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All of us can experience loneliness at some point in our lives. It’s time we started talking about it.

Sharing the bluebells | Charlotte and Joan’s story

This morning I spoke to my new telephone friend. Joan has just turned 86 and is living with dementia. At the start of the call Joan was low and tearful, and shared, ‘If I’m honest, I’m depressed. So many people round the world are suffering right now, and it’s just awful’. We chatted about the challenges in the world, and shared how we were encouraged by Captain Tom’s inspiring fundraising for the NHS.

After we chatted a bit more about television (Eastenders), the British temperament (reserved), and favourite holidays we’ve enjoyed (Italy), I asked Joan what she could see out her window. She told me about a dandelion she’s had her eye on for the last few days, wanting to pick it, but not having the energy to leave the house. Joan said in the past her garden was her pride and joy and she spent every moment she could outdoors, especially this time of year. She said, ‘It’s all wild now, just awful’. I said I knew it wasn’t how she liked it or had kept the garden in the past, but that the overgrown look could be pretty, and it was definitely great for wildlife. Joan seemed unconvinced, and we started talking about seagulls, a conversation we often return to. In Brighton the seagulls are never far off, and always a solid talking point.

Charlotte TTTB

At the end of our call – which was just over half an hour – Joan sounded much brighter than she had at the start of the call. Our conversation had lifted my mood too, as we’d both been looking out our windows and describing all the signs of hope and greenery we could see.

Bluebells

Five minutes after our call, the phone rang. It was Joan. Thinking that something might be wrong, I answered the phone to hear Joan exclaim, ‘Bluebells! There are bluebells in my garden! I hadn’t seen them before before the curtain was pulled across the window! After our phone call I went into the back garden to see more, and there they all were. It was lovely, like being in the woods! They would never have grown before, I wouldn’t have let them!’

C.S. Lewis said that:

‘delight is incomplete till it is expressed’.

Joan calling me to share her joy at discovering the bluebells completed her delight. And not only her delight, it made my morning, too. What a joy to have a friend to share such a back garden discovery with, a sign of growth and hope that was there all along, waiting to be discovered.

Who can you look out of the window with today? Open the window if you can. What can you see, hear, or smell? The more we look, the more we can see, share, and delight in.

One thought on “Sharing the bluebells | Charlotte and Joan’s story

  1. How lovely it is to have the privilege to speak to people who are stuck in their homes and feeling incredibly lonely. I have 12 ladies that I speak to a week at the moment, as my “normal” job is a lot quieter especially working from home, and my employers encouraged us to do something to help our community. My ladies are all very different, apart from the fact that they all have illnesses which make them more susceptible to catching the corona virus. I enjoy my time with them talking about food, history, gardens, family and lots of other subjects too. I think it expands my world as I don’t have a big family and speaking to people of the next generation is very interesting and rewarding.

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