Old and alone, try reaching out as Steve and Robert did.
If you have elderly neighbours or friends, do check up on them and make sure they have enough food in - heating - blankets etc to stay warm and maybe even a half hour chat would make them feel better as well as lightening your soul.
It is not all about you.
The above was in last weeks Newsletter Blog and I have had several responses to it already:- Read Below:
I would like to thank John for including his message about thinking of others in his Blog.
He certainly improved our neighbour Joan’s day on Sunday.
Our neighbours moved into their house next to ours in 1966.
My partner and I moved in 20 years ago.
I’m not sure they knew what to make of us at first but over the years we got along very well.
Tom told us a few years ago we were the best neighbours they have ever had.
In 2016 we had a street party to celebrate them being on our street for fifty years.
It was a very special day.
Sadly Tom had a stroke a couple of years ago now and has been in a care home ever since.
Joan has been on her own ever since and it’s so hard to hear her crying through the wall with the loneliness.
We occasionally offer a home cooked meal and she really appreciates it.
She really enjoyed a full Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. She told us it was the first time in months she had had such a lovely home cooked meal.
Johns blog jerked us into action again and we offered her a meal on Sunday . She didn’t hesitate to accept and she was so grateful.
I’ve changed our neighbours names and I’m not saying who we are, we are not looking for praise.
My point is it really enriches your own life to show a little kindness.
Please think about others . One day it could be you.
Think of something you could do to show somebody kindness.
Lovely thought John, looking after elderly friends and family but sadly, I am alone, and I am lonely and since my partner died of Covid a year ago, ( he was 72 and had always smoked ) I have hardly seen anyone. He was from Italy and had no family here and I am estranged from my family because I am gay and as I am 70, feel the anguish of many in similar positions. Now I know what my old Ma went through at the end. Lonely - it really is a killer John as my whole life felt as if it was draining away and all interest ebbed away. George.
Dear Hamilton Hall: After last weeks Blog it pushed me to phone an old gentleman friend who I know and ask him to Sunday Lunch at my house and he actually cried when I phoned and asked. Said he had not been out in weeks and lived on basic meals like beans on toast and had not had a proper cooked meal in ages, and how he had not really seen or spoken to anyone in weeks. After your Blog John, I collected him in the car as while not far away, it was cold - and he stayed the whole afternoon and evening, we watched a little telly together, and just to have the company, for me as well - was great and I could see he really enjoyed himself. So, I asked him next week as well and although alone for much of the week, he has something to look forward to and a proper home cooked roast as well.
So I invited him next week as well. I never thought it would bring me such joy to do John. The look on his face. The pleasure that another person reached out to him in his loneliness was really touching and I have to admit that after I took him home and he beamed a great smile saying goodbye and ' see you next week' - where he was so excited and pleased and thankful, I drove round the corner out of view and just cried for ages. It broke my heart while filling it with joy at the same time.
Your Blog is read every week and this week especially, thankyou for that idea and I look forward to seeing more of him each week from now on.
Dear Hamilton Hall: After your reminder in last weeks Blog to look after elderly neighbours, I popped round to the old girl next door who nursed her Mother who died at 106 and ' the daughter ' who I went and spoke to was in her 80's when her Mother died recently, and I invited her in for dinner and she was delighted. We have lived next door for 20 years and as she is a private person we have never really spoken much, but after her mother died late last year, we saw less of her than usual and it did concern me that she could go downhill fast after spending her whole life with her Mother and now in her 80's she was alone, and it seems I was right. She came round to our house for the very first time, and my wife and I ( yes I am a gay married man with kids, now grown and gone and I came out to my wife a long time ago... ) and the three of us had a great afternoon and we learned so much about this old girl that fascinated. She only has an OBE and had met the Queen and travelled the world as a young women but had never married knowing she would be looking after her Mother, so went without and she did confess that she had never known the pleasures of a man and had spent her whole life celibate and for the last 50 years, with her Mother. I am out to my wife and the old girl already knew, having guessed I was gay years ago and it interested that someone we saw as just an old women, was there and half way back again before I even opened my mouth and she was brilliant, wise, sharp, to the point, on the ball and much more fun than I would have thought. Suddenly this great sense of humour - then she even sang us an old song from her childhood which was delightful and she was amazing., She came out of herself and even she was surprised and thrilled. We did laugh the three of us. Now we have set in motion that we have her front door key in case of any problems she may have and have each others phone numbers and she is coming next week for dinner and we shall see where this goes from here.
After 20 years living next door, it took you to remind me and all through the last Covid years she has been alone with her Mother and we never gave her a thought - and now we have learned what a wonderful thing came out of a simple thought for someone else other than ourselves.
