Thursday, May 15, 2014

D Blog Week, Day 4: Help

Today's topic was suggested by yours truly: "Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?"  I kinda went another way with this.  I thought about what I did that helped me get through these past two years the most.  This is what came to mind:

Before I lost Ryan, I never asked anyone for help.  Well, except Ryan.  I never reached out.  I never made suggestions for a night on the town…unless I was with Ryan.

I was born a stubborn, independent human being.  My mother would swear under oath that this is true.  I would rather suffer and muddle through on my own steam, rather than reach out for a lifeline…that I had to ask for.

But then I lost Ryan.  And I realized that standing on my own had lost its power.  If anything, I was making my life more miserable by insisting I weather the storm on my own.  For a while, I stood firm.  I was alone on Friday nights.  Well, I have four boys, I wasn’t alone per se, but I was lonely.  I had things fall apart in my house and I would adjust my world to work around them rather than ask for help to have them fixed.

Asking for help went against my grain.  It was weakness, and it was embarrassing.  I didn’t want to be “The Widow who needs help.”

I still don’t…


Lonliness is all consuming.  It can ruin you if you think you are alone and on your own.  My sister in law saved me after Ryan passed by sleeping on my couch every day for three months, and still to this day staying over three nights a week to watch TV with me, and take away that loniliness variable.

I didn’t ask her to do that though, so it was easy.

Slowly though, I’ve begun asking friends if they want to see a movie.  Go to dinner.  See a show.

Slowly, I’ve asked for help fixing electrical problems, plumbing problems, watering system problems.

Slowly, hesitantly, cautiously, I asked the church for help. 

And when I asked, I was provided for.  And people were wonderful, and happy they could do something for me, and gracious and lovely.  And my life was completely blessed because I asked.

I don’t look at asking as weakness anymore.

I see it as doing something brave.

No.  It’s not easy for me to do.  Yes. I have to work up the courage to do it.  Yes. I have a ceiling fan in my garage I bought a year ago to replace the broken one in the living room, and I haven't worked up the courage to ask someone to install it for me...

But putting myself out there has never let me down.  Never.

Turns out, people want to help.  They just don’t know how.  And sometimes they just don’t know that going out for a quick piece of pie can completely change my week.

If you are overwhelmed, reach out.

Reach out to your friends online and get advice.

Reach out to your neighbors.

Reach out to your friends.

Reach out to your church.

Reach out to your spouse.

I’m sorry, but you can’t do it all alone.  Well, you CAN.  But you can’t find true happiness that way.

I believe we are all here to find joy in our circumstance, and I believe the best way to do that is by taking off our blinders and helping eachother out.

Whether it be an ear to listen.

A mouth to speak.

A heart to love.

An arm to hug.

A body to work.

Whatever it is.  Giving help, and even accepting help is humanity at it’s finest.

I had to learn this lesson with God too.  I had to open up to him and ask him for help and I promise you he has always provided.  Always.

That’s how I’ve gotten through the past two years.  It isn’t easy, but it’s always been worth it.  I know this is a big problem in our community.  At some point we feel like we need to take the world and hoist it on our shoulders.

The world is much lighter if there is another shoulder there bearing the weight.  Give it some thought, and consider letting someone help you out with your burdens.  Maybe you'll get a glimpse of what I have witnessed.  

If you do get that glimpse...get ready to smile again.


  1. Meri - I know that our situations are so very different that we could never imagine being in the others' footsteps, but what I can relate to is being stubborn and feeling strange about asking for help. I've been on my own after the end of my marriage for three years and while I asked for help at the very beginning, I had a difficult time accepting help after the initial fallout. Only in the past few months as I realized how destructive this was to my health to take everything on, did I decide to start opening myself up and it has made a huge difference.

  2. I find it interesting that when we do something for others (such as our kids) knowing we would never 'do it' for ourselves; after a while we look back and realize that we have crossed a bridge we had no idea we crossed until we crossed it. In doing for others, we do for ourselves. I think of many things when I think of you, your life, and your family and to be quite candid........weak is just a word never EVEN thought. How fortunate that you have such a strength as your inner circle. Thank you, again, for sharing some thoughts that many others would not. Another strength of yours is teaching and reminding us.

  3. Been there. I lost my first husband suddenly at the age of 42 with 4 kids, 3 still at home. It is so difficult to ask for help. I'm glad that you got past that and are finding your way again. Hugs.

  4. Meri,
    This brought tears to my eyes. Thank You!

  5. Excellent way to describe it Meri. And from someone who's been on the other side of the equation more than once: The two biggest reasons I don't help more is 1) People don't ask, and 2) When I offer, people don't accept. We're only community when we work together. How it happens doesn't matter. The only shame is when something doesn't happen that could happen.

  6. Lovely, Meri and your post brought tears to my eyes. I think that you should write a book (in all of your free time!) to share your story as well of your words of love for your family, your trust in God, and your wisdom about life in general. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  7. Community = moral of the story. We can stand on our own at times, but having a village of people to rely on and help when we need it is irreplaceable. And being able to recognize when we need help and to ask for it... yep, that too. Thanks for this post, Meri.

  8. I am finally catching up with you, Meri, after probably most of those 2 years. I know that one of my biggest flaws, which is pointed out frequently (by my most loving supporters) is not coming out and asking for help. Or if I do, it is when by hook or by crook I have worked myself into a meltdown trying to do it myself. (I actually had a ceiling fan thing, too!) And I also delay in asking it from God instead of going to Him first. But recently I started asking Him, and others, not just to come to the rescue, but to begin that give and take which StephenS mentioned above which ends up being in a word, BLESSING. So glad that you are moving along in this and so glad that you shared!


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