Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lonely .....Lonely......Lonely

I've spent a good portion of the last two weeks attending a funeral of a good friend's brother-in-law. The deceased, who had been an academic for the better part of his life, had been a devoted husband, caring father and a good friend to many and it was a touching funeral. The cultural anthropologist in me found participation in Hindu death rituals to be facinating and the human that I sometimes pretend to me was moved by the fact that nearly everyone at the funeral wished they had only shown the man that bit more appreciation when he was alive. 

As time wore on, the grief of the passing subsided and the living started to appreciate each other all the more. If ever there was a sign of a successful funeral, this was it - the living started to be more accepting of each other. 

But now the ceremony is over and the widow will now face life on her own. The family is rightfully concerned that the absense of people to look after, the widow will now experience what it is like to be on her own after a 35-year marriage. How do you deal with lonliness? 

I'm not a psychiatrist but I once had the unfortunate experience of having someone else share my life and when that person no longer shares your life, its quite a traumatic experience. My marriage to Gina was terrible. It was bad for me and it was bad for her. Now that four years have passed, I can understand that the marriage was thus - we brought out the worst in each other and never did anything. 

Yet, having said all of that, when she was gone, it took quite a bit of getting used to. Rightly or wrongly, she was my companion for the better part of two years and even if most of our time together was negative and painful (time spent in therapy, police station etc etc), it took me a while to get used to life without her. 

I guess it's like this. When you're in a relationship, it becomes your life. As a third party, the most obvious question about "Abusive relationships," is - "Why the hell does the abused stay with the abuser?" Patterns are always the same......get abused...appologies (Gina was particularly horny after violence) .....and then abuse. In my case, I had my father asking, "She can't be that good can she," while my mother would insist, "Nobody can be so good for you to put up with this shit." My friends could see that  we were plainly no good for each other. 

Yet, and yet, I held off because, well ... life without her was unimaginable and even after taking out a Personal Protection Order against her (Which I only did when I realised that I was close to executing the idea of doing her serious damage during her outburst and enjoying it), I still genuinely wanted her to have a role to play in my life, even if she was not to be a wife. 

My experiences with Gina made me realise that sharing your life is horribly addictive and its hard to concieve life without the other party and if I can feel that way about two-years in an abusive relationship, I can only multiply that closeness to a person for people who are in stable, loving relationships. 

How do we cope with lonliness and the other party? OK, I had a life without Gina and it came back to me when I ended my life with her. But what happens to the people who devote so much of their life to being with another person that they forgo the life they once had? I can only imagine that it must be crushing when the other party leaves you and you suddenly have to rebuild life again. 

Gina always accused me of being too independent and I've heard of girls who wished they were a tad less independent and thus more able to live in a married life. Perhaps my attachment to be idea of being independent has screwed up my life...I can't except the idea of being dependent on ONE source of income and ONE life partner as being a reward in life. I live with the financial hardship because, its easier than dealing with the emotional pain.

I remember the first girl who touched my life in such a way that I felt lonely - her name is Adelene, who was a Malaysian, studying in London at the same time that I was. On the surface, the girl was charming and I have to admit, after all these years I remember her fabulous French cooking (Way to man's heart.... ) So, I made what I could call stupid critical decision number one of my life - I invited her to share my life.

She moved in with me and we spent the next two months together pretending to paint the town blue - which in reality was a case of me being dragged into her emotional mess (ran away at 17 with a French man and was dumped - usual sob story ). In the end, I got tired and worn out by her and alcohol seemed more fun..

We had wild times, which I can now appreciate were useless times. But at the time, I had such an intense feeling about wanting this girl in my life - it hurt when she was not there. I remember calling my mother in Germany and crying the first time she stayed over night and went back to her place. She made me feel lonely in my house....I mean its quite annoying that you allow someone else to make it painful to be in your own house ...but that's the way she made me feel.

Thanks to time, I've come to accept the fact that Adelene and the awful experience I had with her was necessary. Without her, I would probably not loved Carra when I met her during my internship in Citibank. Carra was basically everything that Adelene was not - sensible, kind and capable of emotional relationship. 

Yet, and yet, I remember that feeling of being so lonely because you had someone else share your life to such an extent that you don't know what to do without the other person. It's a scary feeling to go through. 

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