My neighbors husband is very sick

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2003
My neighbors husband is very sick
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 2:47pm
My neighbors husband was diagnosed with Leukemia last year and has gotten progressively sicker. He is now in a hospital about an hours drive away trying to get well enough to receive a transplant--once he receives it he will need to go into isolation for about 3 months (meaning they'll have to rent an apartment so he's not infected by any cold germs the kids bring home). The have two young kids and she works a part time job. The neighborhood has gotten together over the last year and taken turns with lawncare and babysitting (she works on Saturdays). We belong to a social group and we've taken several collections for her. Unfortunately, I think she is embarrassed about all of the attention. I know specifically from her that they are struggling finanically but gifts of money are difficult for her to accept. I want to help her and we can spare the expense but I don't want her to feel awkward or obligated. I've tried to sensitively offer her finanical help but she has turned it down and I feel horrible afterwards. My father died of cancer when I was young and my mother received a great deal of help so I told her this was repayment. My friend is the bravest person I know--I feel helpless and wish I could do something. Does anyone have any suggestions of what else I can do?
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2003
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 3:48pm
I have to say that you and your neighbors are extemely wonderful people to want to help this lady in her time of distress. I admire that. As far as other ways to help, I'd say keep asking for donations at, say, church or businesses that can have collections/contributions. Seeing as she has children, offer to babysit or drop them off at school for her; I'm sure they are going through a tough time seeing (and not being able to see) thier father go through all this pain. Perhaps your group can schedule days to watch her children or take them out and have a fun day. Maybe it will take their minds off their troubles, even if its just for a little while.

About her embarrassment towards money offers, thats understandable. Whenever you offer money to her, just tell her that money is just an object, and this is just a way to extend your concern for her and her family, and it would mean alot to you and your group if she accepted this gift. Make sure she knows she isn't a burden, but a brave woman for having to endure all this, and this is just a way to compensate for what she is too sweet to ask for.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 6:40pm
When my house burned down, my neighbors came out everywhere to help me. I felt much as your neighbor feels, but really appreciated the help. The students at the school where I was student teaching took up collections of cleaning supplies, toys, food, clothes and household goods. My son's school did the same with small furniture, TV, food and cash. And I came home (moved down the street) to find a complete living room set on the front lawn - anonymous donor. Neighbors offered us a place to stay, use of their telephones, showers, washer/dryers, kitchens, and strong backs to clean up the mess and move anything salvagable. Within a couple of weeks, I had a nicer place to live and had replaced everything I needed to live. But the donations still kept coming...

One day, an elder in my church asked what other needs I had that had not been met. I answered, "Nothing! I have four kitchen utensil sets, three couches, two refrigerators... what I need is for someone to turn off the faucet!" I will never forget his answer: "Don't be too hasty to turn down those who offer help. In denying them the chance to help, you may be denying them a chance to receive a blessing."

So I graciously accepted anything offered, kept and used what I needed, and donated the rest to another church nearby which had a program to help homeless families. I kept track - and except for the anonymous donations, I sent out over 200 thank-you notes! More than 200 people were blessed for helping me!

Sorry so long, but my advice is this: Offer whatever help you can anonymously - drop it on her porch, or in her mailbox, with a kind note. If she doesn't know where it came from, she can't refuse. And remind her that those who reach out to help are doing so out of love and kindness - with no return expected or desired.

Hope things work out for her and the family. God bless.