Ostomy Memories of Shaking Dust Loose


YESTERDAY I NOTICED that the cover I throw over my grill is getting old and brittle, like me.  There is a rigidity that has taken over its former suppleness, like mine.  I believe that my loyal spouse gets frustrated at times having to deal with me.  I’m not exactly dogmatic, but I am, shall I say, predisposed.  I should probably give my mind a good shaking, like my porch rug, just to remove some of the dust and detritus that has accumulated, and maybe dance on it a bit.  Then, when you throw in the undeniable reality that I am no longer the sharp-as-a-tack professional that I was in my heyday, dealing with me becomes even more problematic.  But I am philosophical about it.  I have a place to go to read and think.  Sometimes my wife is in the next room, or one of my cats jumps up to lay on my chest, nose to nose, which does make holding a book in front of my face a little harder.  Otherwise, I not only don’t mind being alone with my thoughts, I revel in it.  Twice now I have read the great novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, and in it he says:  “The secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude.”  I believe that he’s right.


Hello HenryM.

Thank you for yet another insightful piece of cogitation.

I sometimes ponder upon the perceptions of loneliness and solitude contrasted.

Here’s a rhyme on the subjects from a while back .

Best wishes



Feeling lonely is inclined

to overwhelm a fragile mind.

For it is so discomforting

and often all encompassing.

We’re even more precarious

because we are gregarious.

We like to be in company 

preferably in harmony.

Some people find, if on their own 

they feel abandoned and alone.

The less our social repertoire

the more intense those feelings are.

Perceiving others keeping jolly

whilst we are steeped in melancholy

might intensify the anguish

so in self-pity we can languish.

It seems incomprehensible

for friends to be dispensable.

So when friends do not come about 

the mind might find it’s like a drought. 

But some fly in the face of trends

they see no need to race for friends.

They have an innate fortitude 

to celebrate some solitude.

They think and meditate a lot

appreciative of what they’ve got.

They’re not undone by anything

for they’re at one with everything.

They do not feel abandonment

whilst looking for enlightenment.

They have a cool, calm acumen.

and as a rule they practice Zen.

                                              B. Withers 2013

Reply to Bill

As your verse recognizes, solitude does not mean loneliness, unless a person has problems living with himself.  If you're comfortable in your own skin, solitude can be a true blessing and, frankly, quite necessary at times.

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Reply to Bill

Henry and Bill have made out a good case for the joys of solitude. I must be suffering from some deep insecurities for I hate being alone. I will seek out company, preferably female, at every opportunity. You may gain some deep insights in your moments of solitude, but you gain a lot from the wisdom of others when you interact with them. I have learned a lot from pub hopping.

Reply to bowsprit

I once had a partner who abhorred being alone.  He was deeply insecure, altho' he hid it well and got his work done as necessary.  I always described him as having clenched hair.  He added to his fear of solitude by drinking heavily and according to his established pattern.  Sadly, he died, an alcoholic, in his Fifties.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

I love my 'alone time' but it can turn into loneliness at times. When I had others living in the house with me that was enough to keep the loneliness at bay. Even if they were off doing their own 'alone time', just having other human beings in the house made a difference. The critters help... having 2 little heart beats (puppy and kitty) in the house is wonderful... but not enough... I do seek out friends/family for more coffee dates and social interactions in general.

Reply to HenryM

Hopefully, I wont meet the same fate as your partner, Henry. Drinking alone is a no-no, the first step in the bottle getting the better of you. One of the plus points, if you can call it that, of the condition we suffer from is that alcohol and it don't mix shielding everyone from problems that the excessive use of alcohol can bring about. See, there is the silver lining behind that dark cloud! Best wishes.


Definitely Being Aloneand Loneliness are different animals . It's nice to get different perspectives . I live alone , no pets , just plants!!I go to my Sisters house for dinner on Sundays so I get my dose of conversation and himan contact . Being alone can get a person too deep in the quicksand of the mind , stuck in the mire of past and future decisions or actions , second guessing things done and things Not done . Getting together with another actual person can wipe the slate clean for a while and Reboot the System . After a while being alone can become a habit and turn a person into a Curmudgeon if other humans are not available or just not wanted . I like being around people more than I like interacting withpeople , being quietly in the company of others is preferable .

