I think it is more like emptiness. So right there and then I have covered half the day, so even if I do not have any plans to go out for the rest of the day, the spiritual experience and the contact with people gives me a lift. That even if that kind of empty feeling comes along and I feel lonely, later in the day; I have built the foundation in the morning for my day. (Line 103-108 of 1st interview).
The story of Vicky. Vicky selects a garden of flowers as a metaphor. She feels that flowers symbolize happiness and are the colors of life. However, she admits a garden of flowers also symbolizes the existence of resentment in her. The reason is that she longs to have a cheerful life. Vicky with her gentle voice, allows the interview to flow very well. Vicky elaborates that a garden of flowers always brightens her mood and makes her cheerful and happy. She was comfortable exploring each question and confidently answered questions posed to her.
Vicky is a 75-year-old retired clerk who is currently living alone in her apartment. Due to her divorce, she has been living independently for 17 years. She mentions that she “was married but I never had children.” She explains, “That was a disappointment and that makes me feel sad, that I do not have that in my life.”
Vicky describes her experience of loneliness from the lived experience category of lived time and lived other. She realizes that at this stage of her life and after her retirement, she longs to make herself occupied with work and to be with others. She describes her situation of being non-occupied as a reason for her loneliness. She explains further, “I guess it is a day when I do not have any plans. It makes me lonely.” From this testimony, Vicky has achieved a rationalization about her time of her life when she broke a certain routine (her work experience), which enhanced her loneliness from that point onward.
Vicky’s excerpt shows her description of loneliness as being more like emptiness. She describes it in relation to contact with others, and her spiritual belief becomes the foundation for her ability to cope with this loneliness. The existential category of lived other identifies her loneliness situation, due to the fact that she expresses the importance of personal contact in order to feel complete.
According to Vicky, being alone and having nothing to do have gradually made her conscious of the existence of loneliness in her life. The fact remains that being alone, however, does not necessarily lead to loneliness, but in Vicky’s case she has clarified the fact that alone and lonely are synonymous; leading to the same result; emptiness. She describes her feelings of being alone as those of emptiness because of not having others presently in her life. She describes, “I think what I mean by empty is, I am not going to see anyone, and no one is coming to see me.”