National Cheer Up the Lonely Day

Today is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. With social distancing, isolation, and quarantine, this holiday is important now more than ever. I’m certain many people have never heard of this day. The holiday was founded by Francis Pesek. His daughter, L.J. Pesek said he “was a quiet, kind, wonderful man who had a heart of gold. The idea came to him as a way of promoting kindness toward others who were lonely or forgotten as shut-ins or in nursing homes.” July 11 is also Francis Pesek’s birthday. I have yet to find any other information such as when Francis was born or what year the holiday was founded.

Autophobia is the fear of being alone. While many may not have the full-blown phobia, everyone at one time or another is afraid of being alone. For me, I’ve feared people would leave me which added to my insecurities and caused me to drive them away. I created my worst fear. When one feels this way, the smallest gesture can have the biggest impact. Sending a short message, an email, or letter can brighten their day. On social media, tagging a friend or sharing a link or post in a direct message (DM) can bring a smile to their face.

Remember, if you spend most days having conversations with several people, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. You may be the only person one of those people talks to for the entire day. There was one time a couple years ago when I went an entire week with no contact or conversations with anyone outside of work. I felt ignored and unwanted. I know others have felt this way. It takes little effort to remind people that you care about them. It’s also important to not assume someone is lonely because they spend a lot of time alone. Don’t jump to conclusions. Just tell them you care about them.

Poetry Monday: Hell is a Lonely Place

The more time I spend
With other people whether
They’re strangers or friends
The more I feel alone – 
These people, these activities
They’re only distractions
To keep my mind off
How alone I feel – 
There’s no one to help me
No one to make it all better
It’s in my head and 
I have to fix it
Because I created this problem – 
I created all the sadness
And anger and loss – 
Yes, I’ve felt pain
And trauma from others
But they didn’t allow it
To stew and fester within – 
I did that – 
I am the architect of my own hell
And I will be its destroyer – 
But I don’t know how

From the poetry collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis.