Daily Archives: May 27, 2014

“If There’s Anything I Can Do…”

First I want to apologize. This is to those readers who – whether or not it’s actually true – claim they can’t get through their Tuesdays without a new 50 Good Deeds post. I’m sorry for the silence.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been focused on my husband’s unexpected health crisis, 10-day hospitalization and subsequent recovery. Pretty much everything else – writing, working, socializing, exercising, lawn-mowing, vaccuuming, sleeping and at times even basic nutrition and personal hygiene – fell to the wayside.

It was a challenging period. But we’re richer for the experience, of course, because even hard times have bright spots. For us, it was the love, support and practical hands-on assistance we received throughout my husband’s illness.

There were wonderful doctors, nurses and health care assistants, naturally. But there were also steadfast family members who took shifts at my husband’s bedside and did our errands. There were a great many friends, neighbours and colleagues who took in the dog, ran out for groceries, picked our daughter up from lessons, made soup, offered to cut our grass, called and texted to check in, and drove me from home to hospital and back again so many times that I truly believe I’m singlehandedly responsible for a fresh pair of ruts in the road.

I didn’t ask for most of these favours.

When we’re hit with hurdles, the folks who care about us often entreat us to “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” The fact is, there’s usually lots they can do. But for those of us in crisis, it’s not always so easy to tell people, “I need soup,” or “can you take my daughter to dance class?”

It’s hard to ask for help at the best of times. We worry that we’re imposing, that it’s out of your way. We honestly don’t expect you to put your life on hold just because ours is. (And it seems irrelevant that we’d do (or have done) the same for you.)

Don’t get the wrong idea. Even the “let-me-know” sentiment is deeply appreciated, because it demonstrates that you are thinking of us, and sincerely yearning to help us. But please know that if I never got back to you with a specific assignment, it may have been because I was distracted or sleep-deprived, I was worried about asking too much, or I had a kadzillion other details to keep track of.

In the aftermath of all of this, I feel fortunate. I am incredibly thankful for every single expression of love and support.

But I have to say… I’m even more indebted to those who just went ahead and made the damn soup.

Everyone needs a cheeky kid to cheer up their hospital room. This one helped me brighten her dad’s bulletin board, then photobombed my attempt to capture it for posterity.

Everyone needs a cheeky kid to cheer up their hospital room. This one helped me brighten her dad’s bulletin board, then photobombed my attempt to capture it for posterity.