Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It Takes A Village

My in-laws arrived last Monday June 27th and stayed until this Tuesday, July 5th. They arrived earlier than we anticipated to give George and I a hand as I have started to have seizure-like episodes the last few weeks. I did not know how behind we were in running our lives. My father-in-law went to the grocery store no less than eight times as we had barely any eatable food in the house; he mowed the lawn, made meals, did dishes, vacuumed the house, and fixed a curtain rod that was falling down. And my mother-in-law helped him in doing about ten loads of laundry. We really have needed assistance.

George and I have a hard time realizing when we are sinking. I think we both know that we are struggling for air, but we are in such survival mode that neither of us thinks to call for a life raft. All we can think to do is to tread water and keep going.

George and I joined a couples small group from our church almost a year ago. When we first attended, I was doing so much better. Since then, my health declined and I have only attended a handful (maybe four) sessions. George has tended a few without me. Because of chronic illness, I rarely get to spend time with people and people I newly meet usually shy away from me because they don't really understand my life. But not this group. This group has overwhelmed me by showing love to someone they barely know.  And the best part for me is that they realize that George needs support too and when he comes alone to group, they are supportive of him which makes me so happy.

I am in the middle of finishing thank-you cards that I started two months ago for when people supported us in many ways as I was recovering from my Endolymphatic Sac Decompression Surgery in April. Friends and one family member, my brother's wife, made meals for me for two weeks straight which is no easy task as it is difficult to cook to my meal plan. A long time church friend who had just given birth about a month or so earlier made me a meal! One of my friends from Purdue, who now lives in Seattle, asked her mom if she would make a meal for me because her mom lives within 30 minutes of my house. Her mom, who I had only met once in person, cooked several meals for me! And a friend I know only from the internet who also has chronic Migraines sent me homemade allergen-free brownies from Seattle, Washington!!!! I was overwhelmed with love.

The other people who cooked meals for me for two weeks? Every couple in my couple's small group made a meal (or several). These were not family or even people who knew me very well, but people who have kind and thoughtful hearts. They reached out to support George and I when we desperately needed it.

One of my mom's high school friends and another internet migraine friend sent stuffed animals. My paternal uncle sent a movie, other friends I know in real life and who I know solely from my internet Migraine support group sent cards (one friend mailed one each day of my recovery), others sent notes through my CarePage, a handful of people texted George to tell me they were thinking of and praying for me, a close friend of mine texted me every single day of my recovery, my parents sent love in tangible ways through flowers and gifts, my sister in law phoned and my parents-in-law stayed for a week during my surgery doing all of the household tasks that needed to be done. 

It is so hard to ask for help because it feels like we are in constant need of help lately. But every time someone has reached out their hand or heart to support us, we have felt so loved! I thank God daily for those people who care enough to care for us when we don't have the resources (time, energy, health, emotional stamina) to take care of ourselves.

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