Helping Hand

I am not very religious, but that doesn’t exclude to be a help or to do good things. I often helped people in my life, on my own ways, and with my possibilities. I think I learned this from my mother. She always walked with opened eyes through her life, and where others looked away, she offered help. Sometimes it’s about tiny things, other times your help matters a lot. You definitely can’t save everyone and the whole world, but you can contribute by noticing the things that happen around you.

It’s impossible to write it all down, and it’s also not the point of this post, but there have been moment where I could have kept moving, but I stopped to help. For example when I saw a helpless person lying in the cold snow and I helped him up and called the ambulance. Or when I called the ambulance and police when someone on a bridge asked me to help him doing suicide. It also happened several times that I bought my food before work and shared it with a homeless person I saw on my way or in front of the shop. When I saw a drunken lady falling over and when I convinced my friend that we pay her a taxi ride home. Or when I accompanied a kid back to his home, when another group of kids wanted to beat him up.

I can’t remember everything, and most of it are small things. But the point is, I don’t want to close my eyes when I walk through life. Yesterday I talked about this with my mother again. She has an old neighbour and my mother sometimes checks if everything is good. The woman barely can’t move, so my mother cuts her hair, or cleans her rooms because the person who should do it doesn’t do it very well. My mother also fed her pets when the woman was in the hospital and so on. And yesterday we sat on the balcony when my mother received a phone call. The old lady I talked about always carries her phone with her in every room, in case something happens. And now she was ringing and asking my mother for help, because the old lady fell to the ground.

My mother asked me if I would come with her to help the lady up and of course I would do that. We went there and saw the old lady in the outside staircase. She wanted to open her mail box but slipped with her stockings and fell on her bottom. When we arrived, we saw one neighbour who had nothing to do except giving us and the old lady a suspicious look. Since I am a brutally honest person, I couldn’t prevent myself to confront the neighbor with the fact that he could have helped the lady up, (if that is not possible alone, he could have rang on the doors of other neighbors to get help) but this just made him go away without words.

And this is what my post is about. People surely don’t have to go through the world like a Samaritan, but people could at least be a help if someone near by needs help. This is what I mean by going through the world with opened eyes. What I always ask myself is, how it will be when I am getting older. Maybe I will slowly walk the street and out of the sudden I faint. Will someone help me? If that or similar things happen to me, and it actually doesn’t even have something to do with the age because it could happen to me today as well, I’d like it if someone nearby would pay attention. This can be as simple as asking me if I need help, and if so, calling an ambulance. And since I hope people would help me in such case, I need to do the same right now, or whenever something around me happens to someone else. But too often I saw how people simply don’t care about others.

So, we helped the old lady up and supported her up the staircase and back into her apartment. She told us that she would be fine, but we wondered if it wouldn’t be better to call a doctor. But she smiled and told my mother “Thanks, fortunately I just fell on the buttom, I just needed someone to get back up”. My mother noticed again that she has a table on wheels and said “But this table doesn’t look harmless either, don’t support yourself on it if you want to get up from the couch”. The old lady replied “No, no, no, I told you the other day, I don’t do that!” and showed us how she’s using the armchair of the couch to get to her wheeled rollator beside it. My mother said again “Call if you need help, and be careful” and the lady smiled again and replied “I am old but I do persist”. She then told us that there is at least another neighbor who cares, he mounted the wheels under her table. Eventually she said “You dear ones, thanks for helping me too, in this world we need friends”.

It was maybe 20 minutes of our time if you include the talking, and how does this affect me in my free time? It doesn’t, but it seemed like our help mattered a lot to her. This is what I mean with small things. We walked back to another house where my mother lives, and on the way we wondered how it is if you don’t know anyone anymore. You’d be dependent on others sometimes. The only question I asked my mother on the way back was why the lady isn’t in a home for old people, because she’s quite old and looked pretty helpless. My mother told me that the lady got that suggestion from emergency doctors in the past as well, and other personal, but the lady refused to go into a home for old people. While you need to respect that, I personally think that I might be different in the future. I’d be more afraid that something happens to me and nobody is there in the moment I need help. I think she is as well, which is why she doesn’t let go from her phone, but she’s probably more afraid of a nursing home.

