Sunday, November 14, 2010

Passing on the Path

"It's a beautiful day for a walk in the woods," the grandmotherly type woman said to me as we passed on the path, she with her family, me on my own. I replied that it was a bit chilly and blustery.

These past months of walking have resulted in me talking to those I pass. There was once a middle-aged guy who was sitting next to me in the picnic area eating a lunch of Popeye's Chicken while I knit. We chatted a while. I always make eye contact with everyone and smile. A lot of people walk their dogs. I remember my husband informing me when we rode the bike trails together that the rule of courtesy is to always acknowledge a fellow traveler on the path.

In a way, these walks have helped my social isolation. My social skills feel rusty much of the time. Yes, I talk the odd few words with store clerks and hellos to people I know at school affairs. But long, deep, heart felt one-on-ones are few and far between. Sometimes I think that I am losing my conversational ability. I know in the end, these brief encounters don't make up for the significant connections we humans need to have with others. But they count for something.

It is also the same way with hugs. Hugs are nice and meaningful in and of themselves. But what I really miss is the sense of connection I had with my husband, another human being. When I hugged him there was something almost sacred because of our commitment to one another, our being married and the fact that we knew each other so well. A hug among those who love deeply or are dear friends has more meaning than getting a massage to simply feel someone touching you.

I miss the physical contact and the intimate conversations. Brief hugs in greeting and brief nods of hello along the wooded path are only fill-ins for the deeper intimacy I hope someday to find again. I feel sad knowing that in the meantime there is something greater out there that I have experienced and to realize that there is nothing that can take the place of it. I won't pretend that my hellos on the path are more than they are or that I long for something more sacred. I guess it is like longing for a steak and having to settle for chicken. There remains a sense of unrest and lack of fulfillment.


  1. I feel a heartfelt connection when you respond to my posts, and I'm glad you write this blog. Many (most) old friendships failed as I labored with my late husband's illness, then death, then transformation into a single woman. I build new friendships excruciatingly slowly, due to my introversion. So ditto to everything you've written. I'm trying to brainstorm about where to converse regularly with people of common artistic interest without spending money taking classes. I tried groups and found that people's sporadic attendance made the investment of my time and often money unattractive. I did make a great friend going to Starbucks regularly, but since he's a married guy, I enjoy our long conversations there only when I run into him.

    I do now have a guy pursuing me who has thus far held my interest (5 weeks). The sacred hugs you speak of are a long way off if at all, but his company has boosted my spirits.

  2. Flo - So glad to hear from you this a.m.! I was thinking about what to post about today and the topic is going to be friendship! I am happy for you that there is a guy in pursuit - no guys seem interested me in at all and I start to get very down about that because I am a pretty cute, nice, decent gal and very loving and kind besides - a good catch minus my poverty. Oh, well! I'll drop you another note soon.

  3. it's interesting that you should post about those hugs that we all miss from the one we were committed to and loved so dearly. My post was very simple on this same day -- it captured what you have stated. Amazing that we can be thinking the same thing at the same time!

  4. I am a widow too. I can relate to everything you have written in your blog posts. I am so glad to have found your blog! I realize that I am not alone in all the things I feel. After four years, time has not made life easier for me. I have two teenage boys too - 14 and 16. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings so candidly.

  5. Pixiegill - Thank you for reading and commenting. I think there is a misnomer that time heals all wounds and sometimes that just doesn't happen. Good luck to you and your boys.

  6. Hi: I read your comment on my "I Miss This" post and yes, I can see your point that it may have been misconstrued as only about getting A hug. My intent was exactly as you stated that I miss the intimate hug that only your one and only could give. I took out the second part of my post. I think the one picture says it all for me. Thanks for your input - we are on the same page!