Tag Archives: depression

Bored to Death

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A woman I’ve been acquainted with for about ten years finished up the dishes, put in a load of wash, sat down with her crossword puzzle and died.

She was 61 and hadn’t been sick.

Apparently, the only thing wrong with her was her attitude.  When I asked her survivor husband what he thought had happened, he said “I think she just gave up.”

She may have been depressed, but that’s not how I would’ve described her. She was feisty and funny and cooked dinner every night. Unhappy, however? Maybe just unhappy.

Could being unhappy actually be the reason she died?  I think there’s a good chance it was.  Her dissatisfaction caused her to do things she shouldn’t have and not do the things she should. What I don’t understand is why she was dissatisfied. She was a good wife; they’d been together 40 years. She was a good mom; the boy’s a lawyer for Pete’s sake, with a beautiful doctor wife! But what about her own life?

What happened, I wonder.

I think it was exactly that… she gave up. First, she gave up working and then she gave up volunteering. She gave up traveling, and she even gave up shore vacations.  Of course, that was after she gave up going to the country house. And she had given up gardening a long time ago.

These were her choices. Just like we all have. Every day.

I never realized it before, but for some of us “having a life” may actually be what saves it.

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From my window I can see a pond.

I guess it’s not really a pond. It’s a bioswale where the runoff from the rain fills the retention basin until it can slowly seep into the ground. But, when the water is up, and there are ducks paddling, it’s a pond. It’s surrounded on three sides by a small forest and the little hill around it is high enough to serve for sledding in the snow.

There’s a hawk that circles over the woods occasionally; some doves nest nearby; a swarm of sparrows visits regularly; and every now and then a blue heron tries his luck. Mostly though, gaggles of Canada geese visit to graze the green grass on the slope and float on what water is there. I watch them grazing, a few keeping their heads up on guard while the others eat. Then in turn the others will stand watch until everyone has his fill.

The past few days a single goose has been here by herself. I say “her” because she’s a little slighter in size than most of the geese I see. She grazes alone. She swims alone. She tucks her legs under her and rests alone. A dog-walker came a little close, and she rose up and waddled a few steps, spread her wings in a flurry and settled back down. The puppy proved disinterested and wandered on.

So I wonder about this lone goose. Certainly, she would be safer among her relatives.  Might she be injured? But no, she has flown to the water and landed and swam, so clearly if she wanted, she could leave.  Has the flock left her?  Do geese do that? Abandon one of their own? But again, a gaggle passes over and she doesn’t even honk at them.  She has the grass she needs for grazing, the pond – should she need to move away from danger – and at the rim of the berm, she rests.

Brave goose.

She passes the time in serene surroundings.

Such is the way with wild animals. In uncomplicated nature, they are fulfilled in each moment. Once basic needs are met, they are at ease – creatures with no struggle, no schedule, no worry, no regret. Compelled at times to action, but moving freely, living their lives to the utmost of their natural ability.

And as the last light of day skims the treetops and sets the edge of the hill softly aglow, she lingers, content.

“…therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. ”

Matthew 6:25-34

On Her Own