My mother sometimes helps her, and this since over 5 years or so. The old lady is trusting my mother that much, that she received a key for the apartment. It’s of course only possible after work. Otherwise there are caregivers coming for visits. And as mentioned in the beginning, she pays someone for the cleaning but that person doesn’t do a good job, which is why my mother is doing it as well when she has time. The old lady tries to convince my mother to do it alone and take the money. But my mother is already working an office job for a physiotherapist and has variable duty hours, and well, a life too. So, my mother prefers to help when she has time, as neighbourly help. It’s a shame that the other person barely doesn’t do a good cleaning job but takes money for it. If you take money, you should at least do your job good. I forgot to ask my mother if the other person is from an organization, because if so, the old lady should report the person and ask to send someone else. Because this is a real no-go. If you pay, you should receive the appropriate service.

What I’ve heard is that the daughter of the old lady moved to Spain. To be honest, I never could do that if I still have my family here. I’d always think back “How’s my mother doing?” and how I can’t be a help. No, I really couldn’t do that. I’d always have the feeling that I am needed back home. Maybe for some years with a decent job offer and if everyone is still healthy. But very unlikely and even if so, I’d take the next flight back home if I would hear something is with my mother. I don’t despise that others can do it, I just can’t understand it.

Enough written. I just can repeat my message. We can’t save the world, nor can we help everyone on this planet. But I personally believe that little things count too. There are things happening around us too, and if we notice something, we can be there and offer help, because it might be that we will need someone some day too. It might appear little to us if we helped, but it might mean a lot to the person who received the help. It doesn’t mean looking to help someone everyday and spending all your time, it just means having the eyes opened and being a help if someone needs it right now. Next Monday, the old lady has to carry the bulk trash in her basement to the outside so that the city can collect it from the streets, and obviously she can’t do it alone. My mother and another neighbor will help. My mother asked me if I’d like to help too and since I have time in the evening I’m going to be there.

12 thoughts on “Helping Hand

    1. I have no clue either. My uncle told me once that he did faint in the street and several people continued walking until someone came along who helped. It’s a shame that so many people look away if someone needs help. Especially since it’s so simple in cases like that with smartphones today… we just need to ask what’s going on and call the ambulance in examples like that one.

  1. I don’t understand it either. Today many people don’t seem to want to get involved and yet it is easy. Almost everyone has a phone and could call an ambulance if they can’t physically help themselves.
    Luckily there are still many people who do care about others in those small ways. Naomi was just telling me the other day about how her shopping bag broke in the car park one day and all her things fell to the ground. She started to try and pick it up and a young woman hurried to help her. When I had a fall in a shopping centre a couple of years ago several people came over to help me get up, one bought me a bottle of water and others offered to call an ambulance which I refused.
    I know two ladies who spend all their time doing things for others, during the bushfires one of them had about a dozen people staying at her house including all their pets and she still found time to cook food and take it to the evacuation centre each day. Another is always collecting or buying things to give to people she hears about who are having a hard time. Neither of these ladies is religious and nor am I particularly. I think it is as you mentioned Dennis a matter of putting yourself in the shoes of the other person.
    I can understand the old lady you mentioned being fearful of a home. I don’t know about in Germany but some homes in Australia are very bad but even in the good ones when you go to such a place you surrender your freedom to a great extent. Yes, you get cared for and if you are lucky there will be activities you can do but it is all on someone else’s timetable. You eat when they say, you go to bed when they say. You may not be able to take your pet if you have one, you have to give up most of your belongings to live in just one room. Frankly, I would rather die than go to an old people’s home. You are right though that if this lady’s cleaner is from an organisation she ought to report it because she is not getting what she is paying for. I hope she is not afraid to in case the person is mean to her.
    I remember when David and I talked about moving to Tasmania. I would never have done it while my mum was alive unless she would come with us. David’s mother was still alive but his two sisters lived near enough to come and take care of anything she needed and we agreed that we would fly back immediately if something happened. Of course, had he been an only child we would probably not have gone.

