Natalie RIP

Clair Woodward
3 min readOct 30, 2020

Read this today. It shook me. A 45-year-old single, childless woman, Natalie Langham, took her own life in March, because her life had become small because of the lockdown. Not going to explain the details here, as the details are all in the Sun story, but I think Natalie’s story should get more attention, because I think her personal situation means that it won’t.

People like Natalie only seem to get media attention when their “Eleanor Rigby” lives end in tragedy. It sounds like Natalie was a very nice woman, who was always the first to organise a social gathering or charity event, but felt lonely because she didn’t have a family or children. At home alone during lockdown, perhaps time on her hands, and too much time in her head, made her think about what she was filling her life with to keep the empty spaces from echoing too much. Natalie was described as “bubbly”; a word I loathe at the best of times, but one which people often use to disguise a darker part of themselves that they think other people won’t want to know. The people who go: “Ooh, you’re not your usual funny self today!” when they’re slightly less than a laff a minute.

I went for lunch yesterday with a good mate I hadn’t seen for ages. Drink was taken. I’m not used to it these days, so naturally I did my usual trick of getting totally pissed, confessional and tearful. Fortunately, my pal is a great sort, but I realised that this non-picturesque outburst was the first time I’d revealed the extent of my real feelings of loneliness due to living by myself and being jobless to anyone in many, many months.

I woke up with a queasy hangover that can be cured by bacon, and feeling totally miserable and useless, which can’t be cured by anything much. Then Natalie’s story landed via algorithm on my phone, and it was a punch in the gut. Everyone’s having an appalling time at the moment, but if you’re living alone, you have rather too much time on your hands to think about stuff. I know your kids might be driving you spare, or your partner getting right on your tits, but imagine not having them.

I left a terrible job at Christmas, and of course, nobody’s hiring at the moment. I have a few irons in the fire, but they’re not guaranteed to lead to anything, and I miss having something to achieve every day. As a journalist, when I wrote or commissioned something, I felt I had a voice that I could put into the world that other people might listen to. Now, not only do I not have that, I don’t have people around me to talk to and bounce ideas off in real life. I wish someone would commission my ideas, or call or email and say: “We thought about you; would you like to write about this?”. But they don’t, and I feel entirely useless. (Doesn’t stop me writing this old balls for 33 people on Medium, though).

So when I read about Natalie, I realised I’d been doing the same thing as her. Using friends and work to paper over deeper things in life; which is good, otherwise we’d go entirely mad. But there comes a point when you can only go so far in making your own happiness; relationships and work are a two-way street where someone else has to join in and make a decision to have a relationship or give you a job, and that you cannot control. I look at Facebook and see people having days out and weekends away with their partners and am so smashed by envy that I hate myself, but I’m only human.

There is no end to any of the Covid crap for any of us, but spare a thought for those of us without anyone to go through it all with. Unlike Natalie, I haven’t got plans to take my own life, but at 55 with bugger all going on apart from the new series of Call My Agent! on Netflix, it feels like I’m just waiting to die.

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Clair Woodward

Journalist, editor. Writes about arts, entertainment, life. Follow and commission me — Twitter @clairywoowoo