grief · Travel · Uncategorized

Saying Yes To Help

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Allow people to help.

As soon as Marcus died and I could catch my breath, I started the most daunting task of my life: telling people. How do you even begin that conversation? This is something so horrifying, so shocking, and so unexpected. I texted my best friend because I simply couldn’t speak to call her. I texted her that the worst thing in the world has happened. Ominous, I know. Then she called me. Her first reaction was to drive to New Hampshire to be with me, but I told her to not worry about it. I don’t want to be an imposition, right? I’ll be fine. I mean, my life is literally crumbling beneath my feet, but I’m fine. I had no idea how to even say yes to her help.

Stop. That. Right. Now.

She called me back and said she was on her way.

And THAT is what friends do. They are there when you need them. Or when you don’t know you need them. They are there when you try and push them away or don’t want to be an imposition.

I am very independent and I feel guilty accepting help. It is still hard for me to accept, but I’ve learned a lot on the subject. People want to help, and saying yes to their help not only helps me, but it helps them.

This year my mom’s club gifted my kids Christmas. I’m talking over the top, extravagant amount of gifts, iPads, and a vacation. Like the generosity that is beyond words. But now that I am a month past Christmas and able to digest how that helped me, it was invaluable. I didn’t have to even think about buying a single gift (sorry, friends and family, but not a single person got a gift this year…). I was able to be present with my kids. I was able to make Christmas as magical as I had the energy for. It allowed me to be super attentive to Scarlett’s grief, which was really intense in December.

On top of that, a sweet friend organized daily acts of love leading up to and beyond the one year mark. I have received so many cards, gift cards, edible arrangements, and sweet friends offering to watch the kids for me to do whatever I need.

Then, the evening I got home from my California vacation in January (yet another blessing from a family member), I walked into my dark and empty house to see dust on my kitchen floor. I immediately sensed something was wrong. It smelled different (and I mean beyond the rotted food I hadn’t had time to clear out before I left).

I began to turn some lights, only to discover that my house had been broken into.

But, I found out, it was for a good reason. My dad, brother in law, and good friend had surprised me by completing the backsplash in my kitchen. My kitchen has been in a state of renovation for the majority of this year, and I have been waiting (patiently?) for help from family and friends to complete it. To arrive home from an amazing trip and be surprised with work done for me just made me sob as soon as I realized what had happened. Such sweet kindness to think of my needs and intentionality to bless me when I least expected it!

So while gifts and acts of service might seem menial for the giver, just know how valuable it is for the receiver. I have learned that saying yes to help allows others into my grief and assist in my healing. Their helping is their healing too. And their loving on me is showing me God’s love for us. And I have learned first hand that when I help people, when I feel like I have dome sort of purpose when life seems crazy, I feel a peace.

Your support makes the grieving feel less stressed.

Your friendship makes the wounded feel loved.

Your time and attention makes the hurting feel seen.

I have tried to think of an adequate way to say thank you. And nothing I can think of can even touch the amount of care for us. My community is present, they are loving, and they are generous.

So if you’ve been there for me, thank you. If you have prayed for us, thank you. If you have given a meal or a gift or watched my kids, thank you. I can’t do it without you. You have taught me to say yes, and the value of a village.

I updated the blog with the final tally of states I ran in last year! I am so happy I was able to adventure so much and experience so many new places. Check here to see where I ended up!

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2 thoughts on “Saying Yes To Help

  1. Nicole. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your husband. I lost mine a few months before. There is a vast difference in our ages and I can hardly imagine what it is like for you and your children. That first years is such a struggle. I was so disappointed to miss your talk at CBC’s ladies Christmas party. I wanted to know how you live life joyfully and now I find myself finding joy and realize that it’s been there all along. This is a path no one wants to ever walk. I only had my husband for 14 years but they were the happiest we had never known. And like you, I know I will see again. I am amazed at your strength and I pray for you often. God has put a calling on my life and I am working to fulfill it. Please know that no matter what our age difference is and the responsibilities we have, God is good and we feel the same pain of grief
    . I am glad you are learning to accept gifts because even though they come from friends, they are really from God. Life can be so lonely without our husbands, but I know Jesus is always with us. I just wanted to touch base with you as I know you go to Calvary Bible Church also. May God bless you and your children and may you always be open to His leading. With the love of Jesus and prayers – Sharon Smith

    1. Oh Sharon you bless me! Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry for your loss. The pain is unimaginable. But I am so thankful for God and his unfailing love and grace! And because of that we have joy. The peace that passes all understanding. And I praise Him for that!!!

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