    1. Yes. Nowaydays everyone has a phone in the pocket but yet people continue on their path and don’t want to get involved.

      The same what happened to Naomi, happened to me too but about two years ago. I had that much in the bag that it wasn’t possible to carry it with the broken bag. A woman came to me and told me if I wait 5 minutes, she’s going in the store to get a new bag for me. I smiled and couldn’t thank her enough. Small thing, but it made me happy. It’s also great that you got help in the shopping centre when you fell. I see it like you do, we’re lucky that at least some peope still care about others.

      It’s great what the ladies you mentioned are doing. I am not exactly living in an area with catastrophes, but you never know what can happen. I’d totally do something like cooking for people or contributing with other things. If I can be a help first-hand, I will be. I just don’t like donating to associations because I don’t trust them what they do with the money (it was in the news so often, with donations and corruptions). I’d rather help with my own hands.

      You make good points about the nursing homes Vanda. I didn’t think about it this way, that doesn’t sound fun at all. Also, these homes have a very bad reputation here too. I saw lots of horror stories in TV reports where they uncover bad practices. I mean real horror stories. So, there are some really bad ones out there. A friend of mine has his mother in a home for old people here in Lübeck, this is a good one as he reported to me. But how can I know where to go, if I am alone and old. Because until then, there are new ones, or others don’t excist anymore and things have changed. Or they have new personal that doesn’t care. It’s a really good point. You’re giving up freedom and trusting them.

      I am going to ask my mother about the cleaner and how it’s working and suggest that the old lady should find another one in any case. But maybe my mother suggested it already. I just know, as in my post mentioned, that the old lady would like it if my mother would replace the other person. But that would not leave much free time anymore due to her full time job.

      You make a good point at the end too. Maybe it’s easier if you either have brothers or sisters. I am the only son of my mother. And with her husband not being my father, I can just speak of half-sisters, but they live somewhere else. It could be that I’d be different with real siblings, and if they would live close to my mother. Then I could imagine it for some time. But I’m not that flexible as the only child. I didn’t even move out of her district 😀 I like to have mom nearby 😀 I told my mother, if I ever win the lottery, I take her with me. I’m not staying in Germany. She always said “Awesome, I don’t want to stay here either” LOL. 🙂

      On a more serious note. What I could also imagine is to work nearby, like in Denmark, as an adventure for some years. I say this because a friend did this for 3 years or so. He earned very well up there and could afford the train back down to Schleswig-Holstein once in a while to see the family. He also mentioned, he never felt like being far away. because Denmark is bordering Schleswig-Holstein and he said it looks like Schleswig-Holstein with all the things that are typical for our place… meadows, fields, sheeps, small forest areas and the Baltic Sea or North Sea. Which I can confirm. I’ve been there and it’s really is super similar, no wonder being that close.

      1. When you get older you think more about what might happen to you if you were to end up alone. I have no children and nor does Naomi so we will watch out for each other. Ideally I would like to stay in my own home and have what services I need come to me but who knows what could happen in another ten or fifteen years.
        I’m sure your mother would rather not have an extra job on top of the one she has but maybe she knows someone more reliable who is in need of some work that this lady might like. Anyway it sounds as if she is still of sound mind so she can at this point in time make her own decisions.
        So is Denmark where you would like to go if you were to leave Germany? It sounds ideal for you being not so far from home. I’ve always heard that the Scandinavian countries have a high cost of living but with our exchange rate almost everywhere has. It’s always been on my list of places in Europe I’d like to see though.

        1. Yeah. That also counts for my age. Different things, but also stuff I wouldn’t have thought about 10 or 20 years ago. With time you’re confronted with more and more things that happen or could happen. I miss the teenage where I was completely naive, because not affected of a lot of things.

