the local Boy Scout council, I was a soccer coach for 2 years, I attended church, I made an effort to talk with other parents at school events, I volunteered to chaperone school field trips, I sat for countless hours at the taekwondo studio attempting to chat with the other mothers.

But let’s face it – the word “widow” (and even the situation itself) makes people uncomfortable, no matter how gently you try to phrase it. “So how long have you been divorced?” “I’m not divorced, unfortunately Jona’s Dad died a few years ago”. Silence. Conversation ended. “Jona’s Dad must work a lot, he hasn’t been at one game this whole season!” “My husband died a few years back, it’s just the two of us now”. Silence. Conversation over. “Is your husband here tonight, I’d love to meet him.” “No, I’m afraid not – I’m a widow”. Nothing – absolutely nothing. Conversation – full stop. The current conversation and apparently all future conversations were over. It was like I had the plague.

So here I am, disconnected from others. I have stopped going to church (I got tired of sitting alone and having no one speak), I do not volunteer with my son’s Scout group (especially since one of the mothers expressed how very uncomfortable with my being the only female on several outings – Hey, honey – look at what you’ve got – he ain’t no catch and I ain’t fishin’!), I no longer chaperone school field trips (again, why bother when no one speaks – no matter how hard I try to strike up a conversation), I do not coach soccer (hell, I rarely attend my son’s swim meets because it is so agonizing to sit alone all of the time), I drop my son off at the taekwondo studio (and use that time to run errands) and I’ve been known to skip the occasional band concert. Yep, I’ve slowly become a recluse.

And when this recluse tries to connect with people, I find I have very little patience for the following:
1) Women who say “I know just how you feel, I’m a single parent too, little Joey is with me this week and I have to deal with him all by myself”. No, ONLY parenting is not the same as SINGLE parenting.

2) Women who say “You don’t know how lucky you’ve got it, I have to deal with Tom’s dirty laundry all over our bedroom floor and his tools all over the garage”. You’d rather have him DEAD? I don’t think so.

I long for the loneliness to subside, for friendship, for someone to talk to and share with. So here I am, a recluse who’s trying to reform! I joined the summer reading club at the library. I'm again making the effort to smile and wave at neighbors. Maybe someday, one of them will wave back.


  • Thanks for sharing some very deep and real feelings. I care about both of you very much. You are two very special people that has taken the sorrow that life has thrown at you and become better, stronger, and more compassionate people because of it. God Bless You Both. Love, Sherri Cooper (the bank lady)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:25 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 9:43 AM  

  • I'm sorry people are so thoughtless. I came today through Peggie's blog. I thought it might be easier to read from the beginning to the the current posts.

    I'd like to think there are more empthatic, thoughtful, authentic people out there. People who would tell you exactly what I know I would -- I am sorry for you loss. I can't imagine how hard it's been.

    By Blogger Sandy, at 7:11 PM  

  • I know how hard it was, I was hoping it would get easier.

    I don't want to be alone forever and have already found out that the "widow (er)" word just doesn't get it.

    I thought men LOVED to console widows, maybe if there was a big insurance policy it would help...(ha)

    Not having any luck here, either.

    By Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo, at 10:45 AM  

  • Hello,I am so intrigued by your post.How sorry also for your loss.I happen to come accross your post by accident as i was looking to google a recluse club.None to be found.I have being a recluse for the last 5 years and am thinking that i am not the only one out there who is one.
    After reading your experiences people can be so ignorant.Now i know that i am doing the right thing by living my life on my own .You are a very strong lady and may your Husband rest in peace for eternity.God Bless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 PM  

  • Hi. Thanks for sharing your story. I've personally found it harder to connect with people as I've gotten older. When I was younger it was alot easier. My only true friends are my two children. I used to go to church but found it's catered to married people and youth. I think alot of people in contemporary western society can relate to your disconnectedness because I certainly do. There's a book written by a Christian woman, who was widowed twice, about her experience of loneliness which I'm going to get because it sounds inspiring and comforting. Thanks again for sharing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 PM  

  • The Recluse is a more peaceful person. I have stepped out of society because I needed to become sober, and living on an island out in the middle of the pacific, people drink. Some drink socially, some drink for effect, and others ( myself ) just drank out of habit.. I have not had a drink in 11 months now and I don't miss it, I do however miss being drunk. Being sober sucks, which is why I have chosen to be a recluse. Perhaps I am disabled somehow?? I listen to people in the world and the things they talk about, it drives me crazy; consumerism has destroyed people and what they stand for. Money this, Money that! How much did that cost you? I hate Money!! Which is another reason I stepped out of society and have become a recluse. I am lonely, and sad sometimes. Thankfully I have a cat and a second has been frequenting my home. I live in a beautiful remote place surrounded by some of the freshest air imaginable.. Thankfully I have my health.. Embrace being a recluse.. For, it's not so bad!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 PM  

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