The “Lonely Old Man”

2020-01-27 (2)

Ain’t got no woman next to me
I just got this magazine
And what’s on the TV screen
But that’s okay with me – Mr. Bungle

I’ve been thinking about “The Lonely Old Man” myth, and it is a myth, for awhile now. Fear-mongers and dipshits (see above photo) will try and capitalize on men’s fear of being the “Lonely Old Man.”

Got news for you:

We all die alone.

That’s right. We all die alone. The days of dying in your bed, surrounded by your family and loved one’s are over and have been for some time.

My grandfather on my father’s side died in 1995 at the age of 85. He had a major stroke in his sleep and it put him in a coma. The doctor’s all figured he wouldn’t live for more than a day or two at the most, and that he would never come out of the coma. And yet he did. He lived for a few months and he came out of the coma. He was paralyzed on one complete side of his body. He couldn’t see or hear from his left side if I remember correctly. He also couldn’t speak. He could understand you though, and he was aware of what what going on around him.

He lived on and was moved from ICU to a standard room and then was eventually moved to a rehabilitation facility with a high prognosis of being released to live out the rest of his days in his home. My grandmother was 77 at the time and struggled to take care of herself, let alone a man who would never walk again, would live the rest of his days in mute silence for the most part, and would need help with everything. She was terrified of the prospect of having to become a full time caregiver to her husband. She was willing to do it, mind you, but she was terrified nonetheless.

As fate would have it, that scenario never came to pass. My grandfather died in his sleep one night at the rehabilitation facility from complications from pneumonia. He died at the age of 85, and he died alone. No one from friends or family was by his side when he died.

My grandmother died at the age of 98 in 2015. She too died in her sleep and alone in a rest home. No one from family was there at the time that she died.

My grandfather on my mother’s side died in 2004 from complications from a surgery that he had just had. He too died alone in a hospital bed with no one from friends or family surrounding him.

My mother died on September 17, 2018. She too died in a hospital bed, in her sleep. She had a couple of close friends there to witness her passing, but my father and I were not there. She died from complications from chemotherapy from ovarian cancer.

We no longer care for our elderly in our own homes for the most part. Taking care of someone in their final days can be taxing to say the least. Most people do not have the skills or the knowledge to do this task anymore. Long gone are those days, and long gone are the days where you buried your dead in your own backyard.

When my ex-girlfriend decided to end our relationship at the beginning of September of 2018, I was devastated. Not going to lie. For several months afterwards, sleeping alone was tough. In fact, I would say that was one of the hardest things to get used to. Sleeping alone. In my own bed.

But I got used to it. It took some time, but I got there. Now I revel sleeping alone in my own bed. All of it is mine. I can sprawl out in any direction I desire, and I don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone with my movements or on the occasion that I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water.

I still have the occasional “sleepover” once in awhile. Several women have shared my bed and shared the night with me and woke up in the morning with me since my breakup. I still enjoy sleeping alone more though.

My Dad sleeps alone these days as well. If history repeats itself to one degree or another, he’ll most likely die in his sleep and he’ll die alone too. Both he and I are good with that. It is what it is. He struggled initially with sleeping alone after my mother died, much like I did when my ex-girlfriend moved out. He too got over it in time. He enjoys sleeping alone in his bed as well. Nothing and no one to disturb him or vice versa. His girlfriend has her own home and her own bed to sleep in, and that’s the way they both like it.

I’ve met plenty of people over the years that live alone. Many of them choose to not re-enter the dating world. My ex-mother-in-law is a case in point. Her husband died back in 1999, way before I had ever met my now ex-wife, and chose not to get involved with men ever since. As far as I know, she’s still single and still not looking or interested in meeting another man. I imagine she still is enjoying her life, just like she was when I knew her.

I know a few things for myself at this point in my life:

I’ll most likely never remarry again. There’s no point in doing it. The risks and liabilities outweigh the pros and the rewards. Now that doesn’t mean that I won’t have relationships with women, it just means that I don’t think I’ll ever remarry.

Another thing I’ve thought about a lot over the last year is that I’ll probably never have another live-in relationship again. I’ve “played house” twice now, and I’ve received similar outcomes, which means that the common denominator is me. I don’t think I’m cut out for the whole “domesticated” thing. I enjoy my freedom too much to make those sorts of compromises and sacrifices again.

One of my girls and I had that talk the other night. She’s definitely in no hurry to live full time with another man. She raised her kids and she took care of her husband until their relationship ended. She did that for more than twenty years. Now she’s more interested in taking care of herself and doing what she wants. I can’t argue with that. The last thing I want is a woman who tries to “mother” me. I had a mother, thank you, and she was more than enough. I don’t need or want another one.

So the “Lonely Old Man” myth is just that. A myth. I’ve met far too many people who enjoy their lives without someone there to “take care of them.” More often than not, in today’s society, you will end up in a nursing facility, a hospital, or some other “end of life” facility when that time comes.

Your spouse and your children aren’t obligated to take care of you at the end of your life, and they may not have the time, the skills, or the ability to do so when that time comes. Be aware of this, but don’t necessarily be worried about it. Accept it for what it is and enjoy your life.

If anything, the doom-sayers and fear-mongers that preach the “Lonely Old Man” shit are projecting and nothing more. They are the one’s that are afraid of what will happen to them at the end of their lives. They are the one’s who can’t sleep at night, wondering who will be there to take care of them.

I’m not worried about it. I’ve got plans to live my life to it’s fullest.

I may be alone later in life, and even for periods of time right now, at the time of this writing, but I’m not lonely. I haven’t been lonely in a long time.

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