The anti-dote to

Loneliness linked with introspection linked with sadness. I’m sure you’ve been there. If you haven’t, what’s your secret?

Because I work from home, I am often a lone ranger. Most of the time, I like it that way. But sometimes you get tired of your own company and worryingly excited about Jeremy Vine- my lunchtime date. I even talk to him. (Don’t tell anyone that.)

A few years ago when the elderly man across from us died, I called him ‘my only friend’. Why? I used to see him taking his bin out every week. I only actually spoke to him in the weeks before he died and found out what he actually did with his life at his funeral. Shame on me.

We’ve moved house now and have neighbours I actually speak to. But not enough. When the kids come home I feel like I’m stepping out of a vacuum into the real world.

Two years ago, I found a way to get out of the house. Something to meet eyes with. A chance to hear my voice. And here she is:

This is Hazel. She drives me nuts (pun), wears me out, dirties my clean floors, eats my expensive sunglasses, jumps on people, runs out the park gate. But she’s always there. When I cough, she comes over to check I’m ok. When I’m cold, she lies against me and warms me up. When I’m struggling on the walk home, she stops and waits until I’m ready to keep going. When the children are raging about something, one stroke of Hazel and the tempers diffuse. When I’m crying, her eyes show me she knows life can be hard sometimes.

Since Hazel, I’m only half alone. And I’m so thankful for her.

I hope you have something more than the voice on the radio, or a neighbour you vaguely know, to keep you company.

I hope you have an antidote to loneliness, just like me.

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