For the last 15 years or so, my mom, her longtime partner, and my aunt have all shared a house together in Port Angeles. You should see the view from this place, it’s perched on a hill and oriented towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A great busy expanse of water topped by mountains can be savored from their windows, with Victoria, B.C. glittering in the distance like a collection of fairy lights.

My mom’s partner John died about a month ago. He was a man of many hobbies and interests and a full-blown packrat, so there has been an enormous amount of stuff to go through. You know: stuff. So much stuff. Papers, miscellaneous electronics, gadgets and equipment and tools, double and tripled-up supplies of various kinds, furniture, and on it goes.

There’s been a lot of work to be done, not just to clear out John’s no-longer-needed things but to go through their collective things as well and make fresh space for an updated living arrangement.

I’m several hours away, they can’t do a bunch of heavy schlepping on their own, and we’re all in the midst of an ongoing pandemic with particularly high numbers where they live — what a mess, right?

Except when I arrived last weekend to help out, the garage had already been largely tackled by a neighbor. While I was there, a friend’s husband came by and hauled away all the electronics, and another friendly neighbor arrived the next morning to take away a full dump run. I’m not even going to get into the whole stranger-than-fiction story of the young car enthusiast couple who bought John’s beloved vintage Thunderbird, developed a lovely relationship with my mom, and are carrying his ashes in the car so part of him can join their driving adventures.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” my mom mused during my visit, and I had this moment of realizing that I have been fully stuck in worst-times mode for weeks now.

THESE times are the WORST of the times, they’re the fucking WORST, I hate EVERYTHING ABOUT THESE WORST-ASS TIMES, is generally how my thought process has been going, and listen, I’m not here to aggressively bright-side what is legitimately a steaming pile of worstness, however:

there are good things happening too, and people who are looking out for one another, and it would probably be helpful to focus on those things sometimes, self.


10 Responses to “Look at the helpers”

  1. Swistle on September 19th, 2021 2:46 pm

    I spent like 4 seconds attempting not to cry at the part about the car enthusiast who will let the ashes ride along.

    I am so sorry for everyone’s loss <3

  2. JB on September 19th, 2021 9:49 pm

    I am so sorry for your Mom’s loss, and for your loss too.

    I try to be one of the helpers cause I know the sweet sweet relief when someone steps in and picks up a little of some heavy load I’ve been carrying.

    The time you spend with your hospice patients does the same for them and their families. A little breathing room and little bit of feeling less alone.

  3. Elizabeth_K on September 20th, 2021 6:56 am

    So grateful to your mom’s neighbors, friends and car-buyers for their kindness. It’s HARD to focus on positive now — thanks for reminder. Sorry for your mom’s loss.

  4. itsjustme on September 20th, 2021 7:19 am

    What beautiful helpers. So sorry for your loss.

  5. Nix on September 20th, 2021 8:04 am

    Firstly, I’m sorry for your mom’s loss, and yours. Secondly I agree, I think this year has actually been worse than last year was. I’ve also been stuck in this rut of limbo/not-goodness. It’s nice to have these reminders that there’s light out there still. I, for one, needed it. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Molly on September 20th, 2021 9:41 am

    Thank you for this post, I needed to hear something like this today!

  7. Mary Claire on September 21st, 2021 4:00 am

    Condolences all around. Kindness is everything! It bubbles up and restores my faith in humanity.

  8. Barbara on September 21st, 2021 8:47 am

    Love this post and all the kindness in people. Those car buyers sound amazing!

  9. Katherine on September 22nd, 2021 7:23 pm

    You have such a wonderful way of articulating things. I love the way you wrest out of words exactly the shape and form that suit the mood you’re trying to convey. (And I’m sorry for your family’s loss.)

  10. Jessica on October 3rd, 2021 9:06 pm

    Love this. Times are shitty, but there’s still good.

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