We are often have family asking how things are. We respond to friends who inquire after our mental health. We thank those who help with afternoons of respite or a meal that we don’t have to prepare. And sometimes we receive help and support when we least expect it.
The other day I was out to lunch with my daughter who was in town for a short visit. We went to an Ethiopian restaurant as both of us like that cuisine and both of us know that I don’t get to enjoy it often as my husband is someone who doesn’t venture out beyond the tried and true.
The two of us talked of many things and eventually we had to talk about the depression and challenges that my husband was experiencing as all the symptoms had escalated as of late. As I tried to explain some of the things that were taking place, tears welled up in my eyes. We still talked and soon the tears were more plentiful and she had joined me in the “let it out but this is not the venue to do it in” dance.
The owner of the restaurant, a delightful woman who does all the cooking and who has never failed to have a smile on her face was talking with another group of people at another table. She kept looking our way and then very suddenly, she came over and said, “Whatever is making you unhappy, whatever it is, you will be able to handle it.” And then she gave me a warm, deep hug. When she finished hugging me, she looked at both of us and said simply and matter-of-factly, “Tea. I will make both of you some tea. That will be good.”
She went off, worked behind the counter, and finally came back with two tea cups and warm, soothing tea for both of us. “It has ginger in it. And ginger is good.” She then smiled and went off to the kitchen, leaving two very cared for women in her wake.
Care for the caregiver comes in some very unusual forms. Be aware of taking whatever support you can get whenever you can get it and be thankful for people like Elsa who reach out not because they know you well but rather because you are a fellow human being and you deserve to be cared for.