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What They Did

2010 April 5
by Pamela

Over the last few weeks we have been shown love so tangibly. Last night someone confided to me how she wanted to help another family but didn’t know what they needed. I thought it might be worth sharing some of the things that people did for us during Mary Claire’s hospitalizations in hopes that it will spur others on towards love and good deeds, as the book of Hebrews admonishes us to.

Sometimes, like my friend last night, we want to help but don’t know how. Most of the friends and family who did these things came up with the ideas themselves. That meant all the more. Nearly everyone says “Call me if you need anything”, which is great. But calling to say, “Can Elizabeth come over tomorrow after her nap and stay for dinner?” shows a different level of commitment, in my opinion. And I was so overwhelmed with needs that that extra bit of direction on the giver’s end was especially helpful. Here are some of the ways people showed love to us over the last two weeks:

1. Good friends that already had a relationship with Elizabeth watched her so we could take Mary Claire to the ER, run errands, get rest, and fill prescriptions.

2. Someone dropped a meal off, one that could be re-heated and eaten for several days. It came at the perfect time because we ended up in the hospital again the next day. It was so helpful to know that there was food at home for Bob to eat.

3. People called to check on us. I think most people (myself included) assume that you should leave the family alone in times of crisis, but I really appreciated the phone calls. I also appreciated the people who weren’t hurt if I wasn’t able to return the call immediately or visit for very long.

4. Several people risked infection and came to visit. They also risked looking stupid with a face mask on. I got very lonely at the hospital and it was gratifying to talk to another grown up.

5. Get well cards were sent to the house, which Mary Claire loved opening. She asked me to read them to her several times a day.

6. People made simple care packages with coloring books, painting supplies, play dough, crayons, and crafts that could be done in her hospital room.

7. Someone gave us a card with $40 in it. Her note said that she had been praying for us and guessed that our budget took a toll. How true that was! $5 a day for parking, extra gas money, extra prescription co-pays, and eating at the hospital all hit the budget hard. I would never in a million years have thought to send a card with money in it, but the money came at the perfect time and was really needed.

8. When Bob and Mary Claire were transported by ambulance to a second hospital, a friend drove Bob to the first ER to pick up his car.

9. Bob’s work sent a lunch meat tray on the day we got home from the hospital so we didn’t have to scrounge for lunches.

10. Friends picked up milk and a few miscellaneous items for us so the necessities were here when we got home.

11. I relayed pertinent information about Mary Claire to a friend who sent prayer requests and updates out to our church family.

12. Friends came to the hospital to entertain Mary Claire for an hour while I went to the cafeteria to eat dinner, return phone calls, and read a magazine. It was a much-needed break and one I wouldn’t have felt comfortable taking had she been alone.

I’ve also appreciated the friends and family who understood that coming home from the hospital did not mean that everything was fine. Our parent’s watched the girls in our home for several days afterwards so we could catch up on sleep and laundry. We’ve been home for over a week and are still so behind on our housework. Friends are still offering to help even now and the help is badly needed.

We are grateful for all of you. If you did one of the above, THANK YOU. We are humbled by your love.

Going through a crisis makes you stronger and teaches much about what suffering and service look like in real life. Thank you for teaching me.

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