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Saturday, March 30, 2013

I've been on spring break this week, and have spent most of it patiently waiting.

I waited for Brad to come by before he left for Argentina on a fishing trip for 8 days (he actually left today, but we kept hoping there would be time together before he left--we got a couple hours on Tuesday thankfully... Today I waited to hear he'd landed in Houston, and talk to him before he left the country altogether so that I might actually SLEEP while he's gone...) The past two days I waited for a Love and Logic CD that I would like to listen to BEFORE I have to have difficult parent conferences on STILL isn't here. I waited for my colleague to get to school so I could go in and open the office for her since no one else was here. I waited for the paint to dry on my bedroom, bathroom, and closet doors. I waited a lot this week.

The problem with waiting is that you don't want to get involved in anything because it'll get interrupted. I figured if I painted the doors, if I got interrupted it wouldn't be a big deal--you can pick up where you left off for the most part. I didn't, however, want to get involved in a workout in case I got interrupted, or missed Brad coming by (not missed, but ick..) or calling, or missed Holli calling, or missed the UPS guy (who will not leave things in my building...he has to SEE you and hand you your package. Did I have time to work out? Yup. Did I work out? Nope. I waited.

Just thought that was an interesting observation.

The other thing I found interesting tonight was when I saw a clothing shop post a request for ideas on places and organizations to whom they could donate money, time, products, or anything else that might be needed. It was an open call for suggestions, totally without strings attached. I had to think about it...there are so many worthy places funds and such can go. And so I opened a new message and just started typing:

"A dear friend of mine lost her husband when he was killed by an IED while trying to get to another soldier to help him in Afghanistan on January 3, 2010. He was incredibly young, only 24, and wanted nothing more than to serve his country, help others as a medic (and hoped to become a nurse later on), and start a family with his wife when he returned from Afghanistan. They had been married only two or three years when he was killed. I wonder if you would consider donating to either the American Widow Project, to help others who are walking in her shoes, or to the scholarship fund she set up in his name: Brian Bowman Memorial Scholarship Fund. Brian was an amazing human being who touched so many lives and I was blessed to know him. He was one of the good ones who, like you, wanted to make a difference for others in any way he could.
I love that you are reaching out and doing all of this to help make the world a better place Thank you!"

As I typed, I got pretty teared up. And when I was finished, I sat and cried. Not because Brian is gone really...but because I wasn't the friend to his wife, my friend, that I should have been. I crawled into my shell the moment we found out...while others were running around making arrangements to help with this, that, and the other, I was in my shell. She'd left her car with me while she went home over Christmas break to be with her family...she flew in, and a friend dropped her off late that night at my house to pick up her car and then she drove home. She had just talked to him before she left her family's house. There were black cars in her cul-de-sac waiting for her. I remember thinking that morning when I went to school that she must have gotten in REALLY late because both her door and our other friend's door was still shut--and neither of them were EVER late to work. Our friend Roberta called one of the other girls at school to tell her, and she told our principal, who then told us. And that was when I crawled into my shell. Right then.

I did the same thing when my dad died. Luckily, my mother was in her own shell and didn't want to talk. Shells are hereditary, I think. She counted pennies. I slept. I wasn't a good friend to her either.

I didn't know what I was supposed to do. It didn't feel right to do much else than make sure that her pets were taken care of--I took Lillie (who is still with me), and Roberta and Katrina took the dogs. No one knew how long she'd be gone, back home, to take care of things there. And we didn't know when or if she would be coming back to school. I offered to take her kids and my principal said no--her kids needed someone better than me. The Army post had a memorial service shortly after she did get back for all of the guys who died that day and I remember asking the principal if I could go to support my friend, and he said no--I was needed at school to sub for everyone else who WAS going. I think that was when I chose to stay in my shell. Seemed that was where everyone felt I should be.

I still get emotional when I hear that someone else's husband, son, daughter, or wife has been killed doing their job with the military. I feel so guilty that I wasn't a better friend to her...I wasn't there when she needed me. She reached out so many times and I made excuses why I couldn't go, or suggested that someone else would be better. I distanced myself, staying in that shell more and more because I didn't know what I could or should do for her.

I find myself doing that a lot. I don't offer to do things for others like some people do (you know those people: the ones who organize the benefits or fundraisers, or the meals or make arrangements to take care of people's kids or family members when tragedies happen) because I'm afraid it won't be good enough, or the right thing, or won't be wanted. If there's something definite I think I can do, then I'll do that, but it's really hard for me to offer up ideas or organize things to help others, especially if it'll be something public.

I wonder if it carries over into me taking care of ME too...doing things for me because I'm afraid it won't be enough, or the right thing, won't work, or will be seen as being selfish by others. This is kinda odd considering the fact that I spend my WHOLE DAY giving to and doing things for others--I teach kids all day. When it comes time to think about me and what I need, there's just not a lot left. A while back my acupuncturist said that my "bowl" was broken and that is why so many things hurt or aren't working well...I have to take care of me in order to repair my bowl....
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Taking care of others drains you and teaching is a very draining professionj. I have learned that you have to learn to give to yourself if you want to be there for others. It is not selfish to take care of yourself.

    Some people are better at being there for others in a time of crisis. (Maybe that is the way God has gifted them) I don't think you need to beat yourself up over it. IMHO I also think that it is never too late to be a good friend.

    I hope you have a good spring break.
    1695 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    remember that this is the first day of the rest of your life
    1695 days ago
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