Lots of Farmers in the West ofIrelandare unmarried and alone and in our bad weather that can be punishing for many . Lots would head to a Pub for company and have a pint with their far off neighbours , the only people they might see for the whole week . The DUIrules became so strict that even a Sniff of a Pint will now get you arrestedand loneliness has become a big problem for many . Cabs are few and far between in the Countryside so the weekly visit with fellow Farmersis no longer on the menu . In the old days there was always the old dude sitting by the fire puffing on his Pipe and sipping on a Guinness , just enjoying being in the company of others , being alone but for those few hours Not being lonely . The Pubs were for socializing but Not for getting drunk . Going to Church and going to the Pub were the only avenues for socializing in many cases . With the crippling Insurance and legal penalties for DUI( 1/4of a pint of Guinness would possiblyland you in jail and off the road for a couple of years )the lonely Farmers are even worse off . Between the smoking ban and the new Drunk Driving penaltiesmany Country Pubs closed down . It becamesuch a problem that one Cork Politician proposeddifferent DUIrules for some Rural areas ....that went down like a Lead Baloon !!Gaelic Football games have taken up some of the slack but still a lot of Lonely Farmers out in the Wilds of Western Ireland probablydrinking too much at home and alone must have become more of a problem for manyat this point . The current generation is in a much better position to stave off mind-numbing loneliness .



Every now and then a subject crops up that prompts another rhyme on the same issue. This appears to be one such occasion as I have come across another  rhyming cogitation of my own.

Best wishes



When I’m alone my mind’s beset.

And loneliness could be a threat.

But I’m not lonely on my own.

Somehow I like to be alone.

The company that I prefer.

Where loneliness does not occur. 

Is when I feel I’ve been set free.

Without most human company.

I like to be with living things.

To enjoy what nature brings.

I take long walks all on my own.

I have no need for chaperone.  

I don’t feel lonely with my pet.

No better company I’ve met.

And I have spent so many hours.

In pleasant company of flowers.

I don’t feel lonely in the trees.

I don’t feel lonely in the breeze.

And even in the wildest storm.

Nature’s creatures keep me warm. 

I spent my youth on mountain trail.

Alone I would the peaks assail.

The birds, the insects and the sheep.

Were company for me to keep.

You could end up in such a mess.

Coming to terms with loneliness.

It‘s much better now I’m seeing.

It is caused by human beings.

It lifts a weight from off my mind.

To feel I’m not of human kind.

For now I feel both proud and strong.

Because I know I don’t belong.

Do not believe ‘all’ that you’ve read.

For ‘all’ is not how I have said.

I would not want to misconstrue.

There are good people, just like you.

Sometimes I miss your company.

That does not mean that I’m lonely.

For I know when you depart.

You’ll still remain within my heart.

                                   B. Withers 2011

(P37 in: My Colourful Rag-Tag-Bag 2012)


In my search for similar sentiments I have found several more rhymes written in times gone by for people who have 'suffered' from loneliness. There are too many to share them all here but I'll just try one more:

Best wishes



Are you alone when you are lonely?

Are you lonely when you’re alone?

Are you sure you’re warm and homely?

Is ‘self’ your only comfort zone?

Where is your dream, your spiritual home?

What does it mean when you’re all alone?

What do you feel when nobody’s there?

Can life be real with no one to care?

Do you sink on the brink of loneliness? 

Do you shrink from love and tenderness?

When all is still and all are gone

Have you the will to carry on?

Do you enjoy it on your own?

Or is your ploy to mope and moan?

Have friend and foe all taken flight? 

Surely not, that can’t be right.

Are you an independent soul?

Are you resplendent in this role?

Can you hold your head up high?

When others scold and question why.

It’s hard to stay aloof from those.

Who may not choose the road you chose.

Who really cares what path you tread.

When we get there - we’ll all be dead. 

And those who ‘know’ there’s life hereafter.

Can choose to go there that much faster.

                                          B. Withers 2000

P22 in: Constructive Conversations Inversed 2008)


This is a fine piece of writing Henry, on an interesting subject. I've always considered myself lucky that I don't mind being alone. I love the company of others, but also crave my alone time. I have spent periods of my life living alone, and didn't mind it. I have a good friend who cannot stand being alone, and it has caused her a lot of unhappiness. She has been married twice, both times to people she really didn't love, but to her it was preferable to being alone. She has been married to the same man now for over 30 years, and she does not love him and admits that he probably doesn't love her either, but she has decided that it's "enough" that they have a nice lifestyle, travel, live in a nice house, and she feels "secure". This is the compromise she has been willing to make, as she admits she can't imagine being alone. She spends as much time as possible away from home, visiting with her extended family, socializing with friends, joining clubs for outside activities, anything, it seems, to get away from him. He does not treat her well, and I don't mean physically, just that he condescends to her, and is not respectful. I know that she is deeply unhappy. I wonder how many people live lives of "quiet desperation" just because they are not comfortable in their own company?


Reply to Mayoman

That sounds like a very sad situation Eamon, with no easy solution.

Reply to delgrl525

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice

from 'Lyin' Eyes' by the Eagles

Reply to HenryM

One of my favourite songs.

Reply to HenryM

Love that song.

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