Receiving Help

8 May

It turns out that receiving help is incredibly difficult. I’ve lent a helping hand or written a check before without ever thinking of how hard it was to be on the other end. I tried to empathize with what it would feel like to “need” help but I just never spent much time thinking about how it felt to get help.

What really hits home for me is that this must be how Kim feels every day. Up until now all the outside support has been focused directly towards helping Kim with her needs or supporting activities she finds difficult or impossible to do right now. We have had friends and members of our broader community put in the garden, offer massage therapy, prepare meals, clean, drive Kim to her therapy, teach us how to do the injections and infusions ourselves, and the list goes on and on. Every day I help Kim with almost every aspect of daily life – it is our new normal, but of course “normal” is a moving target with ALS so as soon as we figure out one routine we need to adjust to a new one.

Yesterday one of Kim’s close friends asked for our contact list to promote a fundraising event ( to help pay for the cost of managing Kim’s ALS (meds, doctor visits, adaptive equipment, etc.). Like so many offers to help I was grateful and a bit overwhelmed by her generosity. It wasn’t until I got the first email letting me know donations had already been made that I felt the flood of emotion that comes with being helped – gratitude for sure, but also waves of angst as I am left desperately wishing I could do this on my own or immediately pay the generosity forward. I suppose that is pride, maybe arrogance, or at a minimum a tug towards balancing the good karma coming our way, but whatever it is this experience has already taught me a valuable lesson about giving and receiving. Like so many moments since the diagnosis, this one brought me a little closer to understanding Kim.

Allowing other people to help you takes more grace, patience, openness and trust than I ever imagined and Kim must do this dozens of times every day.  Each act of assistance helps Kim get from point A to point B in her daily life, and too often that has been my only focus. It takes nothing short of a deep physical, emotional and spiritual practice to manage all the turmoil that come with letting others care for us.


2 Responses to “Receiving Help”

  1. Rhonda Kowalski-Oltz May 8, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Whether it was after my dad had his first stroke, or his heart surgeries, or flat-lined, or was in the final stages of kidney disease which ultimately took his life, I felt the same way when people would offer to help. Whether it was the baseball team coming over to do the yardwork he couldn’t do, or a basketball game where donations were made to cover medical expenses, or all the love and support we received after he passed. It was always hard for him because he was always the provider, the protector, always giving, never receiving. If I learned anything during his struggle, it was a blessing to have so many people who gave whatever they could – a hug, a smile, money, time, etc. that made all the difference in the world. It shows how loved you are. That you are always on the thoughts of other people. And I have no doubt that I can’t even imagine the number of lives you, Kim and Jack have touched and all the love and support you’re feeling is evidence of that.

  2. pam brandt May 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Your heartfelt words touched my soul. Goodness and kindness will blanket you through this journey. Bless you both. Love & Peace, Pam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: