The following is an excerpt from The Hope Trap, Jean Loxley-Barnard's forthcoming book.
can be exhilarating.
The actuality of freedom
can be frightening.
For years life had seemed to have too few hours to get everything done that needed doing. Now, life seemed to have endless hours. I wondered how I could fill even a small portion of those hours. Each moment felt like forever.
I wondered if I would be better off living in a smaller place. The country club town villas came to mind. They were less than half the size of my home and might feel cozy. Maybe I would not be lost in one of those villas. I was certainly lost in my kitchen.
I was always relieved when dark settled around the house. Then the sunroom became self-contained. Through its walls of windows, I could see just a portion of the sidewalk by the back door, illuminated by the back door light. The world seemed less infinite then.
The night was ever so much friendlier than the early evening. For a long time, I went out with friends each evening until I became able to just get ready for bed and settle under the covers to watch TV or read until I fell asleep. How good it felt to be able to do that and not feel terrible loneliness.
I told myself it would take time after 30 years of not being alone. Then I realized that it had been 50 years since I had been alone. In other words, never. Never had I lived entirely alone.
That realization came as a shock. I had gone from my parents' home to the college dorm. After the dorm, I had shared an apartment at the edge of campus with girlfriends until I married Rob.
Now, at 50, I was living alone. It was quite a shock to my system. It was not the same as having Rob gone for a night's duty at the hospital, or even several days away at a seminar.
There had been many times that I even wished that Rob would take a trip â€“ go hunting â€“ anything. The thought of a weekend alone had once thrilled me. A weekend alone and a lifetime alone were very different concepts.
What I noted most about those minutes that seemed like years, standing in the kitchen, was the confusion about what to do next. It was not that there were so many choices that it was hard to decide. It was simply that there seemed nothing to do â€“ nothing.
I do not know what I would have done without my family and friends who were always available to me, by phone and in person. The value of human contact during times of enormous stress can not be underestimated.
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The Hope Trap -- Anger Finds Meby Jean Loxley-Barnard
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