Ch.231 Loneliness Panic Attack

Ch.231 Loneliness Panic Attack


          It’s 9 a.m. on the Friday before Christmas. I’ve taken my morning walk with Levi. Eaten toast and yogurt with a cup of tea. Begun reading another segment of Remarkably Bright Creatures, this month’s book club selection. So far, I’ve been introduced by the author to one lonely giant octopus and four lonely people as well as to the disappearance of a teenager and the deaths of a husband and brother. The octopus, Marcellus by name, is brilliant but growing old. I doubt he’ll survive the book’s conclusion. All but one of the humans are older and fragile.

          My daughter Jenny would usually come visit today, Friday, but she’s off gathering up her daughter Elizabeth from her dorm room in Madison. My son Joshua will be in Marshfield all weekend with his wife and daughter Tatiany, who is about to move from that city to St.Paul. I have nothing scheduled today and nobody to see. Same tomorrow. Only breakfast with Ed and Judy Sunday, done by 9 a.m. An invitation to drop by on Christmas day from Jenny, to stay for a few hours if I like. And I can’t take Levi to his closed day care center on Tuesday, so that limits my opportunities.

          This is exactly what people in my grief group complain about a lot. Nobody to see, nothing to do. Boredom. Emptiness. Loneliness. So how will I handle it?

          With a panic attack. Or at least the start of one, creeping into my body as I try to concentrate on the book. Panic is something I understand --- my belly tightening, shallow breathing, quickening thoughts, sense of desperation, the child-like need to be saved by a comforting adult. Help me, help me, help me.

 I’m converting loneliness into fear. Why? Because loneliness hurts more. I may shiver with fear, but my loneliness/emptiness makes me want to whimper. To moan at the universe, with no expectation of rescue. Panic attacks always end; loneliness, at least this griever’s loneliness, is eternal. At its core is one single statement: “I will never get Pat back.” Pat will never return.

I’m calming down now. Writing helps. Communicating. I know you cannot heal my loneliness, but you allow me to share it, and I know many of you who are reading this passage endure a similar void. We are alone together.