I don’t like to let people help me with the hard stuff. I get that from my mom and from my dad. We ask for help with the small tasks. For the hard stuff, we ask for help only after we’ve struggled silently with it, and it has consumed our minds or upset our bodies. I share my mom’s “nervous stomach.” We both would worry silently until it manifested into sharp, doubling over stomachaches. I share my dad’s chronic 4am wake up calls, where our brains turn on and won’t shut off. Usually it’s an endless doomsday loop of things we can’t possibly do anything about while laying on our backs in bed in the middle of the night, yet we are unable to stop the mental movie from playing.
I’m trying to get better.
There is a woman named Barb who works at the home where my mom lives. Her job is to take the residents to their medical and dental appointments. She drives a big, white, oversized, wheelchair-accessible van with the name of the home proudly displayed across the side. Barb is an explosion of energy. She moves patients in the deep heat of mid-summer, and she transports patients in the slushy, snowy days of mid-winter. All of those residents with their different ailments, different needs, different abilities, Barb knows them all and she accommodates them. It’s her job and she is very good at it.
I have it in my head that I need to take my mom to all her appointments. It’s only been in the last year I have been better about working with my brother and sister-in-law to have a plan for the three of us to take mom to all her appointments. Still I’ll agonize over an upcoming doctor’s appointment, trying to rework and rework my schedule to be able to take her. When I can’t, I call my brother and, less and less reluctantly these days, ask him for help. When neither of us can, I call Barb, and apologetically ask for her help. From the other end of the phone, Barb’s cheerfulness is disarming. Of course she will! And she usually has a little story to tell me about my mom before she hangs up.
I couldn’t make a doctor’s appointment this week and Barb took mom. Today in the mail, was the following note from one of the people who works in the front office of the home. I assume Barb showed her this when she returned from mom’s appointment. And I was reminded that sometimes when you ask for help, something happens that is bigger than you could have accomplished on your own.
I need to ask for help with the big, important stuff. I’m working on it.