The following tells two different tales of loneliness. The first from Evermore Brand Guardian, Rebecca Johnston and the second from Evermore founder, Sara Mckee. We share these stories because Evermore, and what it stands for is, more than just a business to us – it’s personal.
I’m based in Mandurah, Western Australia – nearly 15,000km from Evermore’s headquarters in Cheshire – which means I work from home. I can go a whole day without talking to anyone and only have Josh the Beagle for company, unless I have a Skype call with Sara or my parents pop in to visit.
Thankfully I live with my partner, Brendan, so I always know that there will be someone to chat to at the end of the day. That is until recently when Brendan flew to the Pilbara (similar to flying from England to Ireland) for nearly two weeks. We are rarely apart so those two weeks were an interesting experience for me.
Firstly, I noticed I talked to myself…a lot. Secondly, the house felt incredibly quiet and empty at night. Thirdly, despite the fact I live in a beautiful location and revel in the sunshine, blue skies and sparkling ocean, I still felt lonely.
I didn’t have Brendan to share the cooking (or microwaving in our case) with, or argue the merits of Australian versus British TV, or laugh over the silly things the dog had done that day. We spoke every night but it wasn’t the same as having him with me and the sense of loneliness was quite disturbing. It invaded my thoughts and had the capacity to make me feel physically sick.
Just writing about it causes my chest to tighten and heart to clench. Yet, I’m lucky. I’m still healthy and active so I can go to the gym, visit my parents or have dinner with friends. And this experience only lasted two weeks. Brendan came home and that pervasive feeling of loneliness disappeared.
But not everyone is that lucky. I know there are people who are sitting at home who don’t have anybody to talk to or to give them comfort. They might not have any family or friends left, or they might have health problems which make it difficult to leave the house.
It’s for these people that I decided to work for Evermore – to help others enjoy the same companionship and meaningful relationships that I do. Because life simply feels hollow without it.
Some of us choose to live alone, but it was thrust upon me with no warning when my husband took his own life. Hector (my trusty hound) and I have been working on what our new normal looks like for nearly 3-years now and you’d think it would get easier. In many ways it seems harder. As I’m reasonably fit and well I could live for years to come and that stretch seems interminable.
A friend suggested that I stop having the monthly calendar on my kitchen wall to avoid a visual expression of the empty days ahead….after all Stephen arranged our social life. But I liked the habit and the reference point, so now it’s full of work commitments. It’s funny how I can think out 3, 5 and 10-years in business life and still struggle with next month on a personal level.
What if I didn’t have such a busy working life with all the social interaction that goes with it? And without Hector home life would be very bleak and lonely. I have all the gadgets that switch on lights and radios so that when I open the front door it’s not dark and oppressive. And I have a fantastic welcome of unconditional love and excitement from Hector. It still cannot replace the intimacy and warmth of walking into your home that you share with your life partner.
So in creating a new normal that makes me feel good I know I want to make that happen for lots of people in my position…many of whom are a lot older and don’t have the active work life that I enjoy. That’s what Rebecca, John and I are building at Evermore. A family community where we can all live happier for longer with great company, our independence and nourishment for body and soul. Oh, and Hector and Josh will be welcome too!