Hans and the lady

Yasmin Stip

On a normal Tuesday afternoon, I was having lunch with Hans, a friend of mine. He told me about his morning: he had a wonderful time gardeing with an elderly woman. She is a widow and not very mobile anymore. Hans said that the lady would love to go to a nursing home. That is not allowed, because she is still too independent. The lady regrets that, because she feels lonely.

She lives in a street with all young families. In addition to their own busy lives, they have little time to socialize with the neighbors. Sometimes they put the waste bin back in her garden. But it does not stop there. She has weekly visits from her son and Hans. Care providers are also coming, but just as she get to know them a little better, they are transferred. She finds that very unfortunate.

I can't think of my grandparents getting lonely. Fortunately, they are surrounded by friends and family, but now that I remember: I also know two ladies who I suspect are lonely. Bad enough, I have been planning for months to visit them, but every time I think: "Well, I'm busy, I'll call them next week." But I don't do that either.

And that is exactly what Hans says: “In the hustle and bustle of the day, we don't really think about our fellow human beings. Crazy actually. Because a person like Trump only has to fart and we know it right away, but how our neighbors are doing, we don't really know about that.”

Yes, I am working on my thesis. And yes, I work. Busy busy busy. But I also have time to grab a party here and there. So I have to stop making excuses. If I can make a lonely person feel less lonely for a bit, I want to do that. So I'm going to send postcards today to my two lovely ladies and ask them when they can meet. And while I'm at it, I send my grandpas and grandmas one as well.

Yasmin Stip is an analyst at ftrprf. She wrote this article in a personal capacity for the theme Social Cohesion

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