No one should have no one at Christmas
For those who are fortunate, Christmas will be a happy time surrounded by family and friends enjoying the festive time together. But far too many people are less privileged and Christmas is a lonely time.
For those people for whom there is no alternative but to be on their own, Christmas can be the most loneliest time. For them, the season meant for joy, becomes the season of despair.
He lay there wondering what the day would bring that would be different than any other day. Several scenarios crossed his mind as he stayed snug under the bed clothes listening to the radio. Out of the blue his mobile phone rang making him jump...no one had phoned him for several weeks.
Suddenly a wave of excitement consumed him, the anticipation of who was it thinking about him, who wanted him to join them and what was it they wanted him to become a part of...
"Hi Mate, sorry to disturb you I just wanted to say sorry we weren't in when you dropped off our Christmas present but we are so busy with friends and the children. We are tripping over ourselves there is so much to do so many people to visit.
I just wanted to let you know we have left a little something for you on your door step. Sorry we couldn't stop but you know what it's like at this time of year. Let's speak in the new year...take care..."
He went back under the bed covers and thought to himself how kind of them to think about me especially when they are so busy...I will go to the front door this afternoon and pick up what they have left. It's something to look forwards to and it's good to have something to look forwards to when one is lonely...
The phone call prompted him, reminding him he needed to find someone very soon to act as his next of kin. He had already cancelled his consultants appointments three times because he couldn't give them the name...he hadn't got anyone...and yes he needs treatment now..
Such isolation and loneliness is nothing new and sadly today we have over 1.2 million older people in England alone who are chronically lonely. Alongside them there is an exploding 'lost generation' of young, bereaved and vulnerable people who face living loneliness everyday.
The Campaign Against Loneliness explains "Feeling lonely is a normal human emotion and is simply a sign of wanting contact with people. It can often happen because of external circumstances, such as loss of a loved one." It can happen to anyone of us at any time.
It is a common source of distress and can lead to an impaired quality of life. Indeed studies have shown that such loneliness can shorten one’s life increasing the risk of death by almost 10 per cent.
So much so this year’s Christmas Help The Aged television adverts call for a return to the "old-fashioned sense of neighbourliness", encouraging people to check on elderly friends and vulnerable neighbours over the winter months. Inspiring and calling us all to action to make sure that “no one has no one this Christmas”
Please join in, don't just make someone's Christmas and New Year, help make their life less lonely. Let's make sure everyone has someone all the year round.