Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

"Call Me If You Need Anything"

Monday, February 11, 2013
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I’m sure we’ve all heard these words more times than we can count.  Immediately after Kevin’s death, I was overwhelmed with help.  Offers from friends, family, neighbors, even total strangers.   I can remember standing at Kevin’s wake and having dozens of people repeat that same line.  I felt reassured.  Certain that I would not walk this path alone.  Let’s be honest – it’s just what people say, when they don’t know what to say at all. 

Of course the potential helper means well.  I’d imagine they’d be happy to help you if you were to pick up the phone and ask for their help with whatever it is you need help with at the moment.  But, if you’re anything like me, you will never call to ask anyone for anything.  I want to. But I just can’t seem to do it. 

There are things that you can’t call people for.  Hey, you, guy who came to my husband’s wake – could you please be a positive male role model for my son?  And you, other guy, could you teach the other one how to ride a bike, fix a car and be a man? 

There are things that you CAN call people for.  Snow shoveling, childcare, help with home repairs.   Take advantage of those offers.  People really want to help you.  And if you don’t accept their help, they will stop offering.  I learned that one the hard way.

I no longer need the same kind of help that I needed when Kevin first died, and the kids were babies.  I don’t have to wait until they are asleep to shovel the snow.  We’ve moved past diapers and into homework now, and there are times when I feel like I might actually have this new life under control.  But what I need now is more than just help around the house. 

It takes a village to raise a child.  I believe that.  But who do you call when you are looking to supplement your village?  I need people in my children’s lives who genuinely care about them.  I need them to know that they have more than just me in this world.  I don’t need someone to ‘take them off my hands.’  I need people to love them, guide them, know them and support them.   People who want to spend time with them.  People who can give them pieces of their father in ways I can’t. 

Anyone have the number for that?


Laura. Exactly. Exactly.

This was one of the first things I learned not to say to a grieving person once I became widowed. It truly is just a filler for those who don't know what to say. I now try to offer something specific to that person, help with food, phone numbers and helpful websites, a ride somewhere etc and I am sincere when I say it. When all else fails, I offer a hug, sometimes that helps tremendously.

True. But I can't even call for the things that people can help with. I feel like I'm being such a burden!

Well said, Laura! I had a hard time asking for help in the early days, and now the offers have pretty much dried up.

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