Lift from where you are

A dear friend of mine lost her mom a few months ago. She had battled with cancer and stomach issues and had thought that she was recovering only to learn the cancer had come back and with vengeance. She was barely 60 years old. My friend was and is still heartbroken. Her mom was everything to her, and her loss is almost too much to bear.

I have thought so much about my friend. I've reached out in different ways to let her know I'm here and I'm with her, even though I'm actually not with her. She is always present in my mind and heart, and I know she knows that.

When my friend posted about her mother's death, so many people rallied around her and buoyed her up among the crashing waves of grief. The outpouring of love was astounding. I can imagine her sweet mother watching all these women figuratively carrying her daughter out of the depths of despair; I'm sure she cried the whole time as the women helped my friend reach heavenward.

While I am not yet well acquainted with death and the grief that it brings, I have had my own experiences of being lifted above the crashing waves. Each time I had a baby, so many women offered meals and babysitting, and there were some who even came and cleaned my house (my toilets even!!). There was a steady stream of people for about a week, and I always felt so loved and cared for.

And then the week ended. And people got back to their normal lives as I expected them to, but there I was with one, two, three, five babies clinging to my ankles, one of whom was so tiny and delicate that she/he required extra love and attention, and I was forced to forge on ahead, mostly alone even though the waves were still high and often seemed like they were about to crash down at any minute.

Somehow I survived. My youngest baby is eighteen months and still requires extra attention but nowhere near the attention he once needed. The waves seem knee deep now, with an occasional tidal wave that hits me out of nowhere.

And so now I find myself in a position to reach out and lift those in deeper water, like my dear friend above. Here's the thing: people need us long after that initial week has worn off. In fact, they need us more. I could've really used an extra pair of hands the summer I had Timmy, but I often found myself sobbing as I soothed several crying babies. I am grateful for the people who still dropped by and still offered help because everything they did saved me in a crucial time. It's been a few months, and people are telling my friend that grief gets easier with time, but so far it hasn't been the case for her. It's actually been harder. Luckily, she knows some of the same women I know, and they are reaching out to her, even when she wants to hide and disappear. My friends will not let her disappear.

So during this holiday time--when everything seems so merry and bright (and it really is!)--there are people who might not feel so merry and bright for whatever reason, and if we have it in us to serve a little here and there, I hope we'll do it. Lift from where you are. And if you happen to be under crashing waves, ask for help. Reach out. There are people (like me) who don't always know service is needed unless told but are completely willing to help. Happy holidays friends!


  1. Beautiful words, and an excellent reminder.

  2. Janine... you have such a gift with words. I feel blessed to know you and to be loved by you. I'm copy and pasting this post for me to read over and over in the next weeks, months and maybe even years. Thank you for teaching me about service and showing me how to give it to others. I love you friend. xoxoxo


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