Mother Teresa said "loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty"
I'm sure those who are truly poverty stricken and destitute would disagree with the sentiment, i mean..... you can't eat your friends can you? But there is a truth in there that is worth a second look, as i've always believed that without my family and my friends i would be greatly diminished. It's in their love and esteem that my universe has value and in the love and esteem i offer them i, hopefully, become a better human.
Loneliness has been described as a 21st century plague with the irony being that social media means we can talk 24/7 without ever seeing or touching another person. now, i love my phone and the internet is my window on the world but an hour texting or emailing lacks the warmth and empathy of an hour sharing a cuppa with a friend, along with their laughter or tears or memories. social media can't greet with a hug or pass a tissue to wipe reddened eyes, it can't linger on the sofa over a shared photo or slip an arm round slumped shoulders.
The elderly face a great cost in losing social contact. my mother used to say how hard it was to count the missing cards at Christmas as her contemporaries, one by one, succumbed to illness and frailty. we tend to make friendships within our own generation so as we reach old age our friends and siblings are facing their own declining health. we all gain from communities of mixed ages as well as mixed ability. the old have company and can benefit from being challenged to stay young in mind and heart if not in body, and the young, if they are willing to listen, can learn about a life so different from theirs it might as well be a foreign land.
How do the disabled make new friends and keep old ones? it's not easy, believe me! finding the energy is just the beginning of what can feel like a major trek on the path to sociability. it can feel oh so easy to dive under the duvet when offered a "drive out to do something" !!! pain and fatigue can make us seem aloof and absent, or we do the old "boom and bust" dance of being full of life and fun around people then crashing for several days afterwards, closing the curtains to lick the wounds of kindness. We long for your company and feel bereft without it, at the same time we feel failures at friendship when we have to spoil the party by going home early to nurse our hurt and exhaustion.
We need your help in this balancing, budgeting act. be patient with us as we fumble our way through this alien land that is disability. tell us you don't mind journeying across town for a half hour visit. that, of course you'll drop us at a destination then go park the car, even if it is tipping down with rain. bring your friends if you think we'll connect so we have a chance to meet new people. pretend to be interested even though we have so little to talk about as we see so little of the world. above all........bring cake as it sweetens every relationship.