Hi Pat! Tell us about yourself.
My husband and I moved to Tilehurst in December 1964 with our two young children. Within a few years, we had grown to a family of seven, and we moved to a bigger house. Together, we all went to church in the village.
As with all families, there were good times and bad times. The children grew up, and one by one they left Tilehurst. I have lived on my own now for almost four years.
You’ve recently started going back to church. What has that been like?
About two years ago, I felt that I needed to start going to church again. I live near to Westwood Farm Junior School where ChristChurch Tilehurst meet on a Sunday morning, so I thought I’d try them out. It took a lot of courage to get through the door, but once inside I was made to feel so welcome, and I stayed to chat with people after the service. l left feeling very peaceful and calm.
Have you struggled with loneliness this lockdown?
When lockdown started, I did feel lonely at times. My biggest struggle was not being able to see my family or any friends.
Everywhere was so quiet and it was so easy to feel sorry for myself, but there was so much to be thankful for! So I began to start each day by counting my blessings. There are so many! I also knew that God was with me, so I was never truly alone.
Having good health and being able to enjoy walking were bonuses. As a Christian, I also have my faith. It has helped to know that God, who is greater than any earthly being, knows the outcome. We are in his hands, and knowing this gives me hope for the future.
What would you say to someone struggling with loneliness?
If you are able to get out for walks, just smile and speak to people you pass by, even if you’ve never seen them before. They might feel the same way as you!
Do you know people that aren’t able to get out? You could call on them, as you might be the only person they speak to face to face that day. I was grateful for neighbours and friends who rang my bell to have a chat with me. I’d also recommend keeping busy and keeping your mind alert.
What’s the first thing you would do if the virus disappeared?
If this virus disappeared overnight (miracles do happen) I would shout for joy, and give everyone I met a hug! But in the meantime, with Christmas fast approaching, let us remember its true meaning, and share peace and goodwill with one another. Perhaps we should all stand outside and sing a carol!
If you struggle with loneliness (and are over 55 and living alone) you can get support from Engage Befriending.