A 90-year-old woman from Missouri named Wanda didn’t want to spend her days alone anymore. For many years she had lived alone with no friends and family by her side, as her children had families and lived far away from Missouri. One day, this sweet old lady decided to write a heartbreaking letter to Marleen Brooks, a neighbor who lived on the same street as Wanda. When she came home, she read the letter and her eyes filled with tears.
The old lady didn’t know what her neighbor was called, so she wrote:
“Mrs ? Would you consider to become my friend?
I’m 90 years old- live alone.
All my friends have passed away.
I’m so lonesome and scared.
Please I pray for someone.”
Marleen decided to share this sad story on Facebook and she sent a photo of the handwritten letter to KTVU’s Frank Somerville. She posted the photo with a description, saying: “Came home to this note from a lady that lives down the street from me. Makes my heart sad, but on the bright side it looks like I will be getting a new friend.”
One of her sons lost a battle to cancer a year ago before she felt lonely. She has two more sons, but they cannot visit her very often. Wanda’s health isn’t good, therefore she needs someone to comfort her and accompany her. She struggles from osteoporosis, congestive heart failure, and uses artificial oxygen.
Brooks was touched by the old lady’s position, so she decided to make a visit with her daughter. She even made cupcakes to honor the new friendship. When she saw them coming, she filled with joy, as she knew she will not feel alone.
Brooks said: “She’s such a sweet lady! And she was over the moon when we came over. ”
While Brooks and her daughter visited Wanda, she said: “I hope you didn’t think I was stupid for writing to you, but I had to do something. Thank you so much for coming over. I’ve lived here for 50 years and don’t know any of my neighbors.”
Wanda felt desperate and needed someone that could talk to her, and she made an effort to break out of her comfort zone. Elderly people live isolated lives and are forgotten by society these days. Making a new friend at the age of 90 is a challenge on its own. As she watched all of her friends die, she felt more and more alone and heartbroken.
For the ones left alone, loneliness is part of their everyday life and a public health issue. Social isolation increases the risk of depression and mortality in people older than 52, states to the National Academy of Sciences. Isolation affects one’s mental health, and it is bad for the more weakened heart. Elderly people don’t want to be left alone, but society doesn’t recognize the fact that they become more vulnerable as the years go by. Friends and family can make their lives more fulfilled, as they need them more than ever.
We should consider taking care of the elderly people that live near us. They may be young by soul and would love to play chess with you, have lunch, watch series, listen to music from their youth, bake or even take photos. If you need a babysitter, elderly women will love to help you, as they enjoy the company of young children the most. Take this lesson from Brooks and her daughter who befriended this old lady. She was happy for the new friendship, and wrote: “I also made sure that Wanda knew she can call us at any time and that I’ll be back to spend time with her! I’m sure Wanda and I will have some great times. There are so many others out there who are lonely just like Wanda,” Somerville wrote. “I would ask that maybe you consider knocking on their door and saying hi. I know it would mean the world to them. And who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend.”