Monday, November 21, 2005

Name them one by one. . .

Friday afternoon I received a disturbing phone call. The husband of a gal I grew up with here in Lincoln (she was just a couple years ahead of me in YW) had died. She is now a widow at the age of 33, with 6 kids. The details of what happened are still unknown. The autopsy was supposed to be happening today. The initial guess was perhaps a staph infection from a surgery he had on Tuesday to amputate a finger he had injured. My heart aches for her. Of course I tried to imagine myself in that situation. Her oldest is 13 I think. He is in a wheelchair from having cerebral palsy due to a premature birth. Her youngest is a girl just a few months older than my Whitney. Most of the day on Saturday as I played with my kids and watched Matt play with them, I was thinking of this poor family, completely broken apart.

As I pulled into the parking lot for 9am church, I noticed her getting out of her van. She's not in our ward, but her mother is, and I guess they all had stayed at her mom and dad's for the weekend. I don't know her very well, except for hellos here and there if we see each other, but as a mother and a wife I knew I had to try to do something. I had gone over in my head anything I could do for her. . . groceries, a meal, a package of diapers, babysitting, but it all just seemed useless. I needed to get inside to get some things done with my new calling, but that all would have to wait. I rushed over to her van, as she was helping unload her oldest son with his wheelchair. As I approached she asked how I was. Me?? I said I certainly didn't care how I was, how was she??? I hugged her for some time and told her to please tell me if there was anything I could do. She said "well, I don't even know what I'm doing." I hugged her again, and said it would probably be a while and that was ok. I picked up her sleeping baby from her carseat, grabbed a bag and headed inside with her, and her other children. I have no idea how she was even there that morning, or how she will make it through the funeral on Saturday, except for her relying on the strength and prayers of others.

All weekend I've been counting up my blesssings and I am loaded full, how about you?

4 comments:

Bek said...

Derek's uncle was murdered two days before Thanksgiving just two years ago. He left behind three kids. Kathy, his widow, told me that she didn't even remember the first several months--and to us she seemed like she was holding it together.

The hardest time for her was the year following. She felt overwhelmed when she had to do the things he did (ie..take the car for on oil change, put on the storm window,etc) and it made her resentful. She also said many people, who's families had been friends with her family, dropped contact with her. She thinks it is because what she was living is everyone's worst nightmare and they don't want to see that she is sad, or having a hard time. It isn't as easy to have a single person at couple nights, etc. Her advice, just be there and don't stop. Call, stop by, offer to take the kids to the park, help her with the taxes, carpool...and don't stop.

The older I get the harder it is for me to understand why some people have to deal things like this...

Thanks for the reminder to count the blessings.
R

~j. said...

Good for you, Wendy, for your willingness to help your friend. When someone experiences such a tragedy, the fact that people don't know what to do for, or say to, the survivor can add to their stress. I agree with Bek. Do the routine things for her, as much as you can. And don't stop. The meals will stop coming in to her home in a few weeks - see if you can get a few friends together to continue dinner service twice a week or so. Bring her groceries from the store when you go. See if you can go to your local Utilities Facility and pay for their heat for a month. Of course, all of these things would require others' help, as well (don't you wish money wasn't an issue? I know it doesn't solve all problems, but it sure would be helpful...).

I know it's hard to understand why people have to go through these things. What's more difficult, the older we get, the more it happens to people that we know.

They'll be in my prayers.

lisa v. clark said...

My mom had us read the email she got about her--we read it on Thanksgiving. What a shock. We just got news a couple of hours ago that one of Christopher's friend's and her mother just died in an automobile crash yesterday. I just put my kids to bed thinking the very same thing. . .

Counting my blessings. . .

wendysue said...

Bek--how horrible. I will definitely try to always remember her in our girls night out activities, and just drop by with some dinner or goodies for the kids. I know after talking to her it's going to take a while to set in. I figure 6 months down the road is when it will get really hard.

Jenny-thanks for your ideas. Everything I think of to do sounds just dumb. I know I just need to do something and I'm sure anything will help.

Lisa--I thought of you on Thanksgiving of course remembering all our fabulous times at the Stevensons in Omaha! Back when we had so few worries in the world! Days of my mom's big relish tray (which I of course get asked to make every year now), your mom's fabulous rolls and Nancy's awesome pies! Big naps on the couches and games and the big trip to the movies! I miss you lots this time of year!

The funeral for Curtis was on Saturday. I did fine through all of it until she walked out at the end with her little one year old asleep in her arms. Total heartache.