The loneliness of loneliness

I’ve spent the last three hours crying my eyes out. All because of a five-minute telephone conversation. San Francisco to Budapest. My best friend’s husband and me. This time last year, Lori was to be in Budapest – between trips to Prague and Subotica. Two days before she was due to travel, she had some tests. The doctors suggested that she waited on the results before she travelled and six weeks later, she was dead.

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I have some of her ashes sitting in an urn on my kitchen table. On March 28th, I will take them to Prague and the next day, on the first anniversary of her death, I will scatter them from the Charles Bridge. She always wanted to go to Prague. Typical American – her terminology, not mine.

My friends in Ireland met her. They know her smile, her irreverence, her attitude to life. My friends in Budapest never got to meet her. They never met the woman who has had such a profound influence on my life. It’s not their fault. It couldn’t be helped. The plan was there.

But although I know I’m surrounded by good mates who mean me well; although I know there are many who would talk me through the night; although I know I have as good a friend in one or two in this city, I still feel so horrendously alone because no one here knew her.

I spoke tonight to her husband. I know what this month will entail for him, and yet in a strange way I’m envious. He gets to grieve with those who knew Lori, with those who loved her, too. It won’t make it easier, or better, or happier. It won’t take from the fact that a woman in her prime, with so much to offer, was taken from this life too early. But at least he’s not alone. For that I’m thankful.

For me – I need to get on with living. And to accept the fact that I chose to live away from home. I’ve made my bed, and if, at times, it’s uncomfortable and lonely, I’ve made that choice and I need to learn to live with it.

To all those who have lost a loved one and have to grieve alone – my sympathy. To those in BP who might see me dissolve in tears in the course of the next month or so, take heed. Ignore me. In the words of Gloria Gaynor – I will survive.

To my mate Lori – I so wish you’d made it to Budapest and had met the friends I’ve made. You’d have liked them  … well most of them, anyway! Be at peace my friend – watch over me and mind my way.

21 Responses

  1. If there’s a consolation, it is that you knew Lori, experienced her love, her friendship, her enthusiasms, and what she gave. It’s that selfless, probably unconscious giving by one person to another, that fills, warms, and strengthens, allowing You, to do the same, in your own and inimitable way.
    Let your pain filled sadness be a celebration of what Lori was, still is and of what you shared and in some inexplicable way, what you can continue to share.
    Thinking of you.

  2. We will have that coffee soon and if a few tears goes with it, well understood. My sympathy MM, see you soon!

  3. So sad for you, yes it sucks being away from your best friends and your family, we moved to Ireland in 2001 and in 2002 brought my mom over for a holiday, we intended bringing her over again and 4 months later she passed away, I think about her all the time and all the things I want to tell her and show her, especially her Grand daughter who was born in 2003 that she never knew. And all the messages here say exactly what I would, be happy that you shared special moments together! *Big Hug*

  4. I think that you will have a good cry but you should have a good laugh also because that is what Lori would have done. Because I was lucky enough to have met her and to have called her friend celebrate the way you would have if she were there and you were showing her off. Have a toast and a laugh with those tears, and yes it is a pity that Hungary didn’t get to meet Lori because it never would have been the same.
    My heart is with you and my thoughts will be with you on the bridge. She was one of a kind and a very fine friend.

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