I've said more than once that I didn't like to ask for help, partly because I didn't want to bother other people and partly because I've always been a very independent person who likes to take care of things myself. I finally learned however that help was going to come from others whether I asked for it or not. Now I am grateful that it did because it was the little things others did for me without my asking that helped me the most. At the time, I didn't even realize that what some people were doing would prove to be a help in my effort to move forward with my life. I now know it is true that it's the little things in life that mean the most ...
Eddie and I shared a closet in our bedroom for all of our hanging clothes. After his death, I couldn't stand to walk into that closet to get myself something to wear. When I did, I was overwhelmed by the sight and smell of his clothes hanging there. I finally reached a point where I just quit going into the closet and resorted to wearing only those things I kept in my dresser drawers. I mentioned this to my mother, so one evening when she was at my house she volunteered to move Eddie's clothes to the closet in the guest bedroom. She knew I wasn't ready to get rid of his things, so she didn't suggest giving them away, just moving them. She told me to find something else to do while she moved them so that I didn't have to watch or see them. This wasn't easy for her to do because she was hurting over Eddie's death also, but she did it to help me. It only took 15-20 minutes, but this small gesture made a big difference for me.
I mentioned in an earlier entry how much the sympathy cards I received meant to me because they showed that others had cared about Eddie and allowed me to share others' thoughts about him. Those cards didn't continue coming forever, though. I remember how sad it was the first time I went to the mailbox and found that there weren't any cards there. My routine of taking them to the rocker on the front porch and reading them ended without warning. I never said anything to anyone about this, but to my surprise a few days later I received a card from my friend Peggy. It wasn't a sympathy card from someone who wanted to share memories of Eddie. It was a "Thinking of You" card from someone who cared about me, and they continued to come about once a week for a long time. Sometimes there was a note included, sometimes it was just an inspirational card, but it always lifted my spirits. Over time the cards came less often, but to this day (over two years later) they still come occasionally. I can't even put into words how much this small act of kindness has meant to me!
Sometimes help came in the form of another person making me do something I didn't really think I wanted to do. I've already said that I don't garden or do yard work. That didn't stop my friend Janie from making me get out and plant flowers one afternoon though. I remember being especially down the day she came to my house. I was just sitting on the couch watching TV, still in my pajamas. She had called and told me she was coming, but I was determined that when she got there I was not going out to plant any flowers. When she came in she refused to take no for an answer. She made me get up and get dressed. She had already been to the store and bought the flowers and potting soil, so I couldn't argue that I didn't have anything to plant. We planted flowers around my mailbox, and put the extras in pots all around my deck. It couldn't have taken more than an hour, but it apparently had an effect on me because now every spring I go out and buy flowers to put around the mailbox and on the deck without anyone making me!
Over time I've learned that whether you want it or not, help is going to come. It will come in different forms and often when it is least expected. Sometimes you won't even know until much later that something was actually helpful, so it pays to be open to others and what they want to do for you. It took time for me to understand and accept this, but now that I have I see what a blessing the help of others can be.
"Be on the lookout for mercies. The more we look for them, the more of them we will see. Blessings brighten when we count them." -Maltie D. Babcock