In fact, it’s necessary.
It has been awhile since I’ve been motivated to sit down and write. That doesn’t mean the lessons are over. I’ve got plenty of them rolling around in my head and my heart. And what feels extremely liberating about my blog is that I have total control of what I share and when I share it. And what makes Lucy’s lessons so profound to me is that they speak to me, she speaks to me, in real time, even though she is gone. And this blog would not exist without a little help from my friends.
Recent events have inspired me to sit down and share another lesson that is long overdue. I don’t know why life is like this, but difficult things seem to happen in clusters. And lately, some really difficult life events have occurred to people that we know and love. And they need help. And that’s okay.
Why in the hell is it so difficult to ask for help when we need it? The first thing that we ask our friends, family, spouse, children, students when they are struggling is, “How can I help?” But yet, when we ourselves need help, it feels a bit shameful to ask for it. Maybe we feel a little guilt, like we are putting someone out or overstepping our boundaries.
We feel this way even though we usually don’t feel the same when we are the helper. We don’t feel like we are being taken advantage of. No, we just notice that someone else needs help, so we help them.
I shared a bit of this in one my first posts “If it’s in your heart, say it”. Our family and friends surrounded us once they knew about Lucy’s diagnosis. Actually, even before they knew they surrounded us with love and support, like we do for each other when a baby is born. Babies have that super power. They actually pull love out of people and then that love is magnified right before your eyes.
After we broke their hearts with the details of Lucy’s medical conditions, they literally ascended upon us with even more love and support. And what was strange to me at first, was struggling to accept that help. It’s so easy to say “no thanks” or “don’t worry about it” even “that’s okay”. But why? For what?
When I could no longer say “no thank you” because the load that I was carrying was too heavy to bear alone, I learned that it was okay. What we forget or don’t know yet, is that sometimes with just a little bit of help, we are able to do things that would otherwise have been impossible. Impossible and necessary at the same time.
And here’s the thing, we all need help at some point in our lives. And I would argue that if we asked for it more often when we needed it, we would all be better off. Because then we could truly reach our potential. Learn new things. Be more present. Share more memories. Get through this god forsaken life that is filled with pain, together. And with that help, we can experience joy in life. In a life that is complex and difficult.
Another thing that I’ve learned about asking for help is that you can also ask for it with little day to day things. It doesn’t always have to be when you are in the thick of one of life’s disasters.
Asking for help can improve your relationships. I think we’ve all experienced feeling a little resentful when a spouse or a child doesn’t do something we think they should do. We can harbor that resentment and “just do it ourselves” or we can just ask for help. It’s so simple. “Honey, would you mind _________?” “Child, please put your shoes in the closet where they belong”.
I know these are tiny little everyday examples, but they sure make my house happier. Just by asking for help. I’ve been teaching my daughter to do this since before she could talk, so why wouldn’t I live this lesson too?
Now I do. And it is still difficult sometimes. But I accept help and acknowledge with gratitude. And look for the chance to reciprocate.
So the next time you find yourself needing help, whether it’s for something big or small, just ask. And who knows what you will be able to do then?!
This memory is a perfect example. If you had any idea what we went through this day. I woke up with the crazy idea of taking everyone to the zoo! Just to have the experience and memory of a walk around the zoo with both of my daughters.
My aunt rode in the backy-back of my SUV. (she's over 60) My mom rescued my 3 year old from being trapped in a 3 dimensional maze crawling with 3rd graders in a summer camp program. And then her shoes. Someone paid for parking. Someone else rescued my three old from trying to jump in the "pool" with the sea lions. There's more but I will spare the innocent involved too much embarrassment.
Could I have managed this day alone, no way! So I asked for help, and we did it. And this is the only day of my life where I got to take both my girls to the zoo. I will never forget it.
All because I asked for help.
My name is Lou and I am a mom of two girls living outside of Chicago. I never would have imagined this, but our oldest daughter is at home and our youngest is not. She will be in our hearts forever. Lucy was an amazing soul and we continue to learn lessons from her today.