It’s been seven years. I can still feel the numbness that flooded my body as I sat in the front row at the church during my mother’s funeral. As we all bowed our heads in prayer, I can remember looking down at my hand, being held by Rick’s hand, and the voice in my head telling me…
Susan, you are all alone, even in this crowded room, surrounded by family and friends. You will always be alone.
All alone. That was the story I had been telling myself ever since we moved to Illinois two years prior to my mother’s death. I was alone because my new employer actively discouraged socialization between employees. I was alone because all the friends of my youth had their established friendships that had no space for me. I was alone because I refused to “find a church”, which is the de facto source of friendships in the Midwest. I was alone because every weekend was devoted to spending time with my ill parents, no matter how strained our relationship was. My lonesomeness seemed destined. I was a victim. It was an unchangeable fact.
I completely believed the ‘lie of lonesomeness’ created by my ego. Seven years ago, it didn’t seem to be a lie. It was my story. It was my truth. But now, through the perspective of time, I see it for what it was. A lie.
I am not alone. And I have the Christmas card list to prove it!
Writing out my Christmas cards the day after my mother’s death anniversary was a cathartic experience. I decided to ditch the default mailing list and instead go through my 2015 calendar on my iPhone to see who to send cards to. Cards were sent to:
- Friends who hung out on my porch
- Friends whom I met for coffee
- Friends who bought me a round (or two)
- Friends who stayed in our guest bedroom
- Friend in whose guest bedroom we stayed in
- Friends we traveled with
- Friend who invited me into their home
- Friends who sat around our dining room table
- Friends who cried with me
- Friends that were kind
- Friends who sang and danced and laughed with me
- Friend who have inspired me
- Friends who have volunteered alongside me
- Friends who have pushed me
- Friends who told me secrets
- Friends who’s podcast I listen to every week (whom I’ve never really met, yet I still mailed a card)
- Friends who’s books I’ve read this last year (ditto)
The revelation of the breadth and depth of my friends was so good for my soul. The list kept growing. I smiled as I recalled connections I made in the last 12 months. I choked back tears as the evidence kept mounting…I am not alone.