          Yes. As it is now, my mother looks our for the lady one or two times a week. But doing the cleaning job would mean being there every day after work or before work. But still, my mother told me that she’s doing better cleaning in two days than the other person who comes more regularly to do the chores. Yes, the lady must do her own decisions.

          Denmark would be on top of the list. Sweden is very high on the list as well. I think Sweden and Norway would be a dream for hiking and nature photography. They’re not as crowded. Denmark because it would remind me of Schleswig-Holstein, because it’s close, and over the last years I liked Denmark’s political stances and decisions (but I know, politics can change, so this wouldn’t be a big reason). Apart from that, Scandinavian countries are a lot more modern. They have much faster internet. They can do a lot of the bureaucracy from home via internet while we have to visit our authorities and wait hours and hours to hand over stupid and dull papers, which could have been done with a few clicks via internet. I can’t speak for every young German person, but people I know are always amazed when they hear stuff from Denmark. They’re super popular amongs the young Lubeckians I know. People here always say Denmark when they dream of lottery or a bit more wealth. People here think they’re already arrived in the 21th Century, while we are in many ways stuck in the 20th Century. But apart from all that stuff, it’s more important that Baltic Sea is close… I am somewhat connected to it.. dunno… Baltic Sea means home to me. Living in Copenhagen or nearby would be an option too, instead of being close to the Schleswig-Holstein border. Because Copenhagen is 20 mintues by train to Sweden. So, I’d get both parts of the world. Apart from that ships going down to Germany if I’d want to see my city again. 🙂

          They speak good English there. Would help me survive the first years until I’d grasp Danish, Swedish lol. But I’d take that challenge of learning it in case I get hit my financial independence. The German government wouldn’t get a single Euro of taxes from me. I’d move tomorrow with my family. But then again, this is just dreaming. I’m probably stuck here, because I’d need as much money to take grandma, grandpa and my mother with me, and uncle’s daughter.

          You’re right. My friend earned a lot more there but the living costs were higher. He told that he found ways to live cheap there after some time, to the point that he felt that he had it better up there. I can’t argue here, I don’t have experience what cheap living means in Denmark.

          By the way. A funny fact… almost everyone I know speaks about emigrating without knowing or researched where it could be better. It’s just that people are super unhappy with our government. So, I think people try to express their frustration with sayings like “I wanne get out of here”. I’m not just talking about friends or family. You could get a new job tomorrow, meet new workmates and have a break together… as soon as somone reads something out of a news paper, there is a 90% chance that one or two young people will chime in with a grumpy “I hate this government, why I’m stuck in this madhouse!?” or similar. It’s so common, that it is like a movie on autoplay. Maybe it’s a thing in our city… I don’t know all the happy people that the media manages to ask in interviews. I don’t know where they are. Nobody knows. My experience is that young people feel neglected, not connected with our government. And people express it with daydreaming or thoughts like “I’d bail out tomorrow”. So, when people dream of financial independence, they expressing that they’d be interested to score off Germany, by living somewhere else and paying taxes somewhere else. And people start to understand why rich people do it.

        2. I hope that one day you may get the chance to move to Denmark. You like to plan things and do research so if that day comes, maybe when your grandparents are gone, you will be ready.
          Since the election here I read a comment that many more Australians have looked at emigrating to New Zealand. Most probably won’t but it is seen as a country with a better government than we have. I love what I’ve seen of New Zealand but they have too many earthquakes. I’d be scared to live there. Every country has something wrong with it I guess, but some are worse than others. I used to think Australia was one of the good ones, now I am not so sure.

        3. I meant to add that I have heard that Danish is a hard language to learn. Princess Mary of Denmark is from Australia, from Tasmania in fact and had to learn the language but perhaps for a German speaker it would be a little easier? I had read that English is widely spoken in the Scandinavian countries so at least you’d have plenty of opportunity to improve your spoken English.

