Grateful for friends… and for strangers.

(At Least I Have Ducks – Part 2)

Duck with Ducklings

My cell phone battery died, and will not be resuscitated… It has all my contacts and WhatsApp messages… my daughters iPad won’t charge, which has all the photos and notes I need for the articles I was writing for this week and for next week… and I can’t find the three completed articles I finished last week.

My eldest son who is in Gauteng, is sick with pneumonia and without family… he has a new job that he started six weeks ago, so he went back to work this week, and on Wednesday morning he had an ‘asthma attack’ on his way to work, and was taken to hospital, and we had no contact with him for three days.

My younger son has been waiting for three weeks for a new job that still hasn’t materialised… and my daughter has bronchitis and is very ill.

My mom who is in Texas, had a bad fall… landing really hard on her hands and knees and bashing her head… she needs to have her heart ‘shocked’ so that her heart rhythm can stabilise… her husband died in April so she is feeling very alone… and I feel very, very far away and helpless to support and care for her.

As I write this, my very favourite (only) ‘office chair’ slowly sinks… lower… and lower… and lower, until my knees and legs are scrunched below me, and I feel like I’m a child again trying to see above the table with my elbows hanging down as I type. Laughing out Loud@me… so of course I have to get up and pump the handle up and down and sit down gently in the hopes that this time it will stay high. *Grin*

And… this is just the last 10 days. *Sigh*

I am very grateful for strangers… that I have never met and probably will never meet, as I don’t even know their names.

Even though my eldest son should have stayed in bed for another week instead of going back to work, he was concerned about taking too much sick leave with his new job… although he has never had asthma, he had something like a very severe ‘asthma attack’ and collapsed while travelling on the Gautrain on his way to work. An off-duty paramedic on the train, attended to him, and then took him to the nearest emergency room, ensuring that he received treatment very quickly… so I’m really grateful for this stranger who came to our son’s aid in a desperate time of need.

Fortunately, although we didn’t hear from him for three days, he is staying with a friend for the week-end, where hopefully he can rest and recover as he now has stage 2 pneumonia.

My younger son has been doing a few odd jobs while he waits for his next electrical contract job, and on the way home he ran out of petrol… so he had to walk to the garage to fill up a bottle… a complete stranger stopped and gave him a lift… going out of his way to help. Another stranger I’m grateful for.

A friend came to visit… passing on her Bronchitis to Jess. Even though Jess is really sick and has remained horizontal and resting most of the week… there is actually a blessing that I’m really grateful for in her having Bronchitis… as it means the “Firestorm” she has been fighting for the past 6 months, is finally dissipating and she’ll hopefully be able to stabilise her Graves Disease (Hyperthyroidism) on her current meds… and not need to have her medication increased.

As for my phone… the battery is dead… however even in this there is hope. A work colleague of my husband, offered his very ‘smart’ Blackberry for me when he heard my husband asking if anyone had a spare battery… so even though I haven’t figured out how to use it yet, *Smile* I have an old, very new looking cellphone… and another work colleague has spare batteries that he has promised, so we can at least… hopefully, recover my contacts and info. And although ‘technically’ not strangers… I have never met them… so I’m very grateful for their kindness.

After her fall… a number of strangers came to my mom’s aid… helping her into a chair as she was unable to get up or even stand on her own for a while. When she was recovered enough to drive, she refused to be admitted into hospital… although she did check into a hotel for three days, as she was busy moving from her house into an apartment. My mom is 76 years old… and completely independent doing everything for herself, and now lives alone, and only has a lady clean for her every two weeks… this ‘stranger’ who I have never met, very generously with the help and support of her husband, gave up their week-end to move all my mom’s belongings to her new apartment, cleaning and unpacking… and even hanging my mom’s wall hangings for her.

There just aren’t words to express my gratitude for such kindness for this wonderful gift of support and service.

As my week has ended with most of our current challenges still occurring…
I am grateful for so many reasons.

I am grateful that my lessons and challenges are not just mine to learn… and that those strangers and friends who have come to our aid, have so generously helped to carry our load, and lighten our burdens.

I’m grateful for friends who have phoned and messaged to ask if I’m ok, because I haven’t interacted and responded as I usually do on social media… sometimes it’s easy to believe you won’t be missed, and when you are… that love and care is just what you need to lift and carry you through a really tough day… or week, and even two.

Last week when a friend called to chat and find out how I was… her gentle prodding and insightful questions, helped me to figure out some things I was struggling with… clarity always makes things easier… even if not immediately solveable.

Even as I struggle to simplify my life… ‘getting my ducks in a row’ …I realise that some things are just more important than getting organised on a schedule, or completing a ‘to do list’ on a deadline… or having set goals that you are determined to attain by a pre-decided date… and that is caring for family when they need, and being available for loved ones in times of illness and crisis.

Although, I have managed to do some chores… while my daughter has rested in the lounge… or work in bed, while my daughter has slept beside me… my presence and attention is often what she has needed to re-assure her as she has struggled with Graves Disease, a Firestorm and now Bronchitis during these past few weeks… and years.

After four years of Jess being ill… through times when she has improved, stabilised and got better… and then been really sick again, I would have hoped that I’m better able to cope now… and sometimes I do… and sometimes I don’t.

It’s the constancy of it.

The joy and happiness when she is weaning off the meds and may be able to go off them entirely… as she gets better and her health is restored and energy returned… only for her to have a relapse and be really sick again, is sometimes heart wrenching… and often exhausting.

I am grateful for family… and friends… and strangers, who make a difference… touching my heart and influencing my life.

Although we can express our appreciation and gratitude to our family and friends, it’s impossible to do that for the strangers that have been in and out of our lives… so Jess and I thought of an idea to ‘pay it forward’… and decided to share it with you.

We’ve committed to one “challenge” a day, (in any order) from Monday, 18th July 2016 ~ Mandela Day… and hope you’ll join us.

We’d love to hear about your ideas… and we always love feedback and comments.

With appreciation and gratitude,
Mands

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31 Day Personal Challenge

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  1. Give a homeless person a meal.
  2. Visit someone who is lonely.
  3. Seek out a forgotten friend.
  4. Spend time with a loved one.
  5. Write a letter.
  6. Apologise… say you are sorry!
  7. Express your gratitude to someone.
  8. Smile at a stranger.
  9. Laugh out loud… like you really mean it.
  10. Forgive and let go of a hurt.
  11. Perform an act of kindness.
  12. Watch a funny movie with someone who is feeling down.
  13. Be gentle… be a peacemaker.
  14. Spend time with a child, and make them happy.
  15. Tell someone you love them.
  16. Tell them again… *Smile*
  17. Keep a promise.
  18. Help a friend in need.
  19. Do an act of service.
  20. Encourage a teenager.
  21. Examine your demands on others… and lighten their load.
  22. Go outside, close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your face.
  23. Take pleasure in the beauty of nature that surrounds you.
  24. Spend 10 minutes picking up papers or cleaning a neglected area.
  25. Learn a new craft.
  26. Experiment with a recipe.
  27. Try to be understanding.
  28. Explore nature and take pleasure in the wonders of the Earth.
  29. Forgo a grudge.
  30. Give someone a sincere compliment.
  31. Write about and share your experience.

Mother duck with ducklings

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