Helping Our Fellow Neighbors
Posted May 30, 2010on:
Beatrice: So there is a house on our block where the family has lived there for around 6-7 years. I use to see the man and woman walk their dog every morning and we would wave and sometimes exchange words. They have a son and daughter. Last summer I started noticing the lady wearing scarfs and hats, and told my husband that she must have cancer. I spoke to her for a short while on Halloween when the kids trick-or-treated at her home, and she said she has her spirits up and just taking a day at a time. Last Sunday, Toolman was washing his motorcycle and came in to tell me the ambulance and fire truck were at either their home or the house next door. Then my friend across the street stated she was taken to a hospice where they have given her a month to live. Her daughter is a freshman in high school and the son is a freshman in college. You can tell the husband has lost a ton of weight and is not doing well emotionally. Nadia was telling me the story after she asked if I wanted to go in on a baby gift for another one of our neighbors. I then told Nadia that we need to do something for this family as a neighborhood. Makes me so sad. I keep thinking how this daughter and son have to go through life not knowing from one day to the next if their mother is going to survive. Makes my heart heavy.
Lila: That’s so hard to read. I really don’t know what to say. Maybe before you send them a gift or something, you can ask if they need anything. Or you can do what we are doing for our teammate. We originally tried to pay for lawn care while the family is having to deal with their family cancer issues. The lawn care company offered to do it for free. We are now putting together some gift baskets. Maybe you and your neighbors can just mow their lawn while you are doing yours. I think little gestures mean so much more than material gifts.
B: I totally agree with all of that. I just can’t stop thinking about how the children feel and what they are going through. I lived such a carefree childhood and all children should. And then it makes you think about what if this sort of thing happened to you as a parent. What would you do? What would you want most for your kids? How do some children take only good out of a horrible situation and how do some turn the wrong way because of all the grief? It was hard for me to want to go in on a gift for a lady who isn’t really all that nice who is on her 3rd child, knowing that down the street a crisis is really going on in that family’s home. Makes me so sad!
L: That’s fine that you don’t want to give that other lady a gift. She probably doesn’t need anything because she is on her third child. But she does deserves well-wishes. She is bringing another wonderful child into the world and that is worth celebrating.
As for the sick neighbor, I am sure it is hard on the children. But the truth is, if it has to end, it’s a good thing that it is ending quickly. I know a family who dealt with cancer for 10 years before she eventually passed away. The boys never really knew their mother as a healthy person. The youngest, who was 12 or 13, when she passed away, was absolutely heartbroken. He will go through life holding onto just a few happy memories. At least these kids have some wonderful memories of their mother young and vibrant.
B: I have already given the lady down the street some of E’claires things and I have expressed all sorts of well wishing and will go see the baby once it is born. I was just taken back when Nadia wanted to figure out a gift for her but not think about something we can do as neighbors for this family. Once I mentioned it though she was all for it, but wanted me to set it up. This is where I use my father’s advice for approaching the needs of terminally ill. Having a father who is a reverend comes in handy in these scenarios.