        4. Yeah, who knows what life brings. And you’re probably right, there is no place with perfection. By following other bloggers, or people in the web who are upset about their own countries, I learned that it is not just problematic here where I live. A very common and same problem seems to be that small people get burned out, don’t profit from the so called booms they tout about in the media. But some wealthy people or corporations do. Even when I play PC games online, I’ve heard people from France, or UK and others sharing their experience… and I sometimes was like “Wait, these are actually the same problems we have her!?” (Like increasing apartment rent, no way to find new apartments, low wages, lots of work and tons of other problems). And they actually have the same dreams… I once heard someone telling me “You’re from Germany? Damn, I’d love to live there” and continued to tell me problems about his place that I’m not unfamiliar with in Germany either… that really showed me the problem. For example in Europe, not everyone seems to profit from the European economy booms, decisions or whatever. But they have to work harder and longer. Maybe I’d get the disillusion in Denmark as well… but still, there are definitely some bonus points there, which we don’t have here. But you’re absolutely right, everyone has different and sometimes even the same problems in their countries.

          I think one of my new followers is from New Zealand. I saw some interesting posts and photos, although his blog is generally more focused on music and sounds. But since he’s doing a bit of general blogging like I do, I think I will learn a bit more about this country with time. I really don’t know a lot about New Zealand, except that it’s around the corner of Australia 🙂

          No, I guess Danish is even for a German pretty hard to learn. A friend of mine had it in school, and he taught me some things that I already forgot. It took make ages to just speak the sentence “Can I have bread” correct. It was torture for my tongue 😀 Not saying anything about the Danish language, because I personally think all languages sound interesting, and it would be cool to master Danish as well. I’m just saying it was difficult for my tongue 🙂 English has some similarities with Low German (Plattdeutsch), and actually even some similarities with the modern high- or standard German. At first maybe difficult, but in retrospective I’d say it was easy to learn. Well, at least Danish doesn’t come with the hurdle like Russian Cyrillic script, or Chinese Pinyin. 😀 I think this is how I would motivate myself to learn Danish 🙂

    1. At times I browse social media and have read a lot about the US police. I was shocked how fast they shoot. And how they’re fast to especially suspect black people of doing something wrong even if they didn’t. It’s horrible. I actually saw some videos where I thought “WTF is going on over there?”. On Reddit they often post things where I can’t trust my eyes what I just read or saw. I already don’t have the best opinion of US foreign policy, but what’s going on internally according to some things I saw doesn’t look fun at all either, especially the police stories and videos.

      It’s just some months ago when I saw a video on Reddit where two police officers searched a car of I think two black people. They tried to find drugs but didn’t. So, one police officer did put something into the car, and confronted the citizens of the car with it. The officers just looked for a reason, and when they didn’t found a reason, they set it up. Horrible. But I saw worse videos or reports in the past, like officers that are fast to pull the gun and shoot. So, I definitely understand you.

      Here in Germany, police officers can’t just pull a gun, and you need to knife-wielding or worse to make them do it. They can get into huge trouble if they do without being in real danger themselves, or without someone else being in real danger. There are only a few cases in a year where a police officer shot someone, and it’s usually when someone attempted to attack a police officer with a knife, or when someone tried to attack a citizen with a knife and things like that. But even in these cases it’s more common that pepper is used instead of guns.

      Here in Germany you can actually get sued by the state if you don’t help someone in danger. It’s a law about failure to render assistance in an emergency (Unterlassene Hilfeleistung § 323 c StGB). This is a delict here.

      But we might have one of the problems you mentioned too. If you gauge a situation wrong (person didn’t need help), it could happen that you’re liable for the damage (breaking something, like a door or so as an example). I think I heard cases like that, where courts had to decide. But you won’t get into jail, because if they decide you did something wrong, you probably just will have to pay for the damage.

      So, helping is a bit easier here. In the US, as far as what I’ve hear, I’d probably rather do my own things as well, because I’d be afraid to get into trouble.

      1. My daughter had a very positive view of Germans and Germany. She’s a completed high school German and is quite good at speaking it.

        The USA has too many guns and too many lawyers.

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