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Late Sunday night I was thinking about a statement I often use to make “Call me if you need anything”. After I almost lost my life (you can read more about that here and here if you are so inclined), it occurred to me, just how negative, and empty a statement it is.
After getting out of the hospital, that is all I heard. In fact, I used to hear it all the time from family. It is a standard sentence, but is it really nice? When you say it after someone has a newborn and just got out of the hospital, do you really think they are going to call – Do you think they have the brain capacity to bother?
What does it really mean? This is my standard reply “thank you, we are fine.” We never were fine, it is just what the other person really wants to hear. I learned pretty quickly that due to our circumstance, nobody really wanted to help or thought of what we really needed, even though, we were just trying to cope. Again, I didn’t have cancer and once I was out of the hospital, according to everyone I was all better. I was so emotional, but everyone cared about how the experience made them feel, not about the aftermath of what my husband and I had to cope with.
If you have ever said those words, were they ever really genuine? Did you really want to help? It never was for me, I had just learned that it was what you say to be “nice” or just polite, mind you, I always wanted to help friends, just never family. There is no action in those words, because the person wants to be nice, but doesn’t actually want to help. Case and point, when I was sick, I had a lot of crappy phone calls and conversations that went along the lines “well, I don’t want to bother you, so I won’t call you, you call me if you need anything.” Yeah, like I was ever going to call, I mean, when you are breast feeding and barely able to get up, the last thing you want to do is call someone long distance who doesn’t really want to talk to you in the first place. Then there was the “we were thinking you might need a cleaning crew to come in and help”, but nothing and no one ever materialized. Or I got a bouquet of flowers 3 weeks after getting out of the hospital, no card, and I was made to feel guilty that there was a mix-up at the flower shop, the address was wrong, and the sender felt the flowers were all wrong. Really, do I care about flowers? Can I eat the flowers, can they clean, or can they hold my child while I pee?
I decided that when it came to my child, I really wanted to be active in everything I did. I want to help, and just show up when I think he needs help, but I also wanted to show that you need to help out friends around you, to be selfless at times. I never want to say to him “call me if you need anything”, because truly, it doesn’t help, nor is it positive.