Close to probably five years ago there was a couple I knew. An older couple who had been married for years. Many years. They were, in my mind, the idol of marriage. They were what one should strive to be like. Their attitudes, outlook and perspective on life was something to be desired. About five years ago -the wife landed herself in the hospital. The particulars were hushed, the details were secret and the information private.
We brought them coffee and a newspaper -sometimes fruit, for no reason other than feeling absolutely helpless but wanting to do something. It was a small task that didn’t require much effort on my part -and a task that I didn’t even know if they appreciated.
A few short months later -she passed away.
It was only then that the details slowly began to emerge, details that literally -made me sick to the stomach and made me wonder if bringing coffee and newspapers only made the situation worse. It wasn’t even a few months after she had passed -did he show up at my house with a box of cookies and a card.
A handwritten note from him and his wife -thanking me for the daily coffee and newspapers. The “little bit of normalcy” in their dark days. I remember thinking how -in his deep pain and anguish -he had taken the time to thank me for something so simple and stupid. The task he performed did not go overlooked -simply going to a grocery store to buy something, writing a note -with her name, and delivering it -holding a conversation in which he openly admitted to crying daily…
It is something I will never forget and something that will forever be etched in my mind and heart.
To do something for others is one thing -but to do something for others when you are hurting so badly -is another. It comes from a much deeper part of the heart.
Which is why I decided that instead of drowning in self pity and despair -I am going to choose to do things for others. Even, or especially when, I don’t feel like it. On those days when seeing daylight is so, so hard -I am going to put others first. I am going to do something kind for someone else.
The hardest thing in my life is knowing that while my life is seemingly out of control -there are other people out there. People who are hurting. Just because my heart is confused, does not mean the rest of the world has ceased to exist. Instead of giving into my desire to pull the covers over my head and not face the world -I am going to face it head on.
I am going to push through. I am not going to be beat down.
Someone told me once that your life -your words -can have an impact on others. Your simple deeds can hurt someone so badly…or they can help keep someone from the despair of suicide. I am clinging to that hope. Clinging to the tiny shards of hope that maybe -just maybe -my actions will have an impact on others…and if not, at least I am not allowing myself to be swallowed alive -regardless of how badly I want to be.