Wanda has been living on her own in California for a very long time.
The 90-year-old – who has watched many of her friends and family pass away – has, over the years, found herself facing an oppressive and lonely existence. But that’s all about to change – and it’s all thanks to Wanda’s incredibly brave leap of faith.
Desperate to find some companionship and stimulus, the isolated pensioner decided that the only answer was to reach out to her neighbours – and she decided to do so via a handwritten note.
Unaware of her neighbour’s name, Wanda addresses her letter to “Mrs ?”
In shaky handwriting, Wanda continues: “Would you consider becom[ing] my friend? I’m 90 years old – live alone and all my friends have passed away.
“I am so lonesome and scared.”
The letter, shared on the Facebook page of KTVU news anchor Frank Somerville, finishes with a final plea: “Please – I pray to God for someone.”
Wanda posted her note through the letterbox of the home adjacent to her own, where it was later discovered by her neighbour, Marleen Brooks.
Moved by the message, Brooks, along with her best friend, went over to visit the lonely pensioner.
It wasn’t long before the trio had settled down for a natter over cupcakes and mugs of steaming tea – and Brooks later messaged Somerville to let him (and his followers) know how the meeting went.
Read more: Why we are so scared of growing old
“She’s such a sweet lady,” said Brooks, adding that Wanda – who is on oxygen due to her congestive heart failure diagnosis – had been positively “over the moon” when she popped around to see her.
“I made sure she 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.”
Wanda used to spend time with her three sons, but one died of cancer in 2016, and the other two have moved far away, making it difficult for them to visit.
The pensioner was, therefore, incredibly excited to find a friend in Brooks, who lives just moments away.
She told her neighbour: “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 neighbours.”
We love Wanda’s attitude – there aren’t many who would be brave enough to lay their heart on the line like she did. However, many suffer in silence so there’s hope that Wanda’s story will encourage more people to reach out and speak to an elderly person when we sit next to them on the bus or walk past them at the supermarket, and try to brighten up their day in some small way.
As Somerville writes in his post (which has at time of writing received over 6,000 likes on Facebook): “There are so many others out there who are lonely just like Wanda. 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.”
You can find out about Age UK’s befriending services (both telephone and face-to-face) on their website. Or, if you are worried about an elderly relative or neighbour, they also have advice on how best to overcome loneliness , too.
Images: Facebook/Frank Somerville KTVU