An emerging sense of loneliness

Aged just 17 she left home and did her wartime duty in the Auxiliary Territorial Service where the most celebrated member of the ranks was the then Princess Elizabeth.

In her 20s she met her husband and had two boys, supporting the family as a stay-at-home wife and mother and enjoying a busy time and wide social circle.

Social isolation following bereavement

Fast forward through more than 60 years of happily married life and, in her late 80s, Mary found herself widowed, her group of friends dwindling, most of her family in England and a sense of loneliness emerging.

While still independent and self-sufficient, living in her own home with no need for carers or cleaners, that feeling of social isolation can hang heavily following bereavement.

“You always say ‘I’m awfully sorry’ when you hear about the loss of a loved one, but you don’t really know what it’s like until it happens to you.” she explains, “It’s lonely.”

Getting by with a little help

Yet coming across a newspaper article on Re-engage changed all that.  Now, well into her 90s, she is one of the original members of the Diamond group, based in the Coatbridge/Airdrie area of Lanarkshire, and has been enjoying regular monthly outings for four years.

“I have no friends and I haven’t got a big family but it’s a wonderful charity, it’s quite amazing – they are all friends.  I can’t praise them highly enough.  My driver is like a friend, she’s been my driver for over four years.

"I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it and how kind everybody is.”

“I’m now registered partially blind and I don’t go out much so I really look forward to the Sunday outings. We’ve been to some marvellous places."

Lively, well-read and gregarious, it is only circumstances that prevent Mary from enjoying a wider social life but with Re-engage her world has opened up again.

“I don’t know what I would have done without them. If I hadn’t had them, I had nothing."

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