A Very Special Christmas Gift

In the Spring of 2021 I noticed my neighbour’s bushes overgrowing into the bottom of my garden so I popped round to ask John if he minded me trimming them. John, 94 in February, led me into his garden, masks in place, to tackle what we could but were met by a jungle rather than a garden with no TLC since 2019. In John’s words, “I’m finding it all really rather overwhelming,” which is how he was feeling about a lot of things at that time. John lives on his own since his wife Joyce died many years ago and he has no surviving family. The lockdowns had left him rather cut off and isolated.
What started out as a bush trim turned into several weekends of pruning, cutting, shearing and mowing, restoring John’s garden back to its former glory, with John and I really getting to know each other, enjoying the delights of the outdoors together. As we surveyed our work on completion John took my forearm and told me the light was coming back into his life and he felt a great weight lifting. He didn’t feel as overwhelmed as before. It was during this time I began bringing meals round a couple of times a week which I continue to do, our friendship strengthening and both our general well-being growing.
At church on one occasion, it so happened that Oli gave a sermon regarding help in the community that day. Talking with Oli after, I mentioned John and he said it was exactly what his sermon was all about. I took that as being as an encouragement to continue in service to John, something my daughter Maja reiterated when she said she wanted us to continue to be there for John onwards. So, it was our great pleasure to include John in our Christmas plans and we were very pleased he agreed to share the day with us, my daughters enjoying his stories and great company. As we played board games in the kitchen, John and my daughter Maja were choosing John’s favourite songs to listen to on Spotify and from those John taught Maja to waltz; what a lovely sight to witness! Seeing a happy John heading home smiling on this special day was the best gift we could receive, a very special Christmas gift to us.
Jonny Bonny