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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Loneliness

For those of us that are fortunate enough not to be lonely it is perhaps timely for us to remember those that are. These people live in Oughterard and throughout Connemara, and don’t stop there, they are everywhere and in every corner of this beautiful planet. They have no significant other in their lives because of feckless children, bereavement, depression, or were on a path where they never got around to having a partner in their lives because of shyness or believing that someone was going to get a share in their land. In the end the lonely persons were to be the only ones on that patch of green, a single person living a life now of regret.

There are a myriad of other reasons why this is so as well and scribes have spoken about it for centuries and will continue to do so as I do now. To be truly lonely can be comparable to the loneliness of a polar bear adrift in a vast soulless ocean where it is only him or her alone and always will be.  


It can be destroying in any countryside even more so for any person who is without the benefit or the distraction of a busy city life, and where the beautiful scenery is just not enough anymore; it can also lead to early illness and an earlier death. You may have noticed these almost forgotten people from time to time where ‘All the lonely people where do they all come from’ was so poignantly observed in the Beatle’s song Eleanor Rigby. They are all hidden in plain sight.

Sometimes you might notice them in the check out line of a supermarket, complaining enough just to make conversation. It is often the curmudgeon at the bar giving harsh voice about the young or how it was better in their day. What they are really hoping for, awkwardly so, is the wish that they are interesting enough to you that you will hang around long enough to at least listen a while and see beyond the fact that they talk just a little too much.

It is sometimes supposed that they seem to drink too much when is in fact the only company or friend that they have, as long as they can afford it. What can anyone, other that observe that loneliness is more than a state of mind, do about it? A lot.

If we just take one and preferably two hours a week to visit a person on their own, it will not make a whole lot of difference to our week but mean everything to who you choose to visit. It is as simple as that. You won’t have to try too hard to find out where they are. Even just a few phone calls every week to a person that feels they don't even exist anymore takes a lot less effort and time. For the person on their own to be relevant is to breathe itself and encourages the wish to continue to do so.

If you don't have a lonely person in your life perhaps it is time to find at least one. The local community centre is a good place too start, or the local retirement home, or ask a friend do they know somebody that needs somebody.  Someone always does.

Barry Clifford