Accounts of the Single Life.. in your 60s

Sheila Brady

Sheila Brady

Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 00:00

Sheila Brady, Age Action Ireland volunteer (66)

"I have been a widow for 21 years, and there's nothing good about it. I live alone in my own apartment, and I haven't had any relationships since my husband died.

"At this stage in my life, I'd love a 'walker' - someone to escort me to the theatre, to meet for dinner and to share a book I've read with - not necessarily someone to fall in love with or have a sexual relationship with.

"I don't know any other way than living alone. Mentally and emotionally, I don't see myself as being able to live with someone else even though it's pretty miserable on my own. I'm on a limited income, which makes life extraordinary difficult. I try not to look into the future, because there's no point. For instance, I enjoy my cigarettes even though everyone tells me I shouldn't be smoking.

"When I was first widowed, I had a job as a fundraiser that I put a lot of energy into. That came falling down around my ears in 2006. Around that time I also had a nervous breakdown, and with that comes isolation, because people don't feel comfortable around people who've had a breakdown."

She says that she feels well again now. "There are lots of thing I've done for myself in recent years. I volunteer for Age Action Ireland, and I'm a member of the United Arts Club and attend a lot of events there. I also volunteer in the Little Museum, because I've a great interest in history.

"It's a new life that I've had to find for myself. The only thing is that it all takes effort to keep going. I've one daughter who I talk to about three times a day. She has a daughter now, and I'm delighting in being a grandmother. It is one of the biggest things that has happened in my life."