Wednesday 18 October 2017

Nothing is worse than loneliness - especially in the holiday season

People can feel the loss of loved ones more at Christmas
People can feel the loss of loved ones more at Christmas

Next week, we celebrate the feast of Christmas. Whatever people think about its religious significance - or, alternatively, its connection with consumerism - it is undoubtedly a time for meeting up with family and friends.

It is a time of year that many people find difficult. Memories of happier times can often come to the fore and these can contrast starkly with a person's present circumstances. We often feel the loss of a loved one who passed away during the year more acutely at this time of year. And Christmas can often highlight more difficult periods in a person's life, whether from childhood or adulthood.

We are hard-wired for connection with other people. It is a deep need in us and is as essential to life as air and food. That is why the feeling of loneliness is probably the most difficult feeling we as humans have to deal with. Much has been said and written about the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie near Dail Eireann in recent weeks. But perhaps the most poignant response I heard came from another homeless man who said "you kinda get hardy to the cold but the worst pain of all is the pain of loneliness."

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