We were driving home from an errand to the hardware store after having visited three different kennels in a last minute attempt to find a safe place to house our dog in a few days when the thought struck me.
“Isolation is expensive.”
In so many ways.
Topping my list at present is needing to board my sweet dog just days before our vacation. We had never had to board her before. Friends who lived nearby had always taken her in. Their dog loved having ours come for a visit. Our friends loved having her too, so they claimed.
But suddenly - not this time. It wasn’t that they were going to be gone or had too much going on or really any other reason. They were in town – but just refused. Of course, it is possible that we have taken them for granted – probable even. But the refusal had little to do with not wanting to watch our dog, really. My husband was best friends with this man. But this “friend” was in one of his moods where he was perpetually angry, cut off all communication with my husband, ignored his calls or texts, etc. These moods occurred periodically and could last for months. Then, suddenly, as if nothing had ever happened, all was back to normal. He’d drop by for a visit or Mike would go over for a drink. No explanation, no apology.
Now, I found myself scrambling. The kennels we saw, ones which came highly recommended, were depressing and prison-like… and expensive. I am having to pay hundreds of dollars – which we can ill afford – to ask strangers to care for my dog because we have no one to turn to.
Why not just ask another friend or family member to help out?
We have no family here. All our family is spread out across the country. Layer one of our isolation. We have lived this way for over 20 years. We have raised our family this way. And, we have paid the price. Our marriage has suffered. Our family has suffered. We have never left the kids to go on even a short trip together. We don’t do date nights…not even now when they are old enough to not need a sitter. Lack of family nearby as a support system has been devastating for us. The isolation has cost us.
Here is where most couples would then turn to friends as their support base.
But, we have none. Layer two of isolation.
The family mentioned earlier are old friends of ours but we never socialize as couples. We rarely see each other outside of the two husbands getting together. Beyond them, however, we have no one.
No church family. No close friends from work. No one calling us up to ask us to do something together. No coffee dates. No phone calls. No invitations. No shoulder to cry on. No listening ear. No one to laugh with. No one to help. No one to care.
How and why it came to be this way is not the point here – I have spent a lifetime trying to answer that question anyway.
Isolation is expensive.
Right now it is hitting my pocketbook.
But it has robbed me of a social life. It has eroded my marriage. It has stripped joy from life at times. It has cost me time and energy.
And, I have paid – in cash, in loneliness, in despair, in tears, in anger, in inconvenience, in lost opportunities, in wasted time.
Isolation has cost me. I wish I could say I am done paying the price.