Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Please Help Me

Next time you go to the store, may I ask you to get extra milk?  May I ask you to help me find a solution of how to walk home from the grocery store with fresh fruit and meat not spoiling in the 100F/37C+ degree summer weather?  I wanted to go to church last spring.  Maybe you could help me find a way to get there.  If my daughter were to run a fever for five days,  I am not sure how I would get her to the doctor.  School will be out in an hour.  It is chilly and pouring rain outside.  Don’t you think these umbrellas will be enough to keep my children dry and, at least slightly, protected from the damp chill?

180 days.  One hundred eighty.  It is not a random number; rather, it is a magical number in the eye of the drivers’ licensing department in most states.  A person can have a seizure and somehow in six months they will be healthy enough to drive.  Six months is a very long time.  An individual can lose consciousness for any number of medical reasons.  After 180 days of good health, magically they are fit enough to drive.

If your car has to go in for repairs, do you feel lost?  I recently overheard one mother tell our school’s office her child would not be there all week due to their family being short one car.  She was nearly crying from frustration.  The bus system could not come and pick her son up.  I knew one man that was very angry his car was in the garage for three days.  He would be forced to take vacation time.  He did not have a lot saved up.  I knew one mom who was worried about how she would adequately take care of her children when she would need to walk so far to get groceries.  I knew one mom that spent a summer asking those questions above.  I am that mom.

If you know someone who never takes their car out anymore ask if they need a ride.  There are more reasons than just epilepsy that will leave people longing for the freedom a car can provide.  I know last time I lost my license, it was one of the most difficult times I had of continuing a sense of normalcy for my family.  My husband was away on a long work trip.  It was only my daughters and me.  I was told on several occasions, “Next time I go to the store I will let you know.  You can ride along.”  I would see these same people, having forgotten to invite me, come home a few days later with a trunk full of groceries.  I would remember the Sunday bake sale our church recently had for families in need, but then find out people were too busy during the week to take me to the doctor.  One lady asked again and again if I needed to go out and get anything.  I finally told her yes.  When I asked for help, she told me she did not have time to go out and did not like that store.  But, she encouraged, I should ask again next week and she’ll see if her schedule frees up.  That crushed me after gathering courage to admit I needed help.

When you lose your right to drive, you lose freedoms most likely you’ve never thought about before.  You give up a level of independence you always took for granted.  I even gave up simple things such as a speaking group I attended weekly.  It was a pleasant outing to go and see these familiar people.  It was fun to practice and utilize my passion for public speaking.  Only one person offered me transportation.  This man used the weekly outing as his social hour, too.  I could not take this away from him.  He would need to rush me home to pick up my kids from school.  We lost my kids’ opportunity to play community sports because games were not always close to our home, but sometimes miles and miles away.  I lost so much during those months.  I gained little besides strong legs, a trimmer body and much more compassion for those that are never again able to drive.

So this, this, is what I am asking you to help me with: If you know someone that cannot drive, don’t wait and make them ask you for help.  The greatest gift a neighbor gave to me was the frequent call where she said, “I am going to Target. Do you want to ride along with me?”  I always tell people not to ask if they don’t want company because I will never decline an outing.  We, no individual is immune to this, get busy in our own lives.  Remember though those around you unable to be busy.  People need your help.  Whether it is a call letting them know you can get them a container of milk or a ride to a meeting, it will mean more than you can ever imagine.  Think back to the time when you had to take your car in for repairs.  Think about what you would miss if you could not get a rental to use for a week.  Imagine it was you who was unable to find transportation for months at a time.  I would be happy to offer you help.  Right now though, I am asking you to offer this same help to someone else in need of your kindness.


Comments on: "Please Help Me" (16)

  1. Maggie said:

    Yes, yes, and yes, and thank you for posting this in such detail. I hate those six months no-driving times. However, once, after seizures, when I was in a six months “hiatus” from driving, and still teaching, a friend/colleague arranged for someone to pick me up and drive me home from school every single day. When I returned to school after getting out of the hospital, she handed me this list and said, “It’s all taken care of.” Tears came into my eyes for her thoughtfulness and for all those who went out of their way to drive me for those long six months.

    • Your coworker who gave you this list, I think she must have been an angel in disguise. What an amazing gift she handed you. Do you ever think she knew just how much that gesture truly meant to your life? You are very fortunate to have a friend like that.

  2. Tara, I wished we lived close to each other again. I would take you anywhere you wanted to go, even for a ride around the block if that’s what you wanted. My mom doesn’t drive and I loved taking her with me wherever I went just so she could get out.

    • It would be nice to have you all back here rather than around those crazy drivers in your state now. It’d be great to have you here. I would have never turn down a ride! 🙂

      I was excited to see you had stop by. Thanks!


  3. This is a timely reminder for us all to help anyone in need.
    Being without transport is so isolating, so if we can help someone by giving them a lift or picking up some groceries for them, I can imagine how important this would be to them. We can be quite thoughtless at times, busy with our own life, so have to wake up to what is going on around us in order to be of help.
    The gift of giving is a pleasurable thing, and much can be gained from it.
    Great post Tara.

    • Thanks Barb. I was out with my family today doing service work. The man we were helping kept saying thank you. I repeated your thought that “the gift of giving is a pleasurable thing”. I really think we can gain more by helping others than we could ever dream of.


  4. Very moving, Tara, and quite a reminder. I will try to think consciously of people in our community who might need a lift, and would not ever ask for it.

    • I appreciate that Judith. There are so many people that need little more than a friendly ride or assistance in getting necessary items. Anyone that can offer this adds a little more hope in my heart.


  5. singer51781 said:

    Awesome blog! This should be in a magazine or something! I’m dealing with the same thing, so I can’t drive people anywhere, but it’s a good thing to note when I can! I’m afraid to ask anyone for a ride to the Mayo Clinic, which is 5 1/2 hours away from me. That’s asking for over 20 hours of driving. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, but I am fortunate enough to at least have rides for my much needed medical care. 🙂

    • That is a long trip to the Mayo clinic! I am glad you were able to get an appointment though. I know people who cannot make the long trips, so miss out on great care. I hope you have people eagerly waiting in line to take you. 🙂

      Our area has talked about making a light train rail. I really wish they would. It would help me, and others without a car, be able to travel longer distance.

      It was nice to have you stop by. Your kind words mean a great deal to me!


  6. This is a great reminder about such a simple thing. Living in community with each other is clearly so important. I know for sure I’d go bonkers without my car. In a very very small way I’ve worried about having my accessible van out of commission for any length of time. I haven’t quite thought of a Plan B for getting my son around. Not the same, I know, but something I’ve thought about.

    • I feel it’s the same Heather. You still have a struggle of how to keep your regular routine in order. The accessible van for your family is equivalant to my independence with a car. I hope you never need it, but a Plan B is always a good idea.

      I hope you are having a great weekend.


  7. Tara: Great job of pointing out what should be obvious to folks, but appearently is not! People need to be reminded how to help! Great job doing so!

  8. You have provided a great reminder of how important it is to be aware of the needs of others, and I do hope you have friends/neighbors who help you along the way.
    Thanks for your visit which led me to you.

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