If you take away the extravagance of turkeys, tinsel and trees, Christmas is about community. Sharing love and gifts and moments of laughter. To connect with others is a primal need. To be deprived of this is isolating.

For those with terminal illness, Christmas is more than just a gathering: faces around a dining table, gift exchanges and smiles. It is a chance to make memories they may never experience again. The painful reality for those living with terminal conditions like motor neurone disease (MND) is that they simply don’t know if they’ll make it to another Christmas.

With the announcement of new tier four restrictions imposed on south east England last week, the possibility of savouring what might be the last festive period with family has been unfairly taken away for many.


“The hardest part of living with a terminal illness is the thought that everything could potentially be the last time. The most important of these is being connected to seeing family and friends. We treasure each moment of contact with these individuals and not being able to do so due to Covid 19 has been really very hard to bear. Significantly, although many of us are not totally alone, it can feel really lonely.”


ANON – living in Tier 4 with terminal cancer.


Granted, Covid-19 and its new mutant strain pose a serious threat to public health, one which is exacerbated for those with MND, which in itself has respiratory complications. Suffice it to say, risking infection through travel or mass gatherings is in no way a wise choice. But, the chance to see loved ones has benefits on mental health, which is being swept under the rug in this pandemic. Living alone is already hard enough with the lingering pang of loneliness setting in from the first two lockdowns. Nine million of us today describe ourselves as lonely. To see out the rest of 2020 without interaction with loved ones is likely to tip many over the edge.

If you are experiencing loneliness, low moods or you are concerned about getting through the holidays, charities like the MND Association, Marie Curie and the Samaritans are here to support your wellbeing. They provide support services from a listening ear on the end of a phone to forums for emotional support.

Links for support:

MND Association: https://www.mndassociation.org/about-mnd/coronavirus-and-mnd/

Marie Curie: https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/coronavirus/christmas-coronavirus

The Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/