Chrissie (left) and her good friend Vika in Alvor

Dingbats21 – we’re stronger together!

‘Dingbats21’ came to me in the restless early hours one morning. Why? Because it is often then one finds, after a bereavement, that loneliness and being alone are two different things. Loneliness: without friendship, solitude, feeling abandoned. Alone: without support, without the help of anyone else.

In everyone’s life, at one time or another, we crave for solitude, being alone, but this is a choice we make. When that choice has been removed from our lives, as has our loved one, whether it be a spouse, a close friend, a relative, someone you counted on above all others … the loss is desolation, leaving us in shock, asking, “why?” They are no longer there to share food, hopes, dreams, good times, bad times, sadness, happiness …

If you are reading this and not only understand what I am saying, but you are in fact feeling these emotions, then why don’t we stop right there? Let us for one moment think that we can move on towards a conversation over lunch, dinner, a smile, a friendly argument, a noisy debate with a group. Why not?

But that group … where is it? Ah, they are in groups, couples, already neatly defined. The ‘we’ are singles all around us. Some may be distraught, yearning for time out. A carer, widower or widow, someone who faced a difficult divorce or separation after a long relationship. We just need to be gathered, helping each other to face the future, our new world, with a common goal.

So, in the early hours, Dingbats21 came to mind.

Dingbats? (Australian) The dictionary explains: “delirium tremens” (oh dear!), meaning “agitation, hallucinations. Silly, behaving in a way thought to be strange or irrational. Giving somebody the dingbats. To make someone nervous or annoyed.”

Well, yes! There is the morning you wake up, wishing that something could change your life, do something strange, irrational. Hallucinating that you can just pick up the ‘phone and call someone, meet for a coffee and cake. Hallucination … a car has just turned up, tooted their arrival to collect you. Go for a huge ice-cream, lunch on the beach, silently watching passers-by, taking pleasure in laughter.

I am just like you. We are the same. So, why don’t we share? It isn’t difficult. The first step is the worst, like watching a toddler move in a haphazard way, unaided for the very first time. Together we can muster a stagger in the right direction and maybe a small trip, but there will be someone else to help ease the fall. Someone who understands and has been there.

Where next? Depends on you. I am just acting as a catalyst to get the ball rolling.

It’s easy – just send a small basic email to dingbats21@algarveresident.com describing your situation as precisely as you can. Specific age or age group (25-45+, 55-75+); male or female (no politically correct comments, please!); situation (separated, divorced, widow, widower); area (Loulé, Portimão, Carvoeiro, etc.); socialising preferences. (lunch, tea, dinner, anything); mobility. (need driver, active, etc.).

That is it, done and dusted. Phew! What next? I’ll be in touch.

P.s. Dingbats is also a font full of mad icons! Hidden messaging?

The ‘Dingbats21’ project
Chrissie Spencer wants to try and get a group established for people who are suffering from loneliness, particularly in a situation of bereavement and loss. Hopefully, a supportive group to socialise, listen and offer help emotionally where needed.

“Basically, it is a way of opening a door for people to walk through, find some light, friendship and understanding. Not everyone understands how one feels after losing a close partner or loved one. Even a mentor. A listener.

“I know there are people who would like to have a moment away from the loneliness or being alone and to be able to share some light.”

By CHRISSE SPENCER