Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Lonely Hearts

Jackie K. Cooper


My wife has been in St Petersburg, Florida, this past week visiting her mother. She went because her mother wasn’t feeling well, but then spent a few extra days just to be with her. Since Terry’s dad died last year, she tries to go visit her mother as often as she can. The main problem my mother-in-law is having coping with her husband’s death is the loneliness. She says no one knows what loneliness of this type is like until they go through it.

While Terry was gone I got lonesome but it was nothing compared to what I know her mother is going through. I could always talk with Terry by phone and I always knew the separation had a limit. The loneliness Terry’s mother is going through just goes on and on.

We have asked her mother to move up to Perry, but she doesn’t want to leave her home. She says that any time she is away, the house “pulls” her back. I guess she is referring to the pull of memories, and I can understand that feeling.

After my mother died I remember being so lonesome for her that I didn’t think I could stand it. There was a void in my heart, an emptiness I couldn’t fill. I tried to explain to people how I felt but mere words couldn’t do it. The closest I could come was to say I felt homesick for her.

Maybe that is that is the best way to describe loneliness. It is homesickness at its worst. There are places that our hearts call home; places where we can relax and be ourselves and feel completely loved and wanted. When we lose one of these places we become homesick for it. We want it back.

I watched a video on “You Tube” the other day. I don’t know if you have seen it but it is about two men and the lion cub they raised as a pet. When the lion grew up it became too large to keep as a pet so the men took it to Africa and released it into the wild. A year or so later they were so homesick for this lion, which they had named Christian, they contacted people in Africa and asked if anyone knew where Christian was.

They were told he had become the head of his own pride and that he was completely at home in the wild. They were told it would not be a good idea to try to find and see him as he was now a wild animal. But the heart knows what the heart knows and these two men went to Africa anyway and looked for the lion.

One day they found him and when he saw them he exploded with joy. I mean you can see it in the video of the meeting. The lion is overjoyed and jumps up on the two men and licks them and seems to embrace them. It is a reunion like you have never seen.

Is this a true story or is it a doctored videotape? don’t know. More importantly I don’t care. It is the essence of the film that I want to believe, and I do. I think the bond of love lives within us and when it is severed there is loneliness and homesickness. A rejoining of that bond is a cause for celebration.

We need to be more accessible to those we love. The only thing that fills a void of lost love is more love. If you can help someone just by loving them then do it. There is nothing worse than being lonely, and there are way to many lonely people in our world today.

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Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. His short stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio. He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for various events. Cooper has four books: Journey of a Gentle Southern Man, Chances and Choices, Halfway Home, and The Bookbinder.

Visit his website, or email Jackie.

© Jackie K. Cooper

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2008