A family in my neighborhood has been quietly struggling for months. The mom has a stubborn virus that is taking a long time to heal and the dad is shopping, cooking, cleaning, and ensuring his kids get wherever they need to go. When he finally shared his family’s situation, neighbors quickly offered to prepare meals. I asked him why he didn’t ask for help sooner and he replied, “It is really hard to ask for help.”
Another neighbor is having a rough time. A family member has been diagnosed with a chronic illness that is yet to stabilize and the beloved family dog is facing end of life issues. Sensing they needed some comfort, I offered to bring a meal. They accepted but, when I emailed to confirm the date they responded, “We really appreciate the offer but we are doing ok. Only bring something if you have extra.” This message confused me and it wasn’t until a second email that they confided that a meal would be comforting and they were very appreciative of the offer.
Just as you may be confused as to how to help those in need, they too are grappling with their needs and when and how to ask for help.
So when life is overwhelming, what can you ask for when needing support?
Help is available in a myriad of forms and can make a difference; don’t be afraid to ask.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, Pedro Ribeiro Simões