It was late. A band was still playing but I was the only one on the dance floor. In between songs I would ran about the room, collecting cups and plates, throwing away trash. Almost everyone who was still there was actually on stage, except maybe Odette who was fast asleep on the couch. It was a good evening.

And yet it was a complex evening for me too. As it wound down I felt myself grow grouchier. Sure I was touched by the magic but I was tired, my body ached from two days of cooking and a full night of dancing. The refreshments had left me a little fuzzy too and I found myself being impatient, snappy and downright grumpy.

But there was another reason too. Even in the swirl, as I packed off Max with neighbors and sent him off to a sleepover, even as I danced with one friend and then another, a feeling bubbled up from a place deep inside. I couldn’t name it then–I didn’t have the perspective to be able to do it. It felt so dissonant compared to the rest of the evening. But now, as it lingers I can call it by name. Loneliness.

It is such an odd thing to feel lonely in the midst of my beautiful community. But it happens from time to time. It is the moment when I realize that I am raising my child alone–without the one person who loves him as much as I do. It happens sometimes when I am dropping him off at school, or when I am wrapping Christmas presents. It is the moment when I so desperately need to be seen for who I am and I find that no one quite gets it (at least the way Juan would try). It is the moment when I am dancing and realize I have no partner. On most days my community stands in so well–loving Max, helping me keep it all together, being a place where we can laugh, and chat and share–but there are just some roles that they cannot fill. But still it is so strange and uncomfortable to be in a room the people who love you best and to feel so damn alone.

Odette and I talk a lot about this feeling. These days 95% of the time we can hold it together, but sometimes, the smallest thing–a snide comment from a friend, a misunderstanding, a disappointment can open up the whole damn pandora’s box of emotion and suddenly everything seems so utterly complicated and sad. Suddenly there is only one factor that matters. I am alone. And I don’t know how I am going to keep doing it by myself.  But I do…and I will.

Tomorrow I will wake up and the feeling will have dissipated. The sun will rise, sweet sweet sleep will cradle me. I will realize that I am only alone in a few things and yes, we all feel alone from time to time–even in the midst of a near perfect marriage. I will wander to the mirror, look with love upon a woman, strong–if not entirely always secure and then turn and do what needs to happen next. And love will carry us after all. It usually does.

9 Responses to “When the Party’s Over”

  1. jen lemen Says:

    i hear you, meg. even though the night was magic and i (theoretically, at least) have a partner, i was very aware of how much i feel alone in the romantic sense of the word. you were grumpy at the end, while i was grumpy at the beginning. :) oh well. what was that phrase–true fearless love? maybe we’ll both get it someday. :)

  2. Jena Says:

    Loneliness. Such a poignant word, pregnant with itself.

    The other thing that occurs to me is that naturally, you would let down after so much exertion, effort, giving – and in the settling, wish someone were there to take care of YOU.

    That’s why we’re here.

    xo Jena

  3. maggie, dammit Says:

    Hugs to you, girl. Hugs to you.

  4. Meg Says:

    Thank you wonderful women for leaving comments to soothe my lonely heart. Its true that the sun rose this am and my spirits somewhat with it–Its remarkable how that always happens. But I will always take a hug from the remarkable Maggie! And Jena–you are right, the adrenaline drop can be a triggering factor here. And Jen, dear Jen, of course we will know it, this fearless true love–I know as surely as I know my own name.

  5. bella Says:

    Meg,
    This got me right in the gut.
    Our lives are in many ways very, very different. And yet reading this, I wondered how you found a way to speak my own experience, especially the last couple of weeks.
    I often feel like I want more than others, that my desire for relationship, connection, to see and be seen and love fully, is somehow too much, more than what most have time or interest for. And it aches inside, and in moments feels insecure. And it can happen, this feeling, when I am in the midst of those I love most. Strange and true and human.
    Maybe what surprises me most is what you said at the end, that it does pass, that it does not devour, that it is ok to feel it and feel it fully and know that the love in me is bigger, big enough even to hold the loneliness.
    I cannot thank you enough for writing this, voicing this, with such grace and courage. the timing was poignant. I am grateful to be here, peeking into your world, holding your words, be reminded we are not alone.
    love to you.

  6. tracey Says:

    meg, such a brave post!
    your words are reflecting some recent (and recurring) feelings I have as well.
    http://maypapers.blogspot.com/2008/04/losing-sight-of-love.html
    thankfully, you are right…and it’s what I came to at the end of my post…love does carry us.
    thinking of you.

  7. Another Meg Says:

    I know that sense of an emotion bubbling up like that, and not being able to articulate it at first. Although for me, it isn’t usually loneliness. It’s what I call my tiny heartbreak moments, and they happen when I watch my oldest son’s limp left arm, physical evidence of the stroke he had two years ago. Most of the time, things are normal, as in I want to kick his sarcastic middle-school butt, or have to deal with the frustration of him not doing his homework, but maybe once every day or two, my throat catches and I am reminded that neither he nor we will ever be the same again. And, as you say, then it passes and we move on, because really, what choice do we have but to keep on going.

    It’s a long story and there’s not enough distance yet between me and it for me to be able to blog about it, but know that it profoundly affects me in many ways, some of which I’m sure I”ve yet to discover.

  8. kat Says:

    you have such a beautiful soul,meg. such a way with words. i found your site not long ago and have spent many an afternoon inviting myself along on your journey. i loved this post because its so honest and you were able to say it so perfectly for so many of us. thank you.

  9. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    Oh my Meg, I do know that feeling so very well as you well know. I know it passes but my heart aches that you had to feel it again. Part of it will definitely have been the letting down process after such a big build up, part of it is because we are in fact alone and there isn’t anyone at the end of each night to kiss us tenderly, hold us and tell us everything will be alright. It is scary being responsible for the little person we love most in the world and sometimes that feels lonely too. I understand my friend and I know that one day in the not to distant future, that feeling will be but a memory. You will find someone so special because you are…Love you my soul sister, talk soon xxx