How To Act

I'm home. And I still feel jittery, almost as if I have done something wrong. But I haven't. What I have done is good and right, something that shouldn't need consideration or thought. Yet, it took courage, it took thought, and consideration. It took energy. What do I say? Should I smile and laugh? How will she react? Will she want my company?

Today I took a leftover meal from our women's club party to the neighbor lady whose husband committed suicide a few weeks ago. We made up a plate of food with the thought that she would be happy to have it, and the comfort of knowing we cared. As she is my personal member, I was asked to bring her the food. When I was asked, it took me a moment to say Okay. It took me a moment to catch my breath and find the strength to take on such a task. But I said okay, and I completed my task, and I am glad I did.

She didn't take the plate of food (my kids are coming tonight and i already cooked) but she invited me in and told me she had only a short time to visit before she needed to leave. I wasn't sure I was welcome or she was being polite, but I am still glad I took the opportunity to do the right thing. What this accomplished was her knowing that I care, that though the funeral is over and the act forgotten by most, that she is still important and still thought of and we are open when and if she needs someone to turn to.

I drank a glass of water, talked about the weather and the garden and her kids and her parents, but we sidestepped the conversation of her husband and his death. I didn't know what was appropriate, what is appropriate in such a situation. But the simple act of my presence and my offer to be available if she needs me was well received. She thanked me for stopping by, told me she would appreciate me coming again as she said goodbye at the door.

It could have been an act, one of courage on her part as well, but that doesn't matter. I opened myself up and she let me in.

Coming to terms with how to act is not necessary in such a situation. Just being there is action enough. And today, I took action and showed someone that I care.


V-Grrrl said...

I visited someone in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. He was more of an acquaintance than a close friend, but I knew he was alone in the aftermath of his crisis; his family was keeping their distance. Visiting him in a locked down psych unit turned out to be both a hard and easy thing to do. I was glad I went. though it shook me up. I was able to take care of some things for him on the "outside" while he worked toward getting released. He eventually earned a master's in psychology and became a counselor.

Maddy said...

We're too far away to visit [UK] and the note of condolence seemed inadequate. It is an act of bravery to make the first step but I always remember hearing about how those who have lost a loved one are 'ignored' because nobody knows what to say or do.

As for the 'unused' degree, I hang on to the fact that I'll live another X years and that's the time when I'll move into the next phase and use the darned degree - hope you can too.

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