Mark and Annie.
John: I tried. I asked an elderly man I see every day walking past my house and who lives round the corner, if he lived alone and we chatted and he was one of those people who see the negative and not the positive and he was a real Grumpy Old man. I kept going and asked if he would like to come for a meal and this stopped his grumbling dead. He tried to hide it but I could tell he was thrilled. Being an independent man all his life, he hated asking for help even though it turned out, he desperately needed help but was afraid and embarrassed to ask. So he had no social care at all and lived alone and in his late 70's, was lonely. He came last Sunday and was a joy. No more moaning. No complaints. Told us about his life and how his wife had been murdered back in the 70's ( long story ) and how the police had accused him but eventually found the killer and he was never given time to grieve because of the police action, and he had never recovered from the trauma and never been offered therapy and the police had abused and then abandoned without even an apology. It had left its scars.
The dinner had its awkward moments of silence, and it had periods when being unsure this was a good idea or not, but in the end it was a delight and he cried when it came to going home which dearly moved us. So, we made plans for next week and his whole demeaner changed. It lit up like a torch and he came alive.
Thanks John. Good idea of yours.
John: I receive your Blog and read it as usual and parts did make me cry. I have been living for a year at the Y - better known as the YMCA in London and it has been a very lonely existence throughout lockdown. I only have room with shower and a small area to boil a kettle ( thank goodness for Pot Noodles ) otherwise there is a large kitchen on the landing for everyone to use and in all this time I have hardly seen another human being and it has been desperately lonely.
Unemployed,. 23 years old, ran away from home because of abusive Step Mother and my Dad was more interested in her than me. Was actually homeless for 1 year until ending up here and I wish someone kind would help me with an odd meal or some company that does not mean getting my clothes off and having to pay - one way or another - for anything offered. Nice idea John, but there are as many young people struggling as there are old people.
John: Thought Age Concern would help and offer something, anything, but it seems that unless it is something the volunteers want to do, it doesn't happen. Been left alone for over a year since my wife died and Age Concern has not helped one little bit. I phone and all I get is Covid used as an excuse when I am fully jabbed and have not been out for over 1 year - just to the shops and back and all masked - and Age Concern - as far as they are concerned do not give a damn if I died. It astounds how so many organisations designed to help, do not. They do what they do for their own sake, to rag about what they do when they do precious little. I am still alone and your Blog helps entertain weekly,. Thanks. Wish you were more local. Keith ( Kensington )
John Bellamy Comments: When I was 16 - 24 - I lived with a lover who was 42 when we met. Lived together in Guernsey buying and selling various properties and hotels etc., and we lived a very nice lifestyle. I had a full time job and worked hard. Met an old Guernsey man called Gerry Pendrel Smith who was in his 80's - lived in a council ( state ) run old peoples home, had absolutely nothing in common with anyone else living there, had lived and worked in the oil industry all over the world, gave all his decent things away over the years and ended up with absolutely nothing at all, hence, he was in this free care home.. He was a wonderful educated old man who certainly knew how to tell a story and chatter for hours - mostly with my lover who was a little closer to his age and - basically - I was quiet and shy in those days ( can you imagine ) and didn't know what to talk to him about, I was just too young, but I would collect him once a week and he would come to dinner and stay the evening with us and I would drive him home again, and we did this for some years until he died. Bless him. When I was around 18, he said to me one day that when he was my age, he blinked and when he opened his eyes he found himself old and living in a care home, as that was how fast the years had flown, and I can remember thinking ' Old fool I'm only 18... ' - but went to bed that night and woke this morning ready to face today - 25th January 2022. He was right, the years fly so fast and now at 66, I have never forgotten Gerry and relate this story often about appreciating today.
Gerry was back in the mid 17970's, so this was 50 years ago nearly and yet his memory lives on within me and I have always tried to remind people that we all grow old, we may all grow lonely being gay men with no kids - and we may all need that someone special close by and Steve and Roberts response reminded me of how small things can mean big things to others and makes their whole week come alive because they have given up one evening to be friendly with someone less fortunate.
John Bellamy -------------------------------
If you are local to Hamilton Hall and alone.
If you cannot afford or it is hard for you to cook a roast occasionally and you are alone and lonely, give me a call and let's chat and see if we can offer you a meal occasionally and come and share a day with us. FOR FREE. Probably a Sunday.
I have tried this so many times since being here at Hamilton Hall and the amount of people who take advantage and abuse - it is no wonder so few offer and why so many do not - and then we wonder why there are so many lonely people out there - and the assholes spoil it for everyone else. All you can do is keep trying and believe me, when you see the look on their face - and the joy you know it brings, that is reward in and of itself. It really is.