Is it our culture? Is it our pride in being self-sufficient and self-reliant that makes it more difficult to accept help?
It’s REALLY hard to accept help in any situation. It’s hard to admit that you are struggling and you cannot do this alone. But honestly? Losing a child is probably that hardest thing you will experience, and you do NOT need to do it alone.
I knew, without a doubt, that I needed help. I needed to let go of every single ounce of pride I had and just let people help where they could. When someone asked, I said yes please! When someone asked what they could do, often I tried to think of something they could do instead of just saying I’m okay.
There were so many times I had to talk to myself and convince myself that it was okay to let others help me. It’s a hard spot to be. It’s easier to be in the place of helping someone else out. It’s easier to give it to others than to accept it from others.
Since I always quote Brene Brown, I will here again. She writes in her book “Gifts of Imperfection”, when we cannot receive help, we are not truly giving help freely. That’s pretty powerful. We like to think of ourselves as givers and helpers, and then when it’s our turn to be the one in need we fight that. But then we are not giving freely to others all that help, if we cannot even accept any in our lives in return.
Part of accepting help and allowing others to do what they can to lighten your load (even if you ‘think’ you don’t need it) is the support and love that others want to show you. Then you can let that one area that someone is helping in go, so the mental energy it takes to grieve can be put towards grieving.
Our friends gave us a card with this quote from the Bible on it, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”(1 Corinthians 12:26) It truly gives words to when we can accept help and suffer together, there is also room to rejoice and support each other in the good times as well.
Another thing I’ve learned in accepting help, is I cannot pay every single person who helped us back. I cannot feel guilty that I didn’t even have the energy to thank them, or I didn’t hardly know up from down and I can’t always remember who helped where. But here’s the thing. We can help others when we can, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be those same people who helped us. Receiving so much help, gives you a perspective and gives you a willing heart to help others who are suffering and need the help. So you can pass that love and support on to someone when they need it. You do not need to feel indebted for life to the ones who helped you in your time of need.
What if there is no one around me to help?
It can happen, that you find yourself in a place with no one offering help or support. It’s entirely possible that the people who you thought were friends have disappeared, so you cannot even accept help from anyone because it’s not offered to you.
First off, I’m sorry the people around you have abandoned you- it’s so unfair for you to lose your child plus everyone around you. But I want to encourage you to FIND the support. I know that sounds exhausting. But find a therapist, find a yoga class at the gym, find a Facebook group, find a grief support group near you. SOMETHING. You really don’t need to do this alone. Please reach out to me! And connect with other grieving mothers!
I’m not going to lie. Going through that experience of needing help from so many others for so long, feeling like I was barely surviving and drowning and holding on to everyone around me to hold me up, I’ve gotten where I would love to never get any help again for the rest of my life. I would love to never need one ounce of help from others. Who knows though- there will probably be a time where I have to let go of my pride again and accept others helps.
So what will you do? Can you let go of your pride? Can you admit that you are struggling? Can you call a friend and let them know you need help? It’s OKAY to not have everything together, and let someone else take care of you for a bit. What are you going to choose?