Okay, so deal with it, Jane. No more day care for Michael, he'll have to stay home. Cut back on everything. Go to work, take care of Rick? Who will watch Michael? Rick can't be left alone. How do people do this?
When I went to pick up Michael from day care, I told Miss Doreen, his babysitter that Mike would be staying home. "Michael is no trouble at all, Jane. Really, I can watch him for you." she said. I couldn't do that to her. It wasn't right. I told her that I appreciated the offer but I had to make other plans.
Rick's mom offered to stay with us to watch Mike and care for Rick. It sounded like a good idea at the time. I was able to go to work a little late after Paul had come to take Rick to radiation. Michael could stay home with his grandmother. Radiation would take three or more hours, with the ambulance ride, radiation, and return trip I would come home from school at my regular time.
However, when I came home from school that day, Michael met me at the door. He was upset and I tried to figure out what had happened. Rick was in his comatose state and my mother-in-law looked a bit overwhelmed with Michael. It was too much for her.
I didn't have any idea how my mother in-law was feeling. I could not begin to understand how heartbreaking it was for her to see Rick like this. He was dying and there was nothing any of us could do. She wasn't herself and the stress of having a three year old that was out of sorts because his world was a little bit nuts at the time, just didn't mix. It was unfair of me to have asked her.
"Okay, Doreen, I'm going to take you up on your offer. I need you to watch Michael. I said through tears. I can't pay you but I will sometime; I just don't know when." "Jane, you concentrate on Rick and I will take care of Mikey. He's my favorite and he's no trouble at all." she was crying too. "It would make Tom and me so happy to be able to help you in this way." "Doreen, I can't thank you enough and I will pay you back." I promised her again.
I am so blessed, Lord. You are handling this because I've got nothin'. Please don't let him die.
I was amazed at their generosity. Doreen was truly an angel. Michael was happy as a lark to fly into her arms the next day at the door. "Don't, Jane!" she said looking at me crying. "You go and take care of Rick. Mike will be fine. Go! Don't start or I'll be crying too."
This was the beginning of a flood of generosity that never stopped coming. It is an overwhelming feeling to be in such need that you have to ask for help. I felt pitiful; it was a ridiculous reaction but I truly felt pitiful. I felt completely humbled by this and it was just the beginning.
My friend from school called and told me that she had set up a network of people who would help us. Stacy organized meals for an indefinite amount of time. Anyone who offered help was directed to her; she did all the scheduling and contacting people. It was incredible. We were helped by our friends, my friends at school, neighbors and the friends of all of our family members.
Each day someone would come and deliver a hot meal to us. These were precious to me. I was running around like a loon taking care of Rick and the boys; I really didn't have time to cook. I had heard of this happening to others in need but I didn't understand the impact it would have on me, until I was on the receiving end of this help,
I don't want to have to have help! I am so uncomfortable with this. I am pathetic. I should be able to do it all! I don't want to be the receiver; I am not good at accepting help. I need help. I just don't want Rick to die. Thank you, God, for taking care of us.
One night my good friend, Norma arrived at the house. She gave me an envelope and told me not to open it. "It's from your friends and you don't need to know who it's from, just know there will be more. That's all I'm going to say. I love you and I'm going home." she hugged me and left.
I sat on the couch and opened the envelope. It was filled with cash, a lot of cash. My heart was in my stomach. I was crying and rocking. I didn't want this; I didn't want any of this. I didn’t want any of this to be happening. I wanted my life back with Rick and my boys. I didn't want to accept this.
'There is no one to thank," Norma said when I called her later. "Just put it toward your mortgage and don't worry." You have enough to take care of. "Norma, I can't; it's too much. I feel terrible." I told her. "Jane, you would do the same for anyone. Please, I'm not telling you; it's just the way it's going to be," she dismissed me again. "Let me know what else I can do for you." It was no use; I said goodbye and hung up the phone.
Thank you, God. I will pay it back to others in need. I am so blessed.