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Helping Hands

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    Helping Hands

    One of the most difficult issues we as caregivers must come to grips with is learning how to accept help. When the days are too long, when frustrations mount, I try to reflect upon the many kindnesses that have been extended to my family. Perhaps we could share our stories... this is indeed common ground.

    My most poignant memory is Christmas day. My husband was moved out of ICU that morning onto the Neuro floor. His room was a huge corner suite at the end of the hall, a good thing too cause we were a rather boisterous group. It was the biggest Open House I have ever hosted and I never did prepare the food. Family, friends, and parishioners arrived throughout the day bearing gifts and hugs and very good cheer. Their visits continued through his hospital stay and their continued support unerring. We kelt blessed in their love and friendship.

    Accepting help

    Why is this so hard to do? I really had to learn to be gracious when Bri was injured. People so want to help, and I had to finally say, "Great; if you could do that, it would be wonderful...thanks." People were so concerned for us. Their responses to our situation made us realize how wonderful people can really be. One of my best memories was MaryAnne, the young girl who grew up next door to us. She's about 5 years older than my daughter, so Bri always looked up to her as a "big sister". MaryAnne showed up in Bri's ICU room with Christmas lights to string all around the room, posters, stuffed animals, you name it! This stuff followed Bri to rehab, too. She was just a breath of fresh air during a dark, grim time. She just came in, acknowledged the bad situation, and moved on...the first person to do that for Bri! She was always around, and a great comfort.
    "God warns us not to love any earthly thing above Himself, and yet He sets in a mother's heart such a fierce passion for her babes that I do not comprehend how He can test us so."
    ~Geraldine Brooks, "Year of Wonders"

    "Be kind...for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
    ~Philo of Alexandria


      helping hands

      Some of my most poignant memories are of my son's friends helping. My son was the manager of one of the 'punk-hardcore' bands when he was injured. He booked their shows, and traveled with them, and was known, along with the band, all over the east coast.

      When word got out of my son's injury, these young foks organized benefit concerts all over the east coast, to help raise money for my son. They raised over $50,000! We used the money to renovate our home in anticipation of my son's return from rehab.

      Those kids poured out their hearts and souls, and gave so much of themselves; I remember one letter we received from a 15 year old, who sent us $5, and said, 'this is all I can afford, but I hope it helps".

      Society has pegged these young folk with a lot of cruel labels - they look different - their music is like nothing anywhere! - most of them are vegetarians - they don't do drugs or alcohol (hmmm--sound like another era many of us are familiar with?!!) Yet, they gave so much of themselves to help us out. My hat is off to them, and I've never looked at someone with a ring in their nose in quite the same way! [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]


        Accepting Help With Grace

        I think they key to accepting help with grace is to put yourself in the position of the person offering help.

        If you or I saw someone who needed help, we'd want to give it. We'd feel we should, for whatever reasons, one of which is it satisfies something within us -- a need to be human, perhaps, to help out another human being, to feel we're the kind of person who cares about others. We feel good when we help another, and when that help is refused, we often become angry. That anger is only the protective brick and mortar we lay over the deeper, fundamental emotional response, which is we feel hurt by the person's refusal to accept our help. "No good deed goes unpunished..."

        People need to help. When we accept that instinct, and when we recognize it within ourselves, I think we're better able to receive assistance with grace. Receiving help isn't an admission that we're not handling things ourselves, although we may be stretched to the limit. It isn't an admission of weakness. But we must surrender a good deal of pride sometimes to accept assistance.

        It comes down to this acknowledgement, I think: Accepting help offered to us out of kindness is to do a favor not only for ourselves and the person for whom we're caring, even if that person's us; accepting help is to give that person offering the help a gift in return, which is enabling them to feel good about themselves, that they have helped. It's a little nugget of righteous self-worth that can never be taken away, that they will always carry with them, the knowledge that at least this one time in their lives, they did something truly good and kind for someone who needed it. Their reward is that feeling, and our thanks.


          Accepting Help

          Stick you have nailed it on the head. During the first few months after my sons accident, the outpouring was immense. I told a fellow who had tirelessly helped with the remodel of my house that he and others had done enough and that I truly felt guilty for all they had accomplished. He replied: "please don't deny myself and others the great feelings that come with helping others". Learning to accept help, is alot like teaching yourself to have patients it takes a little practice. The best reward we can give someone who try's to help or wants to help whether we need it or not is, simply gracious appreciation.