Christmas is a week away. Most everyone is caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations. On television or my social media feed, I am bombarded with images of people smiling, laughing, and everyone is happy and joyful as they are surrounded by friends and family in festively decorated homes. It is the time of year when many people gather together to celebrate the sights, sounds, and wonders of this magical season. But not everyone has someone to share these things.
As I perused my Facebook feed today, a friend in the quilting industry posted a thoughtful and very honest comment about how she sometimes feels invisible. Reading this instantly brought tears to my eyes because this year, unlike previous holidays, I’ve been on my own quite a lot and if I’m really honest, I’ve been drinking from the cup of lonely lately. In the past several years, both my parents and my two closest friends passed away. My circle of close friends and family has grown very small. This past summer we became empty-nesters and in early October, my husband took a new job where he works in a different city during the week. We have partially transitioned from the east coast to the west coast but until our home in Virginia sells, we aren’t able to live in the same city during the week. And I haven’t made any friends here yet. It sure has felt a little, well, “isolating.”
My husband and I are fortunate to be able to see each other on weekends, but those two days are always jam-packed with a honey-do list, catching up on chores, paying bills or doing computer work. It’s hardly time for relaxing and always passes in the blink of an eye. At first, it was a novelty for me to have some time alone during the week to catch up on my work or have the ability to sew until the wee hours of the morning. It was kind of fun to eat standing over the sink to save meal prep time or so I wouldn’t have dirty dishes to wash. But after being a full-time wife for almost 30 years and a full-time Mom for more than 23 years, this single-person existence became old and tiresome pretty quickly.
This isn’t meant to be a full-blown pity party and I really shouldn’t complain. I have much for which to be grateful. But the silence can be deafening and the lack of involvement and purpose from having family living at home has been more difficult to cope with than I originally anticipated. I’ve found it challenging to focus; I’m not interested in marathon sewing sessions, and my creativity has taken a dive to the depths of the ocean. Simply put, I’ve been lonely.
What’s my point? This new period in my life has opened my eyes to the fact there are many people who experience loneliness on a profound level. They live quietly going through the motions of life desperately wishing for someone to care. Loneliness is a real problem — especially at Christmas!
So rather than sink further into my own lonely blues, I’ve decided to take action right here in my own little neighborhood. I don’t know my new neighbors very well yet but there’s an elderly lady right down the street who lives alone with her little dog. I’m going to stop by with a plate of Christmas cookies and spend time getting to know her better. And the couple who lives just across the street from me have been going through some serious health issues. I’m going to make baked spaghetti for them one night this week and take it over with a salad and loaf of garlic bread. I’m going to continue sending funny cards to someone dear I know who lives alone since her husband passed away last year. And I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open to see if there’s anyone else in the neighborhood who could use a visit or some holiday cheer right about now. Because being lonely — especially at Christmas — is a dark and dreary place. Taking someone a treat and sharing a smile will not only brighten their day but will do a world of good for me as well.
I hope you have family and friends to celebrate the Christmas season with but please remember the folks who are alone. Because no one deserves to have no one. At Christmas or any time of the year.