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One of my patients who came to Canada in 1969 at the age of 45 is now 84 years old. After living here for half a century she is still missing England as she is feeling lonely and sad in Canada. She has a history of Depression and her mother committed suicide when my patient was a young girl. She expressed her feelings in a letter to me that is as follows

(she gave her blessing to share it with other immigrants

 who can relate to it)
Dear Dr. Sohail,

        I started writing this letter three weeks ago. It is early on the morning of May 26th, 5:30 a.m. to be exact. I was awake at about 4 to 4:30 a.m., and as is so often the case, I awoke surrounded by emptiness, the atmosphere feels empty, this apartment feels empty (although full of clutter!), life feels empty, what is the point, why am I here? I feel like an alien from out of space, “get out of bed” put on the T.V. maybe that will drive some of these feelings away, and have a cigarette, the only truly good friend I can relay on to be there for me, even if it kills me!

        Why did I come all those years ago, to this barren cold – even in the heat of summer – vast land? There have been a few times over the past months, when I have felt some warm feeling I had years ago of being a part of a family, usually if I have talked to my one remaining brother Keith on the phone or someone has  been kind or I have been part of some activity, but that doesn’t last long or happen often.

        I am – or was – fostering a beautiful black thirteen year old male cat – but he has a bladder infection and is in isolation (as I couldn’t administer the pills he needs) at the Humane Society of Durham. He went back there just over a week ago, and I miss him, he has quaint little habits, and I worry that he may die in isolation, as the reason I took him to the Humane Society was that he was depressed and wouldn’t eat. I only hope that he survives, and they bring him back to me when his medical condition is better. It just seems that everything or everyone that I love is taken away from me. Is that the joy of old age!


        It is now the early morning of June 14th, the past week has been quite eventful, my sister coming down from North Bay with a friend ( female and only 63 years of age) leaving me with a feeling of great sadness in my heart, as I am sure I do not add up, so to speak, and at present more isolated from her and her family than I was before, I just feel sad, so sad, wish I could cry but the  tears will not come, maybe just as well. Heather – my sister – and her friend were only here from 2:30 p.m. Wednesday until after we had had dinner at Kaseys at 8:30 p.m. that evening. It was so kind of  her to make the detour to see me, before going to Waterloo to visit her son, that makes my sadness worse as she is 81 years of age (doesn’t look it, or act it) and it’s probably the last time I’ll ever see her. I said the wrong things, my apartment wasn’t as I wanted it. I had no photograph of my Father’s side of the family – not intentionally, just hadn’t got around to it – these are my assumptions as to why she was so cold, almost frigid with me before they left.

        As my brother’s first wife said when I talked to her on the phone  “You are the black sheep of the family ?” that is what I am Dr. Sohail, feeling sad and lonely in Canada .


E-mail welcome@drsohail.com