Years ago, when my mom was seriously ill, I was her caregiver. Overwhelmed, far from home and my support system, I had to lean on my mother’s friends. And they came through with meals, transportation, companionship, and errands. As kind and caring as they were, it was one friend whose offers meant the most.
Each morning she would call and tell me when she had free time that day. It might have been between two and four or eleven and noon. Whatever time she had, she offered to stay at the house so I could leave and take care of anything I needed to do.
I can no longer remember this friend’s name, but I will never forget her kindness. She arrived on time and with a book. She’d read if my mom was asleep or keep her company if she was awake. If my mom needed anything, she was there to help.
This short, daily respite allowed me to run errands at the grocery, pharmacy, or the shopping mall, take a short walk, or stop and pick up something for lunch. It gave me an opportunity each day to take a breath, knowing my mother was in good hands.
After all these years, it’s this wondrous support that I remember most. And when I have the opportunity, I do it for others. Sometimes, you give the most when you give the gift of yourself.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, available in ebooks for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.