Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove

“Lonesome Dove” color pencil on paper, 2018


The title fits the image. The lonesome dove, seemingly alone, abandoned and ready to give up where it sits, melting into the pole itself, becoming a wooden sculpture instead of a live bird, free to fly away at any point.

Lonesome Dove also happens to be the title of one of my favorite books ,by Larry McMurtry. I stumbled across this book when someone had left it in the kitchen at my old job, along with other giveaways. I picked this one up as I was eating my lunch and loved it from the first sentence.

But more than anything, this drawing reminds me of my wife. I think of her as a lonesome dove, a beautiful bird who is yet to truly spread her wings and fly and become the magnificent being I know she has inside her.

Riddled by sickness throughout her life, all her plans have come to a stop at some point. Year after year of health problems followed by other health problems; two cancers, a bicycle accident leading to a blood clot, which ruined her dance career…and now Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella, Brucellosis…and more recently an added diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure.

All combined an incredibly complicated cocktail of crap to deal with, and an expensive one. For over three years now, she has been continuously on a medical treatment and our days are very much determined by her current status and the medication schedule. The financial worries are eating us both up as we struggle to make ends meet (which we are not). The physical stress on her body, continuously being put through all this stress…but the one thing that is the hardest to deal with is the fact that we have become so isolated. Few people who hasn’t gone through this, truly understand the struggle. Over the past couple of years, we have found ourselves more and more isolated, misunderstood and almost outcast. Even close family doesn’t seem to understand, or want to really, fully understand.

We talk about this often and as much as I would like to change it, you can’t force people to want to hang out with you, right?

I know my wife is hanging on by the skin of her teeth and it breaks my heart. This is part of a text she sent me today:

“…I’m experiencing a free fall and it’s getting harder and harder for me to suppress. The loneliness is eating me up from inside. It feels like the loneliness is a cancer that is eating me up inside. I want to have friends and family with me . I have nobody. I shake it off, but it crawls back on me. I’m so broken that I don’t know how anyone will ever be able to put me back together again, David. I hurt so much in my body, my heart and my soul because of people’s repulsion and distance to me, that it feels like I can’t breath. Heartbreakingly lonely. Crushed. Broken…”

I have never suffered from loneliness, I quite like y own company. But then again; I’ve never gone through the kind of battle that she is. I have a good relationship with my father, I have a job to go to where I interact with people all day.

She doesn’t. She is alone from when I leave, until I come back. Nobody calls, nobody knocks on the door. Nobody.

I can only imagine what the constant loneliness, paired with the constant financial stress does to a body that is trying to heal. Nothing good will come out of it.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; you say “cancer” and everybody comes running, everybody understands that cancer is serious. All these things Sara is treating, or trying to treat (we can’t afford half the things we should be doing) are just as serious and left untreated, it will kill her. It might take time, but eventually it would kill her.

So, there’s the dilemma.  Not only is she sick, not only is she struggling to treat all these things, but on top of it she (and I) have to deal with extreme financial stress, loneliness and the ignorance of people not wanting to really, fully understand the struggle. And the more you get ignored, the louder you scream and the louder you scream, the more you are seen as a complete nut job.

And who wants to be with a nut job?

I made this drawing of the lonesome dove and I immediately felt like it was, in a sense, a drawing of my wife; her lonely journey through this life. Close to everything and yet so sealed off from ever truly getting close to anything.


About David Fridlund

Born in Sweden 1974. Moved to Austin TX in 2009 w my wife.
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2 Responses to Lonesome Dove

  1. L L says:

    Love the drawing, so masterful, and stylish. Might not have noticed the dove had you not pointed it out, suppose that makes it more poignant given your writing about your wife.

    Didn’t expect the post to be so heavy! But hey, It’s tough, illness is sometimes not visible, so harder for people to understand.
    Loneliness in a crowded room can also happen, but there is only one medicine for these things, and that’s to try to help others. To get out of ourselves, we must be active in the pursuit of service to others. That’s not a religious thing, just helping others, even if that is helping at the local mission, or whatever. Helping others without mentioning it also! That’s medicine for the soul. Anything, literally anything. Because self-serving or seeking inwards will lead to a prison of the heart, mind and soul. Really painful stuff.

    Thanks for posting the artwork – it’s ace.

    • Thank you, I appreciate it! My wife and I have always been about helping others. Whenever somebody was moving, we’d offer help, my wife is extremely caring and has always gone out of her ways to help others, even when she knew she’d get nothing in return. I’m the same way. As the years have gone by with this treatment, however, we have both grown a lot more cynical and dark. I think we both have given all we have to give and we’re in a time/place in life where we need help back…

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