I’ve often heard it say that in times of hardship or crisis, you quickly find out who your true friends are. I think this is true to an extent, but I have been doing some introspection lately. When Jim was in the hospital, I called and wrote/posted to pretty much every phone number and/or address that I had for updates on his condition and/or just letting them know where I was (if I was needed/depended on for whatever reason). It pains me to say that the support that I desperately needed came in a few surprising places — and didn’t from those that I expected.
For instance, my brother came by. I honestly didn’t expect him to. I know he’s a busy man, and I would’ve been happy just relaying information. He visited, we ate lunch, and I spoke to him just about every day. I have greatly appreciated him being there and told him that it helped out more than he realized.
My parents however, never came to the hospital. In their defense, they were out of town for most of Jim’s stay, but they were back several days before he was released and I left messages letting them know where he was, and my brother could’ve told them as well. My mother called when they got home and asked how I was doing, but neither of them showed any concern about Jim. That hurt. That hurt a lot.
I won’t go as far as to say that my life would have been over if Jim had died, but I believe I would not had been the same afterwards and I would hold a lot on to a LOT more resentment and buried anger.
I have three people in my life whom I have always called my best friends. One lives out of state, and we’ve lost touch since he moved. He’s still very dear to my heart, but there’s no way he could have come down to see us. Another got married the weekend that Jim was in the hospital. I told him that we would be ok and to go off and not worry, that I would talk to him when he and his bride came back. That was cool too. But the third lives here in Birmingham and has been friends with both me and Jim. I left a couple dozen messages for him via phone and email. I never got so much as a call back or reply. That hurt me too.
The people I work with sent a basket, but I knew that that would probably be the extent of support we would receive from them. I would call in and give them updates and everyone sounded genuinely concerned, but no one visited. I knew they wouldn’t. I think initially the response was concern, but for business reasons rather than for us. Essentially, their IT department was crippled (almost permanently), and all of their online support was out of the office for over a week. I was told that everyone was getting caught up so they could help us with whatever we needed when we returned, but so far I haven’t seen anything from anyone, and no one seems to want to help out with anything. Again, that was no surprise — and it makes me hate this place even more than I did before. I resent the way Jim and I are treated here as far as pay and benefits go, and I resent the way management looks down on us. I think I always have, but preferred not to dwell on it.
One of the things I have liked about this job is some of our clients. They are spread out all over the world. Several of them have called, emailed, and sent cards to me and Jim. That makes me appreciate them that much more … but it’s sad when your clients love you more than your company does.
Or at least that’s the way it feels to me …
I have received plenty of support from online friends. The wonderful ladies in my NP guild have left messages, emails, a few called and left supportive and loving messages on my answering machine. Several members in my MonstersGame clan emailed and messaged me with best wishes and constantly asking how Jim was doing and if there was anything that they could do to help me. I posted to my blog and had several leave messages, email, and call.
Several of our LAN/gaming friends called and came by the hospital. Many more emailed and left messages on the machine. People that I had no idea even cared reached out, wanting to help out in any way. That touched me.
I think most of my support came from Jim’s mother. She took off work to be with us at the hospital. She sat with me so I wouldn’t be alone in the ICU waiting room, waiting hours just to see Jim for a few minutes. She kept Jessie busy by taking her out and kept activities to keep her busy and her little mind off the scary goings on. She helped me out around the house and always made sure that I had plenty to eat. I can honestly say that I do not think I could have made it through without her. Jim’s sister flew in from Oregon and helped out as well. I got to know her and I think that it was one of the few good things that came out of this whole terrifying experience.
Our friend Teresa, a very nice lady that we used to work with, came by. She came up to the hospital and spent the afternoon with us. She’s been a great friend to both me and Jim, and I’m very thankful to have her in our life.
And I have awesome neighbors. Several of my neighbors pitched in too, even if it was just little things that could have waited until we got back, I still really appreciated it. The first night Jim was in ICU, I had come home late that night to try to get some sleep (not that I honestly expected to). I spoke with one couple who lives beside us and they invited me over to talk. I was exhausted, but it felt good to get things off my chest. We cried, we hugged, we talked for a very long time and then prayed together. They made sure that my mail and paper were picked up, that the garbage was taken out on trash day — you know, the little things. Things that I greatly appreciated.
I told them that I felt blessed to have such great neighbors. I took over a “thank you” gift last weekend. The wife has lots of different plants and things that go around the inside and outside of their house and has always struck me as the creative type. I had picked out a water planter set — it was really cool, it was a huge copper pot (made to look antique) with some plants and stones to arrange inside. Kind of like a mini-pond and plant set I guess. She oohed and aahed over it and thanked us. I think she liked it. :)
I dunno — maybe I’m being melodramatic about this, but I feel like many of the people I needed the most or I could have counted on for support were not there for me. But on the other hand, I found the strength and support that I needed in the most unexpected places, and I will be forever thankful.