The givers

My friend Kate is pushing my grocery cart for me. And she is doing this while brandishing a Christmas wreath I’ve chosen to buy. It’s looped over her right forearm, like a medieval shield, as she does battle with the pre-Thanksgiving shoppers. She’s a tiny formidable force in Whole Foods, tooling down the aisles like my own personal Sherpa—clearing the way so no one jostles me. And yes, in case you’re wondering, she does carry groceries to the car.

Everyone needs a Kate. Kate is a giver. Three weeks post-surgery, I am so thankful for the givers in my life. Fitting, as today is Thanksgiving in the States.

My givers, over the past several weeks, have done everything from helping me dress myself to walking my dog. I texted Kate, days after surgery: “It’s humbling when you cannot put on your own underwear.” Her response was pure giver: “I have no problem helping people put on their underwear.” How many people in your life would say that to you? And yes, I’m laughing as I type that. I realize it’s an odd sort of litmus test. Perhaps best reserved for your best loved.

My sister showed up to help me at my most helpless, traveling from another state. She put on my socks, held my towel, watched me cry the first time I saw how I looked post-surgery and told me it was going to be alright.

Another friend set up a meal schedule and my angel pals fed us for two weeks. Their healthy meals were a godsend when my body craved protein and homemade anything. They dropped off meals again and again, watching me go from laying on the medical recliner with ice packs to shuffling to the door and blowing them a kiss.

I got flowers and beautiful cards from friends around the world, from England, to Los Angeles, to Washington, D.C. And it humbled me, all that love.

As I’ve grown older and wiser, I have come to value the people who show up. They don’t just call to express concern or text a get-well wish. Instead, they show up in a very real way. They help you leap the hurdles, from pouring a glass of water from a pitcher you can’t yet lift, to making sure your underwear is washed and on your body. And those that can’t physically be there can still show up. A good friend sent me a lovely post-op package with all the things I’d need, from dry shampoo to a lip balm. I felt it was a hug from him.

My mother used to say that there is no “convenient” time to give. She emphasized that giving was not about my schedule and comfort, but about what my loved ones needed when they needed it. And she did not take kindly to excuses for not showing up for those I loved. This grounding made me all the more grateful to loved ones who made the time to show up for me over the past few weeks. They’re all busy. They work. They have families. They have their own challenges. And yet, they helped me face my challenge.

My divorce allowed me the first real opportunity to see who showed up in life for me. And this surgery did the same. My tribe may be varied and located all over the world, but they’re gems. They’re givers. They tell me they feel the same about me, but having been the recipient of so much love I am determined to be even better about providing it when others need it. Who would have thought a pot of soup or grocery errands could mean so much?

This week, as we celebrate what we’re thankful for here in the U.S., I hope you do the same regardless of where you sit in the world. Think about who your givers are. Reach out. Brandish a Christmas wreath, if you have to. Maybe be a little selective about who you help with underwear. (I mean, really.)

But let’s give. I intend to give early and often this holiday season. Because, as it turns out, givers are a tribe like few others. A tribe you must earn? Yes.

But the best things in life usually are.

 

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh so sorry to hear that you have needed surgery .. but what a wonderful group of friends and family you have! Must make you feel so good! All the best for a speedy recovery …

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Julie! I appreciate the kind thoughts. I’ve been mending nicely and am looking forward to feeling more like myself over the holidays . . .

  2. laurawinkle says:

    thank you candidkay…hey sweetie you have my Mother’s middle name. She never cared for her given one Helen. She went by Kay her entire life. Kindred spirits here. I too am a giver. This season though I went too far lol. Angels are from God his messengers. What a blessing you have so many in your life : ) blessed be.

    1. candidkay says:

      Well isn’t that kismet? 🙂 It’s not my real name, just my blogger name. But honored to share it with your mom. I hope all your giving comes back to you tenfold!

  3. So sorry about your surgery, Kristine, but so glad you have a tribe of beautiful angels around you. All the best.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). Yes, I’m truly blessed and grateful for that!

  4. Wishing you all the best for your recovery Kristine. I’m glad that you’re being so well looked after.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Andrea! Our bodies are really amazing in the way that they heal :-). And we are really amazing when we truly help each other.

