Feeling lonely at Christmas is a common occurrence. But it was especially true for 95-year-old George Dowling after his Christmas-loving wife of 70 years passed away.
The Christmas season is always tough for the Rhode Island man since losing his beloved wife of 70 years, Lucille.
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Lucille absolutely loved Christmas. She eagerly awaited the day after Thanksgiving so she could put up the tree and begin decorating. But in 2013, she passed away from Alzheimer’s just one month before Christmas. And for George Dowling, much of the joy and excitement of the season died with her. He took down all of the decorations and refused to celebrate the holiday.
“My father couldn’t handle it,” said the man’s daughter and primary caretaker, Suzan Brito.
Encouragement For A Widower Feeling Lonely At Christmas
Adjusting to life after losing a spouse is difficult no matter the circumstances. But George Dowling found it especially hard around Christmastime. He surely couldn’t think about Christmas without thinking of Lucille.
"I miss my wife and the kids,” George explained. He went on to say, “I have four kids, still living thank God, but my wife passed away about 10 years ago. I do alright — I try.”
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Lucille was the driving force behind Christmas in the Dowling home. She did the cooking and the decorating, as well as invited all the friends and family over for celebrating. With her gone, George found himself feeling lonely at Christmas.
George’s loving daughter, Suzan, couldn’t just stand by and watch him suffer. So, she posted a plea on Facebook, asking strangers to help flood her grieving father with some Christmas joy.
“Could you please send a Christmas card to my dad,” she begged.
Both Suzan and her father were delighted when George received 102 Christmas cards. But little did they know, this new Christmas tradition was just getting started!
Cards Flood In For George Dowling
George loved the cards he received. So, when Christmas rolled around again, friends and family made sure to put George Dowling on their annual mailing list. But without the support of the internet, it just wasn’t enough.
“My friends, our family, they would send a few every year which he loved," Suzan Brito explained. "Last year it was 14, and he was sad last year. It didn't carry him through the holiday season.”
So, Suzan took the social media again. And this time, her 45-year-old daughter Charlene Fletcher joined in, too.
And as 160,000 people shared the request, it went viral and cards flooded in like never before!
“I couldn’t believe it,” Suzan said. "I said ‘dad, you have so many grandchildren now — 160,000 of them.' They’re calling him ‘Grandpa George.’"
Widower Feeling Lonely At Christmas Touched By Kindness
The cards come from all over from complete strangers. And George Dowling reads them all, hanging them up around the house.
"He gets so excited his face lights up,” said Suzan. "As I'm putting up each card, and watching him read them, I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? These people are amazing.'"
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George appreciates all of the cards but especially loves the artwork children will send him.
So far this year, the widower has been bombarded with thousands of cards! And it’s so beautiful to see, thanks to the kindness of strangers, the 95-year-old full of joy and excitement instead of feeling lonely at Christmas.
The gesture means the world to his family.
"It's just amazing. These people, I can't even thank them enough,” Suzan explained. “He gets so sad and this just perks him up. We open the door and there’s a gift on the stairs. It's just amazing. I can’t even explain it, I can’t describe it.”
WATCH: Widower Feeling Lonely At Christmas Flooded With Christmas Cards
After 95 years on this planet, George is getting more attention than he ever has in his life. And the kindness has made such a difference in helping him cope with feeling lonely at Christmas.
"I was always in the background,” he said. “Always watching, let the other guy do it you know. Thank you for everything. Thank you for writing. People are responsive, they’re really nice.”
And if you have any interest in sharing some season’s greetings to this sweet man, here is where to send them:
64 Harris Street
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02861
What a powerful reminder of the huge impact one small act of kindness can have. This is just how the Body of Christ operates, working together to spread hope and love!
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If, like George, you find yourself feeling lonely at Christmas, let these uplifting Bible verses bring you comfort. And please encourage others by sharing this story with them!
Bible Verses For Loneliness
1) “But still I am ever with you; you have taken me by my right hand. Your wisdom will be my guide, and later you will put me in a place of honor. Whom have I in heaven but you? And having you I have no desire for anything on earth. My flesh and my heart are wasting away: but God is the Rock of my heart and my eternal heritage.” Psalm 73:23-26
2) “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Psalm 27:10
3) “Behold, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
4) “Those who are without friends, God puts in families; he makes free those who are in chains; but those who are turned away from him are given a dry land.” Psalm 68:6
5) “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn't know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you.” John 15:15
6) “Be strong and take heart, and have no fear of them: for it is the Lord your God who is going with you; he will not take away his help from you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
7) “For I am certain that not death, or life, or angels, or rulers, or things present, or things to come, or powers, or things on high, or things under the earth, or anything which is made, will be able to come between us and the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
8) “Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Matthew 28:18-20
9) “Putting all your troubles on Him, for He takes care of you.” 1 Peter 5:7
10) “Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for He has said, ‘I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.’ So that we say with a good heart, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will have no fear: what is man able to do to me?'” Hebrews 13:5-6
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Charlene Fletcher