A Whisper to Solitude

 In Grief

Hello solitude.

You scared me when I first met you. My grief insisted upon your presence. You were so quiet. So empty. I didn’t want to be your friend. I wanted you to go

my beach chair  Ocean City, NJ August 2015

my beach chair
Ocean City, NJ August 2015

away and never come back. I didn’t understand your purpose. I hated the circumstances.

It has been 22 years since your first memorable visit after the death of my dear husband David. You have continued to show up and sit by me. I am getting used to you. Your gentle whispers resonate in my soul. I am not unnerved when I watch the day’s shadow grow longer as I sit alone. We are starting to get along.


When you first barged in, I tried to shut you out. Closing my eyes only made it worse. But then I reluctantly accepted the opportunity to better understand myself. I am glad I did. I felt my renewed strength. If I were a tree I think I would have added four new rings by now. I believe I can do just about anything, if I want to.

Solitude, you will probably follow me from now on. I suspect there will be some days when your visit will be longer and maybe not as welcome. But the door has been opened and there will always be a chair waiting. I will allow you to dance a slow waltz with me on a quiet evening. We can glide side by side without music, yet stay in step.

But you need to know that I have a new partner, so I don’t have to always sit solo. I have choices. I can kick up my heels and let him twirl me. I can sit next to him in the still of the night and listen to his deep breaths poke holes in the veil of darkness. I can reach for his hand. Or I can be comfortable alone and learn more about myself.

It is up to me.

This summer I spent six weeks at the beach. My dear friend the ocean invigorated my spirit. It inspired me on my long walks along the shoreline.

So solitude,  here is my whisper to you.

last vacation day Ocean City, NJ August 2015

last vacation day
Ocean City, NJ
August 2015


Ode to Solitude            


First it backhands with a crash.

Then its foamy fingers splay on the sand reaching for traces of yesterday.

Gutted horseshoe crabs.

Broken shells.

Tangled seaweed left behind by high tide.

I love my solitary morning seaside walk. I empty the darkness from my head.

My feet gouge the wet sand.

The gulls are disinterested. They look at me sideways with indifference. Hah! I know their bodies are frail. I learned in science class that their bones are hollow. Their ample tufts of black and white plumage don’t fool me.

The salty waves sparkle in the sunlight and dilute my doubts.

Last night’s unsettling dreams drift away with the distant windjammer. Its rainbow sail waves goodbye.

Be careful.

I am dangerously enjoying the solitude.

(Ocean City, New Jersey Summer of 2015)

Have you had an encounter with solitude?  How did it go?

I would love to hear your experience so feel free to share. We are not alone when we share.





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  • Elaine Mansfield

    Beautiful post. Thank you. Beautiful solitude (and sometimes sad solitude). You don’t have a FB share button on your blog down with your other share buttons. That isn’t hard to add, but it makes it easier and more inviting to share a post.Keep kayaking.

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