Dear Lord, I have no Internet. Again. And no 3G reception. Evidently, it’s near killing me. Telstra promises three days at the most. Here’s hoping.
Please enjoy this post I slaved over in Word.
Two things happened rather successively the other day. I decided, with the assurance of my shrink, that most people are fuckwits. Charlie the shrink assures me that this is not only true, it’s a common conclusion reached by people who have been bereaved, especially traumatically.
Charlie the shrink did, however, warn me against getting bitter. Warned me to remind myself that there are good people out there, who are not fuckwits. People who are brave, and good, and loving and strong and awesome.
He’s absolutely correct. So it was a very good thing when I came home and read this post, Practical Kindness, by the lovely Seraphim. It restored my faith in things a bit. And reminded me Ive been meaning to blog this for a while now.
What is real, practical kindness? What helps, when nothing helps? Are words as good as acts, is the sentiment as good as the practicality?
As Sera mentioned, sometimes it’s the offers of help, that help. Just knowing that there are people around who have made that offer can relieve such a burden. You smile, and say “thank you, but we’ll be fine”, and you mean it.
Ans then there are times when you say “No, I’ll be fine,” and you don’t mean it. But you don’t want to take people up on those offers of help, and be a burden. You don’t want to call on people for help, and feel the humiliation of them saying no.
And sometimes, you just don’t know what to ask for. What can I do to help…? People would ask me. Nothing. Everything. I don’t know. All I knew was that was not I was not functioning, but I didn’t know what would be of assistance. And even if I did pinpoint those things, I would never know if I could ask, or not, if what I was asking for was too much trouble.
And that’s where certain awesome people came in. People like Aunty Mickey, who I’ve blogged many times before, who took me in and took care of me for a month after Tony died, doing simple things. Driving me around. Washing my clothes. Hugging me when I cried. Making sure I slept.
And then there is Sarie, who some of you know may know from Twitter. She showed up at my house every few days after Tony died, with food and love and open arms. She bought me boxes when I was packing, made me cocktails when I needed to get drunk. And just last week she sent me a bunch of flowers for no reason at all, other than she cared.
When I moved from the Purple House to Paradise, it was a quick decision. I made the call and moved within a fortnight. The task of packing and moving was enough to drown me. And so in came people- my mum, brother and his girlfriend, my friend the Kitten. hey packed the things that were too difficult for me to look at.
Not really, obviously. But it felt that way. The Bear organised a truck, packed me and moved me. Just like that. No stress, effort or worry on my part.
I wish I had the words to explain what an act that was, especially with a baby and house move of their on the way at the time. They took a task that was way too huge for me to even comprehend and made it easy and doable.
As I left my Purple House, the Bear looked me straight in the eye and said “Don’t look back.”
I didn’t. And it remains some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.
As I’ve said, so many times before… the help that is offered, it’s so often lip service that means nothing at all. Real help, practical, proper help… it’s much harder to come by. And it’s very difficult to ask for.
I know people worry about intruding, or stepping on toes, or insulting people by ‘barging in’, giving assistance where it’s not needed or wanted. But maybe that’s part of the problem, why we’re all so disconnected all the time. I couldn’t have asked for the help I needed… I didn’t know what I needed. It was the people who judged the situation, didn’t push the agenda, but offered help without expectation of return, without conditions or judgement… that was the best kind of help I could have been given.
I know it’s hard for some people who are close to me- some have ceased being close to me altogether (fuckwits). Charlie the psych had more to say on that, and I’ll blog it soon. These people- Sarie, Auntie Mickey, the Pixe and the Bear…. they were perfect. In the background, coming forward when they could sense I needed someone.
It was the best practical help anyone could ask for.