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.