My husband had been gone for 5 days when our little boy got really sick and he wouldn’t be back for another 7. He was across the country on a business trip so I was on my own. Luckily, there was no emergency room visits, just a cold that came on strong and required lots of breathing treatments, snuggles and love. The day seemed to be going okay. He was struggling with breathing, but the treatments seemed to help enough to keep me comfortable with staying home. Within a matter of a few hours, I started to deteriorate, then he threw up on the bed, his breathing and attitude quickly went downhill and I knew I needed help.
I am lucky and have a great group of Bible Study girls who I had been communicating with throughout the day and they had offered to help if necessary. I knew it wasn’t empty words and that they would do anything I asked, but even as I sat in the room with tears rolling down my face watching my son fall asleep in his crib with a breathing treatment on going, my pride didn’t want to let other people know I needed help. I didn’t want to take off my mask that everything was fine. I didn’t want people, even my closest friends, to know that I needed help. I couldn’t do it alone. My husband was gone, I was tired and stressed and needed help.
I didn’t want to, but I had no choice, I had to take the mask I was wearing off saying everything was going fine and asked if anyone could bring me dinner and quickly one of the girls said she could. My son took a two-hour nap, which was a breath of fresh air for me and knowing dinner was coming was also a relief. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I was starting to feel better.
After a nap my son seemed to be doing better, but then he threw up again. My friend was bringing me an early dinner so I decided to ask if she could swing by and pick up Pedialyte too. She was at Target so it was easy for her to pick it up. Soon I had lunch, dinner and Pedialyte. She gave me a hug and I started to break down again. It was so hard to take the help I desperately needed. She encouraged me that I could do this and told me if I needed her anytime during the night to call. It was a relief. I wasn’t sure if we would make it through the night without going to the ER.
Her visit was a turning point in the day. I asked for help, got help and a hug and a caring friend. My husband and I were finally able to connect shortly after she left and he was able to help calm me down as well. A few hours later another friend texted me she was on her way to my house with groceries, which included popsicles for my son and cake and ice cream for me.
I was feeling so blessed and so glad I had reached out. Being in a group of girls that are there for you whenever you need it is really special and a gift. I didn’t think I would need any help this week, but I also didn’t expect my little one to get sick out of nowhere. This experience has changed my philosophy on helping friends when their spouse is gone.
They will likely never ask for help unless they are out of options. A friend who brings something to help out shows that you care and that you understand how hard it is to be on your own. Even when everything’s going right having your helper and friend gone makes it hard emotionally and Murphy’s Law happens more than you think.
Taking off my mask of things going okay and me being able to do it all was probably one of the hardest things mentally I have had to do in a long time. It was a huge obstacle and if I had let it define me I wouldn’t have gotten the support I needed. I’m not sure if my fear was judgment, criticism, or not living up to the standard I had unrealistically placed on myself. None of those things happened. Instead I received love, support, relief and a break. I finally could breathe. Without help we likely would have made it, but it wouldn’t have been the same. The day turned from overwhelming to something I could handle and I knew I was loved. Maybe that was all I really needed. To know I wasn’t alone and that there was someone who could help and all I had to do was ask.