William is my friend. We’ve been talking since last September. Six months I realise! We’re at opposite ends of the country, and our chances of meeting are non-existent. That, and the fact that he doesn’t have my number. I have his and, for his safety and mine, I withhold my number when I call. One of my volunteering roles was adapted during the pandemic and I started a telephone befriending role with William. He is an isolated older gentleman. No family, he lives alone.
I started the role with no expectations and what has grown has been precious. He’s become much more than just my volunteering purpose, he has become my friend. I cannot think of my week without him. We catch up, we talk about what we’re having for tea, how we loved Terry & June (an old sitcom on TV here in the UK in the 1980s). He shares with me when he’s worried about his health and he has told me some ancient family secrets involving all the things that every family has – babies born years and years ago, out of wedlock, sorrows as well as the happy stuff. Then, with thought, he always asks after my family, and not just out of politeness but out of interest. Is my youngest daughter coping better with her ‘friends’? How has my week been? He keeps an eye on what weather I’m having.
I worried hard the day he didn’t answer our weekly call. All day, no reply. Into the evening, no reply. Late on, I called through to the support contact I have, and she said she would alert her senior. Last thing before I slept, I finally spoke to him and he’d had a difficult day of unintended hospital tests where he’d had to drive between hospitals. His day had projected long. I realised then that he had become precious to me. And I’d be lost without him.
Talking over my troubles with him is not what I’m there for. He doesn’t (yet) know about my lifelong struggle with depression. And he has no idea that he helps fight it with me. I’m sure it's not always like this, I just got really lucky. Thank you William. My treasured friend.
The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.
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