Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ A Response to Ali's Blog

This week over on Ali Cross' blog, she blogged about "Call Me If You Need Anything." I thought about leaving a long comment but didn't. I'll do it here today instead. It is a rant of sorts, so be warned.  It wouldn't be a Thursday Turmoil if it wasn't. It may sound like I've got a chip on my shoulder, please be aware that I don't. I'm just giving the other side's view.

Do you know how many people have made this comment to me over the past ten years since my husband got sick and the year since my stroke... everyone that knew our circumstances. When you consider the congregation at church (not only mine but other ten churches), the hospital that I was on pastoral staff, courthouses that I helped at a moment's notice, all the local groups such as writers and businesses, foundations, ministry, work related, co-workers, etc not to mention friends of our family, it tallies up to a quarter of million times. No, that's not an exaggeration.

The little devil on my shoulder wants to answer dripping with sarcasm...
NEED ANYTHING? For my DH (darling hubby) Got a cure for cancer handy? Stop his pain. Or maybe you can restore my husband to his former robust self. For me, it's give me back the use my arm, wrist, hand and fingers, or make me walk without a AFO and cane, or maybe restore my mind to pre-stroke status. But no, I flick the devil off and answer that there isn't anything they can do for us and there isn't as far as those needs are concerned.

Now I know all these people will help IF- A) there was anything I truly needed, and/or B) if they have the time. Some would even stop what they were doing to help. All I have to do is ask and there's the problem. I have to remember who offered what, find their telephone number, match my need to their schedule and then if they can't go down the list to find someone who can. That's a lot of talking on the phone for someone like me with aphasia and no short term memory.


Now, I understand people saying this because they don't know what to say to you. I understand they mean well and are genuine in their offer of help. I also understand they have their own lives and I don't want to be a burden. This isn't a slap in the face to those that offered or didn't offer help.

My children and grandchildren are different. They know my house is a diaster area waiting on a condemned sign with half finished renovation projects. Clothes piled up yeah high, a sink with dirty dishes, floors scattered with debris because I didn't have the energy to vacuum because I used the last ounce I had taking care of my husband. "Gee whiz Grandma, let me carry out that bag of trash to the dumpster for you" type thing. "Can I roll it out to the street for you?" They all see me at least once a week. Besides, they owe me.

Not that others don't owe me as well, they do. But I never intended on collecting on those debts. I've always been generous to those in need even now even if it's a listening ear or sage bit of wisdom. Worse comes to worse the least I can do is pray.

The other well meaning statement I often hear is, "You're doing so much better than the last time I
saw you." The last time you saw me was when I was in the hospital just after my stroke or right after I got out when I couldn't talk, barely swallow, couldn't walk, or barely lift my head. Well doh! I've worked hard this year. I've worked harder than when I was holding down a full time and a part time jobs, raising four children alone, and going to college learning how to do something else with my life. The achievements and modifications I've made in the past year in our lives, 99% was because I HAD to take care of myself and my husband with children, their spouses and grandchildren thrown into the mix...just like y'all. Life does go on so long as we're above ground. The only thing I could do was go on.

For this I honestly thank y'all. I wouldn't have gained so much if y'all had of helped me do everything. But getting back to Ali's post for a minute. The gist of her post was not to offer help, but act. I agree with this wholeheartedly. If you are going shopping, call and ask me if I want to go or need anything from the store. Cook an extra plate or two of food and bring it by. It won't be turned down. Drop a card in the mail when you think of us.(Please something besides bills and AT&T ads) Most times when people ask me if I need anything, I can't think of anything at the moment. Maybe a card with your phone number on it and what you are willing to do would be helpful.

And to all those gentel, southern gentlemen who rush to open doors for me...thank you. A word of caution though. If I've propped my cane on my arm and am pushing on the door, please don't push the door open for me. I'm using it for support and balance.

Thanks for listening.


 

2 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Most of the time when asked that question, people not only can't think of anything but they don't want to impose by supplying an answer. It's the rare, special person who interprets a need an acts on it.

J.L. Murphey said...

Alex,
It's the little things that mean so much. All it takes is a little forethought...if I was in their shoes what would I need help with. Things that stand out in my mind are the cards with little notes inside. Plates of food that are brought to the house from Wednesday Night suppers at the church. One of my neighbors realizing that I couldn't use the riding lawn mower cut my grass in the front yard. It helps you feel you are not alone.