I saw a friend today. In fact, actually I didn’t, Hubby did, and I had to do a triple take.
We haven’t seen him around for a while though we were aware he and his wife had separated about 2 years ago.
We are impartial, but had always said that if he wanted some company, he’d be welcome here. I invited him round for a meal, endless cups of coffee, and the answer was always Thanks, but he never arrived. It got to the stage where we stopped asking.
I didn’t recognise him today. He was in a wheelchair pushing a specially adapted trolley in the supermarket. It is obvious he has been ill, but it goes beyond that.
He is broken, both physically and mentally.
My gut reaction was shock, and as we talked, I felt the fingers of guilt creep across the back of my neck.
If only we had persevered. If only we had taken the time to knock on his door. If only we had cared.
Then I stopped.
It was not our fault, and by his own admission, he wanted to be on his own, to deal with his problems alone. He didn’t want to ask for help.
We left to go down our separate shopping aisles, once again saying that he would be welcome if he wanted some company, or if he wanted Hubby to pop round, he just had to pick up the phone.
We know it won’t happen.
Walking back to the car, we discussed it and both agreed that for a Man to ask for help is so much more difficult than for a female.
Why is that? It’s not a shameful thing, feeling the need to reach out for support, wanting someone to confide in, share the load, or even help to put things into perspective.
Hubby and I are not gossips.
If someone tells us something in confidence, it goes no further.
If someone has problems, we offer our time and a listening ear, but it is not our business to spread the word.
If he didn’t contact us when he needed someone because he felt we would blab, he doesn’t know us very well, and that saddens us both.
Everyone needs someone, sometime.
No-one should be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
Friends don’t judge. We thought we were friends.
We are here.