Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Several times I have seen fundraising for expenses after someone dies for their death expenses. I was thinking about this fact because I have a small life insurance policy that will take care of that in my case. 

I wish it hadn't been so small. Apparently the large ones you can "cash in" in some way if you find yourself in a predicament like mine. The things you learn when it is too late.

I was thinking about this because of the fact that I am asking for help that helps me while I am still here, attempting to live my life. Perhaps people would help after I am gone, but I would rather the thought be put into the helping me now part.

I can't help but think that some people think I am no different from them, so why should they help? If I died, then I guess I would be different?

In speaking with someone yesterday, I shared about the myriad of people who have given me grief about my asking for help - including those who have dealt with cancer. In many cases, those people are "taken care of." They have security in their home, in their finances, with their children, spouses, family, friends. They have one thing only to concern themselves with - their health.

I, on the other hand, have to be worried about where I will live, and how I will pay my bills. I do not have people to rely on. There are no kids. There is no husband. I do not own a home. I am trying to survive physically, as well as emotionally and fiscally without that help.

There are times, as you may know, that I really think about giving up. It is a lot to deal with. Many days it overwhelms. Money doesn't solve all problems, but if I had even a small portion of what some of these fundraisers I see do, maybe I could buy a small RV or house somewhere, and have a place to call my own.

In some ways, being on my own terrifies me. There are sometimes stretched of days I can barely function. On my own, how would I make it to the store? How would I take care of myself? At the same time, I have circumstances that not just anyone would be able to deal with. I need peace of mind in my environment. I need to feel comfortable. Anything else would just be counterproductive to my well-being.

I have wondered if I could get a place with an extra bedroom, and have someone who could live with me, and help in times of need. Someone who could do the shopping, make an occasional meal, perhaps do my laundry, maybe even help me do other things.

These thoughts are luxurious thoughts, as I cannot afford to do it. And, short of a miracle, won't be able to.

There are lots of questions. Maybe there are answers I have yet to discover. I am sure there will be those who would think just having a place to live would be enough, but I doubt they would have any experience that would give them any indication why their assumption was faulty. I would doubt they ever were so physically ill as I have been. I would doubt they had any of the context that would allow them to understand why their simplistic supposition is not the answer they think it is.

In order for people to help others, they have to be willing to step outside of what they think they know. They have to be willing to acknowledge the other person's reality without judgment or comparison. I recently read about a woman who was helping a homeless man on a street corner. One of her young children asked her how she knew he was homeless, and truly in need. Apparently, the child had heard there were those who were fakers, and that it was better to err on the side of not doing anything. 

The woman was aghast. She said she straightened things out. She pointed to the fact that many who would judge have food, have shelter, have things, and asked the question does it really matter if the person standing out in the rain, or the heat, or the cold is "faking" it? She suggested being human, and helping another human.

Did what she wrote make a difference for others, or did it just "sound good?" On the other hand, there were some who pointed to those who were "bad apples" or wanted money for booze. There are those who would rather not help anyone at all based on their judgments of some of the people they run into. Heaven help them if their life ever slides into the abyss and they are pre-judged based on others.

I remember being in NYC once, coming back from dinner with friends. A homeless man asked for help. I offered my leftover food. He did not want it. I think I asked him to see if there was someone else who could wat it, and kept going. I look back on that now, and am sad about how I treated him. He was entitled to ask for what he felt he wanted/needed. Just because I thought my food was an answer for him, doesn't mean he needed to agree. If he wanted money for booze or drugs (which I have no clue what his intentions were) he should be able to do whatever he wanted. Maybe it would have been a much needed escape from the street life.

I had no clue what he was facing. I had a boyfriend, was wearing nice, clean clothes, about to move to a different state, and had just eaten out at a nice restaurant with friends. And those were likely just a few of the differences between us.

I had no clue what he was facing, and yet I judged him, and wound up not helping him at all.

I suspect there are all too frequent times I am treated like that guy.

People have no clue what I am facing, yet they judge me, and wind up not helping me at all.

Kudos to that woman I mentioned above, for her respect of that person. For her willingness to acknowledge another's reality, and her willingness to help, without judgment. I will also add that I am extraordinarily grateful that she has also helped me on more than one occasion. Her children are hopefully learning the kinds of things that will help the world become a better place.

When I look back on my life, we always struggled. I do not think I was ever taught the kinds of things that I am aware of now. I can't think of one time that was anything like this. Maybe there was something, and I just don't remember. But I can't think of anything.

Thinking about this makes me really sad. To think I thought I knew things, but really just had no clue. But I acted as though I did. I acted like there would be those who would help - those who "could." I hoped one day to be one who could, but even when I was making the most money I ever made, I stil wasn't one of those who "could."

And now I am on the other side. Now I am the judged. Now I am the one in need. Now I am the wounded. Now I am the misunderstood, the underrated, the underestimated.

Did I ever plan to be here? Hardly. Did I ever want to be here? Of course not. But just because we don't want something doesn't mean we won't get it. You may think you know what your life looks like - but that is only until it stops looking that way.

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