“When life knocks you down we can choose (win or lose) to get back up” Quote from Karate Kid (2010) Family martial arts adventure. A kindly widower, caretaker (Jackie Chan) shows an American boy (Jaden Smith) how to stand up to the bullies at his new school in China.
So, recently I had my first experience of being ‘Home Alone’, as a widow. My son (Jason, aged23) was away from home housesitting and dog walking. Faced with a new challenge and brand new experience altogether, he and I were home alone! (This being the first time, to my memory, that I had been at home totally on my own – previously as a child on the farm, as a teenager at boarding school, as a student at college, as a married woman with my husband, as a mother with our children and as a widow with my son – always with company). So now, on his return he set a reminder for ‘Karate Kid’, so I’d be okay (not lonely) a regular thing when he’s out in the evenings. Ahh! (Quite kind and thoughtful, don’t you think?) In the film Jacky Chan had a knock in life. He was facing guilt, sorrow and sadness at every anniversary following the loss of his wife and only son in a car crash. Every year he’d demolish the car, taking out his frustration on it and destroying it. Then every year this widower would rebuild the vehicle again.
It got me thinking of grief, the grieving process & the pros and cons of being ‘Home Alone’, from a widow’s perspective:
– No set time to be back home after being out
X No one to talk to and share the news of the day
– Yay! No fuss meals
X Every sound is an intruder – creaking door, footsteps, branches, the cat flap
– Time to read, to watch or not watch tv, doing your own thing!
X Not caring for someone, after being so involved for so long
–Tidiness – Isn’t it amazing how few cups need cleaning and clothes need washing!
X A huge hole exists when your loved one dies. Also, when your child (now man or woman) has grown up and ‘gathers wings ready to fly’…
Being Home Alone also got me thinking of ‘Strategies to combat loneliness’, here’s my list of suggestions:
- Play Scrabble
- Paint, dot-to-dot or take up any hobby
- Go fishing!
- Read, study
- Learn a new language
- Meet with a friend
- Have a brisk walk
- Offering to dog walk
- Use the opportunity to take a trip abroad
- Watch a film on your own or with a friend
- Visit the sick
- Rest and work through the grieving process
Carol Cornish in her book The Undistracted Widow says ‘loneliness is not exclusively for widows. Loneliness does not just happen when we are alone. People are lonely in a crowd. Married people can feel lonely. Children can become lonely. Soldiers become lonely far from home on military duty.The solution and cure lies in our personal relationship with God’.
Be encouraged! “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Till next time, Suz.