Dear Miriam,

I would like to share my story with your readers while looking for a solution for my problems.

I had a difficult childhood. Later on in life I met a lady and got married, but the day she got the ring on her finger, she turned out to be a completely different person. We started a family, but I always looked after the children while she did whatever she wanted. Then after years she walked out, leaving me with the children.

I put everything I had into the family and the farm. They are in college/working and I see very little of them. I feel lost and lonely at the loss of my family. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. None of them are interested in the farm. I’m left with nothing in my life, only hurt and pain. I lost interest in the farm and living. I do not know where to turn. It seems my life has been a complete waste. Is there anyone out there that went through the same scenario and how did they turn their life around?

Lonely Farmer

Dear Lonely Farmer,

Thank you for your letter. I know you’re hoping to connect with other readers who have been in this situation, and I will be happy to print any replies I receive. But I’d just like to share my own tuppence worth, if helpful.

I’m sorry you had a difficult childhood, which has left its own scars. I imagine you hoped to reclaim a little of that lost happiness when you started your own family. Obviously, things did not work out as planned with your marriage; but one thing that is clear is that you are an excellent father, who always put his children first. Be under no illusion that they don’t know that. Yes, they are now pre-occupied with living their own lives, as young people will, and of course, this is lonely. If you are comfortable, you could tell your children how you feel, in the sense that you miss them and would like to be more connected; even if it’s just more regular phone contact during these Level 5 restrictions. But it is not fair on yourself to say that your life has “been a complete waste”. It’s the opposite. You have given your children everything. It’s time to look after yourself.

It’s natural to seek fulfilment from the people or things around us. But ultimately, it needs to start from within. I think you need to look at this period as a time for new opportunities. That could be something as simple as taking up a new hobby that would get you out of the house/farm for a break and meeting people; it could even be looking towards another relationship in the future. So much is still possible.

But I think a great start would be to talk to your GP about your low mood at present and ask if he/she could refer you to somebody who might be able to support you through counselling. It’s amazing how it helps to simply talk in confidence about how we are feeling, and perhaps set little goals. You could also consider connecting with organisations like that run a free helpline on 1800-80-48-48 if you ever feel that you just need to connect with somebody.

Again, I will be happy to print any useful advice from our readers, but I think you have taken a huge step in writing this letter, and you should be so proud of yourself. The next step will be easier. And it will be worth it.

A reader writes

Dear Miriam,

I am writing in relation to a letter that you published in Irish Country Living dated 11 October (“Was my son’s girlfriend passing silent judgement?”)

I must say that because of COVID-19, I would bring my own towels also if staying away. I would not expect someone else to wash my towels at the present time. We all have to take precautions. Hopefully this gives the writer some additional insight.

Cork Reader CL

Hi Miriam,

I would encourage Mayo reader not to take offense to the non-use of the towels. If we visit friends, we always bring our own so as not to use the good guest ones and also to save our host washing etc. The only difference being we say nothing. I am sure your son’s girlfriend would be mortified if she knew he handed them back. It’s more important that they both felt welcome and you have formed a good relationship.

Leinster reader

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