Full Circle: Empty-nest syndrome, loneliness a fatal combo

Johannesburg – I love the lonely life I am leading. It comes with less pressure, no friends to please and more time to myself.

There is no compromising your identity, no seasonal friends, no collective decisions, no group photographs, and avoidable drama.

But it also has its disadvantages because you have no one to bounce ideas off or a shoulder to cry on.

It requires a mental strength to be alone even if it’s what you want. It can take one in a dark place when one thinks they can disappear and not a soul would notice their absence.

It takes physical strength not to text the guy you had sex with once to get him to come over.

I can’t imagine what happened to celebrated actress Noxolo Maqashalala happening to me, as I too live alone and always worry that I’ve left the iron or stove on, and end up returning to find them off.

There is no one to talk to while you cook, but never underestimate your phone, even if they ignore your calls – which they do.

It has been reported that there was no foul play in Maqashalala’s death.

What I know is that she worked in a stressful and anti-social industry burdened with unemployed artists, and little if any help from the government.

I also know that Maqashalala did not have to die alone. Living alone can be so pathetic especially when you cannot unzip your own dress, are computer illiterate and have no support.

So, we have to support each other and stop giving up on family members. I have animals. I have started reaching out to my neighbours, considering going to church to be a part of a community and seeing a psychologist who can help me with whatever issues I have while keeping me company.

It is also easier to commit suicide when you are alone and unemployed because it is family who make you feel small and useless.

It is them who humiliate you into solitude while they thrive, killing you before your actual death.

We also have to make our friends our family if we have misplaced ours and ensure we call them as often as we want to be called.

It’s fine to be a loner but send an emoji, a greeting, any sign of life, so you are not alone when you need people the most. Let us not forget that people have their own issues and not believe their lives revolve around us but reach out. Looking after vulnerable people is not confined to people who need food parcels, but includes those without love and companionship, so don’t assume people are happy, but ensure.

I have lit a candle for Maqashala and all our recently departed.

But especially for her, as I relate to her loneliness. It is a life of being alone without company for weeks and resorting to social media for company.

I relate to wondering why I act happy and over the top when I am so lonely. Long periods of unemployment at home, empty-nest syndrome and loneliness are a recipe for disaster.

We need to put our pride aside and treat people with respect and dignity, so they don’t run away from the pain and end up dying alone.

Sure, loners want to be alone, but not abandoned. Stop abandoning people at whose funeral you will be wailing. Life can be easy, so stop complicating it.

Kuli Roberts.

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