Monday, April 11, 2011


Bear with me. These ideas and questions aren't really fully formed. I just want to get them out of my head.

I have been thinking about helping, but unsure how to write about these thoughts. Here's why (and I'm purposely remaining vague on the details, because this isn't exactly my story to tell, just my side of someone else's story):

On Saturday morning at a little after 7:00 I got a call from a friend who needed to go to the hospital; she needed help. She needed help right away.
It was her idea. It was a good idea.
I took her and we waited and waited and talked to a few people and it was decided she would stay. I was with her for most of the day and another friend was there for the later part of the day and we talked and held hands. Yesterday was more of the same.

How do you help your friends through something? Obviously, you should be there when they ask. You can drive her where she needs to go, and hold her hand, and talk to doctors, and find out what's taking so long, and guard the bathroom when she's in there because there's no lock, and your other friend cab bring burritos. These are the easy things - well - they don't always feel easy at the time, but the decisions to do these things are easy. You help someone because you love them. And you try to help shoulder whatever burden your loved ones carry.

Can't I do more? Isn't there any one job I can take on that will make things easier?

I certainly don't need for anyone to tell me that I'm doing all I can; or that these small things make a difference. I know the dealio. I just wish that I and other friends could do some of the work when a friend is having a hard time. You know? Ration out the hard stuff...?

Ugh. I warned you: ideas not fully formed. That's what you get for reading.


Just Another Idealist said...

Thew helping you did IS the most important part of helping--the BEING there. There may be a few other things, but that is the biggest thing. For shiz.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm at least a little bit qualified to speak to this.

I wish I had something coherent to say.

Mostly, I think it depends on the person, and it depends on what kind of help they need.

For me, the most important thing was usually that people were paying attention... that they noticed when I needed help, or when I wasn't doing very well. Even if there wasn't anything they could do, the noticing meant a lot.

But... people differ. And cases differ.

So, I dunno. It's a hard problem.

Anonymous said...

The most important part is being there. Both answering the phone and coming when you can and also remembering that it doesn't necessarily stop when the hospital visit is over--being there on an ongoing basis.

But there are often other things that need doing. Being a patient advocate, giving rides, organizing food, offering to deal with other parts of lifestyle maintenance. Keeping a stash of cat videos and other funny links to distract your friend when she needs to think about something else. Doing research to help understand options. The list can go on and on, but it's not the same list for everyone in every crisis. That list starts and ends with "being there".

die Frau said...

I have to agree with the others, the being there. Even if it's leaving phone messages or sending stupid, funny links or something else small if you can't physically be there. It's about acknowledging that you will do what you can from where you are, as much as that person needs you to.