At The End Of The Day

February 06, 2006

The end of the day is always the hardest part. The activities of the evening have wound down, and you've run out of things with which to avoid the gapping chasm in the middle of your life. Loneliness is like a wraith that flits around the edge of your vision, sometimes there and sometimes not. You tell yourself that if you just keep moving that you'll be okay.

Only you can't out run loneliness, you can't buy things to fill the gaps in your life, and you can't stay busy enough to outlast it either. Because the end of the day always comes, and then it is dark outside and in, and you eventually have to turn off the light and go to sleep. And then, in the darkness, you are truly alone. Images of the last moments you spent with your wife are there inside your memory, waiting for the blank screen, hidden all evening behind movies or television or online chats with friends, to reappear. And despite every effort you make the first thing you see when your close your eyes is the last time you saw her. The last time you saw her alive, and the last time you saw her forever. When she was dead.

Loneliness is a thief that steals away your life. Not by taking, oh no. By making you take it from yourself. In trying to avoid loneliness you have changed your habits, altered your lifestyle. Activities you shared with your wife are too painful at times to contemplate. So you run away from all that you've known towards that which you don't want. You steal your own life to appease loneliness only to find it waiting for you in the dark, night after night.

Once upon a time you were somebody. You had a life that was by and large satisfying. It was filled with touchstones that brought you comfort and joy. This life was shared with your wife, her presence filled it with warmth and color. Now she is gone and with her the warmth. And with her the color. And all that is left is loneliness and depression.

It has been 119 days, 17 weeks, a lifetime since the sun set, never to rise the same way ever again. There are thousands of days, hundreds of weeks, tens of years that are now empty. You wonder if you'll ever be able to fill them.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.