Giving vs. receiving

Chicken Pot Pie, Brownies and Veg

Chicken pot pie, veggies, and brownies delivered to our front porch by Melissa Ross (the chicken pie was whole when she gave it to us  LOL).

And what do I do about all these varied and overwhelming gifts of kindness?  Everyone is ringing and coming over and offering to help and bringing us food and thinking of creative ways to show care.  It’s out of whack.  Normally I try to operate with my giving greater than my receiving.   I can manage that.  I’ve never been that smooth at the expression of gratitude; I tend to overdo it because I am so truly, incredibly grateful for everything anyone does, that I fear it comes across as insincere.  But mostly, I always feel I should be the giver, being so fortunate in so many areas of my life.  So I haven’t allowed myself much practice at the expression of gratitude.  Or maybe I’m just a stuck-up bitch who should have been more grateful to others but hasn’t been.  And it’s about fucking time I wake up to myself.  That’s always a possibility.

Muffins made for us by Hannah. x

Home-baked banana muffins from Hannah Anderson.  Hannah Banana Muffins.

Another problem I’ve identified; I’m accustom to thinking of gratitude as a debt.  If I’m grateful to someone for something, I must do something to show them my gratitude and preferably pay them back.  So it has always felt heavy; gratitude.  Gratitude drives duty.   I could be wrong, but I’m wondering if this is a different kind of gratitude, the one that is piling up now, and whether I can manage it in a different way than I’ve managed it in the past.  How can I process it?

Do I see it as something else?

Lemon Slice on a plate

Vanilla slice from Glorious Gloria Lawson

It was really hard for the first nine days to accept the multiple things people offered to do for us.  I am quietly independent.  But since I’ve seen how it has helped remove some of the burden, allowing me to help Cliff and the children in other ways, it has become a deep, genuine and pure joy to receive these gifts.  I’m learning how to let others help.

I confess, sometimes it can take energy to give thanks when I don’t have any spare.  But in my mind, there is no option, you just do it.   I realize I can’t get all the gratitude off my heart scale; it may never balance.  It’s enormous.  And mounting every day with everything that friends and family, nurses and doctors do for us.  But I won’t stop trying.  Ever.

Everything — good and bad — is coming at us so thick and fast.

 Beautiful roses

Beautiful flowers hand-delivered to us from Sue Holden.

12.42 p.m.  What I can’t believe is how intuitive our friends and family have been.  I am just listening to a message now from my sister-in-law, Laura, who said she wanted to give me a Christmas present of a voucher to get my hair done.  I’m going to get my hair done tonight when the kids are in bed.  Been scheduled for weeks.  I considered cancelling, but … when am I going to reschedule it for?  When is this going to be better?  Do I let myself go until, emotionally, we get better at handling this?

I texted my Dad this morning, who was walking Leo to school while Cliff and I rode ahead with Tom to the kindergarten.  I asked him to straighten Leo’s hair with his fingers because I had forgotten to brush it.  Dad texted back, ‘I just did that.’  It’s Good Weird.

Got a text from Monique the other morning asking if I wanted her to ring Rachael (my brother’s widow) to tell her.  I was on the phone with Rachael that very second telling her the news.  More Good Weird.

And they’re intuitive about offering and giving me things I don’t even know I need.

Calls from friends just to check in, mean the world to us.  Just listening to a message from Melanie Stanton to say, ‘It’s hump day.  Just seeing how you’re going.’

Chase just left a message saying she is going to Big W and could she get me anything.  What do they sell at Big W?  I wrote back and said, ‘XOXO.  Thanks.  I can’t think of anything.  Actually.  I can’t think.’  Too hard to ask what they sell there and wonder if it’s O.K. to ask her to get something for us.  I don’t know if we need anything.  I just don’t know.  The ‘Too-hard Basket” is getting full.

2.45 p.m.  In the shower I think, ‘What the hell?  How can this be happening?’

3.00 p.m.  Figured out Cliff might be having an issue with semantics.  As I am getting dressed to go to the school pick-up, we discuss the word ‘accept’.  He does not accept the doctors’ prognosis.  But he thinks if he ‘accepts’ it, he has sat down, folded his hands in his laps and laid his head on the guillotine with a big sign on his back saying, ‘Take me.’  I try to explain to him that accepting can have two meanings.  You can accept that this is the situation:  ‘Yes, I understand what the doctors have said.  I accept that is my chest in the x-ray.’  But you don’t accept there is no chance of hope or a miracle.  He thinks ‘accept’ = ‘complacency’.  Will work with oncology pyschologist on that on Friday.

Love, Esser

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