Loneliness

“The quality of an individual’s life can really only be measured by that person. It is very easy to assume that living with illness becomes a burden, yet the elderly often accept their physical limitations, a price worth paying for living longer. Loneliness, many tell us, is a far harder burden than ill health, and this is a sadness hidden in plain sight, a modern epidemic.”. p302, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix.

A “sadness hidden in plain sight”

I tend to self-isolate.

Routines, chores, work, often fill my days but are a poor substitute for human contact..

I blame my lifestyle somewhat on the pandemic.

I also blame my nature. I am an introvert.

Reading, writing and drawing make me happy.

I feel out of sorts if I don’t make time for these solitary activities.

I like my own company. **

The Golden Mean Meets the Checklist

Yet, I do like and need people. I love talking and sharing ideas and experiences.

I know that I operate better when I have a routine and a system.

Left to my own devices, I will grab a book rather than call a friend for a walk.

So to help me connect more, I compiled a checklist of easy “people activities”, virtual and in-person.

Easy Ways to Connect

  1. Visit the reading room at the library. I can read in solitude with others. Passive, but I am with people!
  2. Attend events at my church, adult center, library, gym.
  3. Participate in local VILLAGES* activities (TED talks, no-guilt book club, happy hour, walking groups).
  4. Call friends for walking dates.
  5. Schedule video chats with friends.
  6. ZOOM with my Fab Four friends every week
  7. Participate in classes and events at the Adult Center, Parks & Rec, local colleges, the art museum
  8. Invite friends for dinner, tea or happy hour.
  9. Connect more with my wonderful WordPress buddies, that means you!

Of course, in addition to myself, I must think of and respond to the needs of others especially lonely elders. Fortunately, that task is made easier by the many service, religious, and government organizations that provide a framework for interacting with seniors.

“How  we deal with the most vulnerable members of our society is a true test of our values. Having accepted their contribution to the public good during their working lives, how should we support these weary elders? How do we enable them to experience satisfaction and self-worth, not in return for making a contribution, but simply for being their unique selves?” p303, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix.

*Villages or the Village Movement which supports seniors aging in place.

**Today as I write this, there are workers in my home going in and out of the front door and up and down the stairs. My house is in disarray. They are installing new carpet on two levels of the house. Long overdue! No solitude today or tomorrow!

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva, http://www.pexels.com. I chose it because I like the idea of the woman opening her door with a welcoming smile.

Glad I made the effort…

I forced myself to go for a walk in the cold drizzle.

This was my reward.

It’s hard to go outside when the weather is cold and rain is falling.

I always feel better when I do…both mentally and physically.

Always gotta make the effort.

My little tree

For the past several weeks, I have taken a few minutes, now and then throughout my day, to observe the little tree outside my window. 

At the beginning there were only bare limbs jutting out from the small trunk. 

Then tiny buds appeared, followed by tiny leaves.It is still mostly barren with little buds still appearing.

I have to look carefully and slowly to see the changes that have occurred in the past day or so.

I don’t want it to blossom. 

I don’t want to contemplate that cycle of rebirth and death. 

I want it to stay as it is today with tiny green leaves and mostly bare limbs, full of promise.

A little spirit

A true story.

A five-year old girl grabbed her Dad’s whiskey and tried to gulp it down like the cowboys do in the westerns.

Furious, her Dad yelled, “Don’t spit it out! Swallow it!”

With tears in her eyes, she choked it down, gagging and crying.

Not a nice Dad in my opinion.

The little girl is now a grown woman with grown sons of her own.

She is a great mother.

Her Dad was always tough with his three children.

He was still alive when she told me this story. More than once I witnessed him being mean to his children and grandchildren.

I was not intimidated by him and found the presence of mind not to respond when he tried to bait me.

But when he was mean to my children, I put on my boxing gloves.

I stood up and went over to my children. I took them each by the hand.

I ignored the old man.

I spoke loudly and firmly to my little boys. I told them that he was a bully and that they should ignore him.

Having said that, I glared at the old man. He said nothing.

Even to this day my grown sons will laugh about the time Mom “took on this old man”.

It was a departure from everything I had been taught about treating my elders with respect.

Years later, thinking about his behavior still makes me angry.

My friend never had a good relationship with her father.

She is a wonderful artist and a really kind person.

Neutrality helps the oppressor…


“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” Elie Wiesel

Planes for Ukraine

President Zelensky said it best: “This is not ping pong. This is about human lives.” Stop the politics. Send the planes now. #PlanesforUkraine #StandwithUkraine

Good, decent and necessary

American journalist Dan Rather (@DanRather) tweeted at 4:35 PM on Thu, Mar 24, 2022:


“At this moment of history , America is calling us. Do we have the courage, will we take the time and make the effort to answer… each in our own way but also as part of a national collective for what is good, decent and necessary?”

There but for the grace of God…

Before leaving my warm bed this morning, I turned up my thermostat, turned on my coffee pot and turned on soft music throughout the house.  All of this, thanks to my smartphone and smart home.  

Continue reading “There but for the grace of God…”

March 15th

Hello my friends,

Just a friendly reminder to be careful today.

Don’t go to the forum!

Afterall, it is the Ides of March!

Talk soon…I hope! 🙂

~Lori

On Illness and Dying

“People are not limited so much by their illness as by their attitude to  it. The illness may present physical challenges, but the emotional challenge is often far more important. Our human spirit may stumble as the path ahead appears too daunting, yet  with support and encouragement, our resilience can be re-enabled and used to find creative solutions. We are all individuals, and one person’s plan may not be a good fit for  another who, outwardly at least, appears to be in a similar situation. Enabling people to be architects of  their own solution is key to respecting their dignity. They are only in a new phase of life; they have not abdicated personhood.” *

Excerpt from With the End in Mind: Dying,  Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix, MD,author, palliative care doctor for 30 years and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) practitioner.

Why this book?

I heard Dr. Mannix on a CBC podcast ** and knew that I had to read her book.  Listening to her on the podcast and reading her book make me wish that I could sit down and talk with her in person. She seems kind and wise.

Instead, I read a chapter every morning. Her writing gives me much to think about as I recall deaths of my loved ones and contemplate the deaths that I will encounter in my family, friends, neighbors, and, of course, myself.

Some might think that reading about deaths would be depressing. Actually, I find it comforting. It gives me a framework for thinking and talking about the inevitable. ~Lori

*….They are only in a new phase of life; they have not abdicated personhood.” When my Husband was dying from cancer, he commented more than once, “I am still here!” He hated when his loved ones (including me) tried to shield him. He worked until about a week before he died…from his hospital bed. He was as active and engaged as his illness permitted until the end.

**”White Coat, Black Art” and “The Dose” CBC podcasts with Dr. Brian Goldman.