Tidings of comfort and joy were in short supply over the Christmas holiday period for Waikanae pensioner Marjorie Evans.
Her phone lay silent for days and she was left to contemplate the terrible prospect that her family had forgotten about her.
They, meanwhile, were getting increasingly worried about what had happened to the 85-year-old because their phone calls were going unanswered.
By Boxing Day, they were concerned enough to call neighbours and to get the police around to check on her.
As it turned out, she was fine, but was unaware of a fault stemming from powerline maintenance in Winara Ave that left her without power to her phone for about a week.
"I just couldn't believe it," Mrs Evans said. "I thought my family had had enough of me. They don't love me any more.
"It was a horrible thought. It's taken me a couple of days to get over it."
The ordeal was quite distressing, she said, and she felt lines company Electra should have checked her phone was working again after it carried out maintenance work outside her home on December 19.
"They should realise there are people around my age down this street and they need to be checked just to make sure everything is working."
Mrs Evans' niece, Jill Cameron, who lives in New Plymouth, said the wider family had found it worrying when calls on Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day went unanswered.
"She could have been lying injured in the garage for all we knew."
The incident had been particularly tough on Mrs Evans' son Mark, who spent two days trying to call his mother from his home in Hawaii, she said.
Kapiti Coast Grey Power president Trevor Daniell said it was probably unrealistic for Electra to be checking every house after maintenance work, as sometimes power could be cut to thousands of houses.
But he said Mrs Evans' experience was a good reminder to elderly people living alone that they should always check their phones were working after a power cut, especially if it was their only means of communication in an emergency.
"Perhaps it also emphasises the need for everybody around her age to have someone ring them up every day or two to check on them."
No-one from Electra was available for comment yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging