(Published Oct. 15, 2007, 2:44 p.m.)
Send your donation to: The Time Is Now to Help, PO Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157
Editor's Note: The following is a letter to The Time Is Now, a private charity serving Walworth County. The founder, who knew poverty as a child, now provides help for those in need. Every penny donated goes to the needy for daily necessities of life. Donors will receive a tax-deductible itemized receipt showing exactly where every penny was spent. We'll publish a letter most weeks.
My spouse has been bedridden for the past year and a half with a terminal disease. I have been unable to leave my spouse's side for the past nine months. Our family is falling apart. Our children, due to their young age, do not understand why one of their parents is so ill. They continually ask questions about the illness and why this happened to their parent.
We receive a small check for assistance. We have sold everything we own and moved into a small rental. If there is any help that can be offered, we are desperate for assistance. We would be most grateful. I have been staying strong for the children and trying to be positive in their presence. It has been so hard to put on a happy face for them every day. I do not want them to only remember their parent in this way. I do not want them to see us go through any more difficult times.
Please stop by any time.
A neighbor needing help
After I received this letter of request, I stopped by to check out the situation and see what we could do to help. As I approached, I saw a very run-down shelter. After I knocked, there was a very warm welcome waiting on the other side. The healthy spouse and the children greeted me. The children were told that someone who believes in helping people, who has gathered others who also want to help people, wants to help their family.
"I heard you like helping people," older child said.
"Yes, I do," I replied.
"We help our parent every day."
"I liked you when I first heard about you," I said. "I liked you when I first saw you and I like you even more knowing you are so helpful."
The child smiled a very big smile.
As I went inside I looked around. I could see everything they owned was worn, old or used. When I closed the door behind me, I felt as though I walked into their world. After a few short steps, I was in the bedroom where the spouse was lying, paralyzed from a debilitating disease. As the spouse looked back at me with widened eyes, I could feel the sense of fear, as well as a sense of wanting help. The parent was expressing the worry of the family's situation. This parent felt so helpless.
The healthy spouse explained the situation, how the disease took a toll, from being able to walk to becoming wheelchair bound to becoming bedridden, from being able to communicate to being unable to communicate--with the exception of the eyes.
The talkative child at the door introduced me by saying, "We are very happy WC is here. Are you?"
The parent's eyes blinked a number of times.
"That means very happy," the child said. "We set up a code while my parent had the ability to talk. That number of blinks means they are very happy you are here."
We continued to communicate like this for some time. I was asked where my heart was in respect to God. After our conversation about the Lord, I assured them we were there to help. I could see tears forming and dropping from the parent in the bed. The healthy parent hugged the parent in bed with tears also forming.
As I watched the children look upon their parents, they joined in hugging both parents. The younger child started crying. The talkative child looked back at me, while still hugging their parents and said, "Before my parent lost their speech, I was told I was supposed to be the strong one to hold everyone together."
I could see the tears welling in this child's eyes. The child did not let the tears flow. The child took a deep gasp and held his breath to stop the tears. I said, "I think at times like this, your parent would say it is okay to cry."
As I looked at the parent in the bed, the eyes were blinking. I said, "Look, what does that mean?" The child looked at the parent and let the tears flow. Other than the combination of the sadness, as well as the hope for help, silence was in the room.
As all of you know, I cannot see our fellow creations go through so much without feeling their pain and sorrow. I share their emotions as my heart cares. After everyone composed themselves we talked about what was needed. We helped with rent, utilities and household necessities. We helped until the family felt they did not have to worry about financial uncertainties. The only thing they had to do was be there for each other in this emotional time. The bedridden parent wanted only to say goodbye with dignity.
Health and happiness,
A special thank you to: Doug and Lola Bearder, Phil and Joan Parisi, Vito and Betty Licari, Leslie and Edward Foster, Leland and Linda Swenson, John Race, Debra and George Reuss, James and Karen Goodrick, Steven and Susan Woodcock, Peter and Susan Douglas, Mary Boak, Wallace Eckart, Heckel Tool and Manufacturing, Community Connection in Genoa City, Dennis and Nancy Nagl, Edward McCullough, Linda Cook, William and Laverne Duncan and Golden Years of Walworth.
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