December 05, 2012

You Can Help

I often hear from people, "I just don't know how to help."  A family member excuses the burden, saying they can't help with childcare.  Then proceeds to do nothing.  I have never asked for childcare.  As people who know me can attest, I rarely ask for anything.  Sometimes it is because I just don't know what will help, just as the person struggling on the other end doesn't know either.

People can't lift and haul Bridger and his heavy equipment to and fro, in and out all day long.  They can't be covered in daily vomit as I am, attend the dozens of monthly doctors appointments, do the cumbersome bathing, listen to the hours of screaming - sometimes done directly in my ear, manage the hours of insurance work, endure the fat lip given to me in a swift uppercut by the hysterical child that did not want to leave the grocery store while I struggle to pin his arms away from his wheels to get him out of the store door while holding my groceries as dozens of onlookers gawk (pleasantries of yesterday).  They cannot endure the full sweat workout it is to change one of the 10 daily diapers of a large child who will fight with every limb to make sure that you don't.  They cannot wear the scars that Alan has on his cheeks from a new behavioral challenge we are dealing with from Bridger who likes to gouge at his dad's face when he carries him.  They cannot go tend to him in the middle of the billionth night in a row that he doesn't sleep or is screaming from the pains of reflux or nightmares.  People cannot take away my back pain caused from degeneration in the spine - exacerbated by heaving lifting of a 55 pound thrashing dead weight.  They cannot dry the tears of my little girl who just had a handful of hair ripped out by her brother because she got too close to him at the wrong time or stop people from staring at us every time we are in public.  They cannot spend hours trying to get Bridger to eat and do all the tube feedings throughout the day when he does not or draw out the daily meds precisely to the fraction of an ml (a skill I can do with my eyes closed no matter the size of the syringe). . .  The list of "cannots" goes on. . .

Nope.  People can't help.

At least, in these ways.

There is a scene in The Lord of the Rings, from the final journey of Frodo where he is struggling and exhausted as he is carrying the ring to throw in the volcano.  His friend, Sam, hurts for the challenge he is witnessing his friend endure - helpless because he knows he cannot carry the ring.  But then he champions, "I can't carry it for you…but I can carry you! Come on!"

This is my ring to carry, and I have a great love and appreciation for the "Sams" in my life.

How can you be a "Sam" today?

There is a girl named Gabriella in our community that has inoperable brain cancer.  She is the family friend of one of Bridger's therapists.  Gabriella is collecting letters to Santa to deliver to Macy's, who will donate $1 million dollars to Make-a-Wish if one million letters are received this Christmas.  Gabriella wants to personally deliver 10,000 letters.  Bridger's therapist requested that I help them.  I made a goal to collect 500 letters by next Tuesday.  This supports me as I feel this is a way to return the love and devotion that this therapist has shown to Bridger.  It is a way to comfort the therapist's daughter, who is a friend of Gabriella.  To give the letters to this daughter, who can then pass them along to her sick friend, is helping her feel the power of being a "Sam" and how, despite the grief she feels for her friend, that she can carry her friend when she can't carry her ring.

I created an email account to receive the letters I will present to her in Bridger's therapy session next Tuesday.  Email letters to  Type the text directly in an email or scan the letter and attach it to the email and I will put it in an envelope.  Letters can be from old or young and need not be anything beyond simple.

According to the analytics site I have connected to my blog, my last post had just over 1500 reads.  Is it safe to assume that I should expect to receive just over a thousand letters? :)  My dad passed away from brain cancer, and Make-a-Wish has supported Bridger and dozens of my dear friends who provide superhuman care to their medical fragile children.

I hope this Christmas season that we will look for ways to be a "Sam" to others around us, instead of wringing our hands helplessly and walking away because we cannot carry their ring.