  5. egjacobycomcastnet says:

    Sorry to hear you had surgery. However, so happy you have a tribe! YOU deserve the best!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, friend! We all need a tribe, right?

  6. Cindy says:

    Oh no- I didn’t know you had surgery! I would have definitely brought you ice cream! 😘 Heal quickly! Hugs to you my friend!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, that made me smile. Fond memories of our ice cream jaunts!

  7. I love your tribe! And yes, you really learn who your tribe is when you can’t take care of yourself. Wishing you continued healing.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I love my tribe too. 🙏🏻

  8. ❤ Now that is one special person who changes another friend's underwear.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m sure it’s not what they thought they were signing up for:).

  9. markbialczak says:

    You deserve the angel givers in your life, Kay, I can tell from the many tales you’ve shared with us over these years.
    You care, they care.
    I send you good thoughts as you continue to gain strength! Happy day-after Thanksgiving.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Mark! Hope your turkey day was phenom. Here’s to a holiday season of caring . . .

  10. Hello. If you weren’t the type of person that you are, you wouldn’t have so many people helping you. The fact that they are there for you speaks well of you. I hope you have a good recovery from the surgery.

    Neil Scheinin

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Neil! I appreciate the good thoughts. And hopefully, this was a good reminder of how to continue to be present for those I love.

  11. pirootb says:

    Good that you are healing well and getting so much support from your people. Our moments of vulnerability are often our moments of clarity as well….life offers us a glimpse of what is really important, who is really important.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, yes. I completely agree on the clarity bit. This one pulled me up short, forcing me to really examine not only who is in my life, but how I live it.

  12. Jane Fritz says:

    A perfect Thanksgiving post, reminding us all of what is truly important: friendship, kindness, health. Take good care of yourself as you heal and gain strength.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Wishing you a wonderful holiday. 🍂

  13. Well written dear lady. There is nothing more confronting than being in a very ‘personal’ situation and having to ask someone to do the basics. And in doing so you see the true angel wings of the holder, whether it is Christmas wreaths or underwear 😀
    May your village be full with many blessings of Thanksgiving Kris, your health ready for a jog next week or at least many angels around as you wobble to the mailbox and back 😀

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Mark! It’ll be about six weeks before I can start light exercise. But, I am really looking forward to the three months or more, when I can fully get back into exercise and a healthy lifestyle :-). I appreciate my health so much more!

      1. It so does give a better appreciation of what we do have after going through something as you have dear lady 🙏🏽 😀 ❤️

  14. KDKH says:

    That is a really good friend! Wishing you continued recovery!

    1. candidkay says:

      Right?! She’s a keeper:).

  15. Judy says:

    I’m so happy to hear that you have so many wonderful givers in your life. Not something to think about right now, but I don’t want to forget to mention it. Your mention of not being able to pick up a water pitcher made me think of my sister.

    When she had healed enough she joined a gym. The personal trainer asked her how much weight she wanted to lose.

    She responded, “I don’t care. I don’t want to lose weight.”

    “Why are you here?”

    “I want to be able to pick up a half-gallon of milk without dropping it on the floor.”

    Mission accomplished and she quit the gym. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh my goodness! That must have been some surgery she had. I’m so glad she got back to what she wanted:).

      1. Judy says:

        A full mastectomy. She also a 17-year survivor. 🙂

      2. candidkay says:

        Oh, Judy. That is wonderful! I’m so glad she has regained her health and kept it.

  16. Dale says:

    What a beautiful post, Kristine. I knew you had a surgery planned but didn’t know the whens or hows or whatnots… so, belatedly, I send my virtual love!
    There is nothing like finding out who the givers are…
    Hope you are doing well and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Dale! Wishing you a blessed holiday season filled with givers. You deserve that and more . . .

      1. Dale says:

        Thank you, my friend. I don’t know about deserving but it would be nice

      2. candidkay says:

        Deserving! No arguments about it, my friend:).

  17. Amy says:

    I’m grateful to hear you’re on the mend and that you have a fleet of givers and far-flung friends who are making you feel loved and well cared-for, which you couldn’t deserve more. Things have been crazy here, but I have a special something for you that I’ll send soon. As always, my friend, you’re on my mind and in my heart. Thanksgiving blessings to you and your dear ones~ xxx

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Amy! I am wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

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