Darling, she’s not okay

Image by Chrys Campos - flickr

Image by Chrys Campos – flickr

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and the wrong. Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.” 
~ Dr. Robert H. Goddard 1882-1945

Yesterday I went down to the local shopping mall nice and early. I needed to get bloods done, fill some prescriptions and pick up a few things. I’d planned to go the day before but circumstances intervened so here I was, trying to get my errands done before I started work.

All the stores I needed were already open, although most of the centre was still shut. While I waited for my scripts I treated myself to a breakfast  of coffee and a toasted sandwich in celebration of finishing the last of my current Lyme drugs. I sat at a table outside a cafe, in the middle of the mall, watching the centre slowly come to life. The lady at the opposite table looked up and smiled and then turned back to her ipad and latte. It felt good to be up and about and getting things done.

My solitary meal made me think of my precious Nana, who passed away on the 16th of November last year. Joycey would often order the exact same coffee and toastie and enjoy a little break in her day when doing her shopping. We September Girls have similar tastes.

Image by Kiki Diamant

Image by Kiki Diamant

As I was sipping my coffee I heard Nana’s voice loud and clear, “Darling, she’s not okay.”

I looked up, startled.

“Go see if she needs some help,” Nana’s voice urged kindly.

Right in front of me was a frail elderly woman limping and struggling with a shopping trolley. Her arm and face were badly bruised and I wondered if she had fallen recently.

“Excuse me,” I asked, “are you okay?”

Looking at me, confused, she placed a hand on her chest. “Are you speaking to me?” she asked weakly.

“Yes,” I said, standing up and walking the few steps over to her. “Are you okay? Do you need some help?”

Her hand clutched at her top and her eyes filled with tears. She nodded her head and began crying.

I took her by the arm and sat her down at my table, and moved the shopping trolley over beside us. I asked if she would like some water, and fetched a glass, and then  ordered her a pot of tea.

When she had finished crying, I asked her again, “Are you okay?”

“You know,” the old woman said, “I prayed yesterday and again this morning. I prayed for help but I didn’t know who to turn to. There’s only my son and me.”

As she sipped her tea she told me her story. Maud (not her real name) is eighty-three and lives in a unit not far from the shops. Her sixty-year-old son has recently been released from prison. He’s the only family Maud has, and he has no-one and nothing after many years in detention. Since his release he has been drinking heavily, and has begun assaulting her. Maud was afraid to say anything in case he was locked up again, but now she feels like a prisoner in her own home and her son is becoming more and more aggressive and unstable.

Portrait de Femmes by Linda Vachon at Flickr

Portrait de Femmes by Linda Vachon at Flickr

As Maud related her situation I too sent up a silent prayer, asking for help. I wasn’t sure what to do next or how best to deal with her situation.

But it was all okay. The woman at the next table came over. “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help overhearing,” she said. “I’m an off-duty policewoman, and I can help you with this.” After getting some details and reassuring Maud, the police woman excused herself, stepped away and made a few calls from her mobile phone.

What a kind and good woman. Within half an hour she had organised for an ambulance to attend to Maud, and for Maud’s son, who had broken his parole arrangements, to be taken back into custody.

I rang the hospital late yesterday and found out that Maud has a fractured cheekbone. She is resting well and I have promised to visit her. Over and over again she thanked me, and all I could think of was how little I’d really done. I’d simply asked an elderly woman, who was obviously struggling, if she was okay. And it had come at the prompting of my own beautiful Nana – the first time I have heard her voice in spirit.

It’s such a simple question: Are you okay?

It’s also a question that binds us together, weaving a thread of humanity and kindness through all of our lives so that we may be supported and know that we are not alone.

Last night I lay in bed and thought about the events surrounding Maud. I had shifted my day around to accommodate an emergency reading the day before, which is why I ended up at the shops so early yesterday. A policewoman sat opposite me. Maud stopped her trolley directly in front of both of us. I heard my Nana’s voice, which caused me to speak to Maud and ask if she was okay. Maud got the help she needed.

How can I not believe that there is more to life than this? That our prayers are heard? That love keeps living and giving, even when our loved ones have passed…

Image by littl3fairy

Image by littl3fairy

30 thoughts on “Darling, she’s not okay

  1. Sweetheart – that’s so incredibly beautiful. Thank goodness for people like you and the police woman. I hope that Maud will be okay. I love you, Kimmie xx (and thank you)

  2. Gee…you touch the world deeply…and change my life each and every day as well. You are a living Angel for sure. Thanks for the much needed reminder that we are never alone and that someone will always reach out to support us when we most need it. Your Nana Joycey is smilin’ down on you & gently wrapping her angel-wings around you…I can feel it…XOXO

  3. Nicole, how wonderful you were there to facilitate this….your gifts and the gifts of your Nana are absolutely sent from beyond. When things are tough you reach out whether it is in person or through your writing. Thank you ,this blog really touched my heart. xx

  4. What a lovely story. It’s so nice to hear that you and your nan and the policewoman were all compassionate enough to help this lady. love to you xxx

  5. Good on Maude for being strong enough to ask for help and then take it. So often you ask someone if they are ok, only to hear them reply that everything is fine. Knowning damm well its not. To have two beautiful ladies to go straight into action and help…… her prayers answered, well done Nicole and policewoman.

  6. wow that is an amazing story indeed, yay you & your nana…Poor Maud & it’s really sad that her son is back in custody but i guess that is what is needed, he definitely needs to be away from her for her safety…i hope there is some kind of awesome breathing/yoga course in the prison that could get him in touch with himself, to come to the realisation that we are all connected & heal his wounds…

  7. Poor Maud…and her son ..both in awful dark places. I hope she finds peace and i hope he finds the reason for his bullying , vile behavour, and is able to shed that skin.I am now worrying about Maud, will she be able to cope ? I hope so . I have been in the situation were a woman came to hospital because her husband beat her with the broom handle across her pregnant belly,when she came home from holspital after having her head stitched after a car accident. Someone ran into her. Her husband called her a stupid cow and beat her. I tried for two hours to gently persuade her to leave , got her phone numbers for a refuge, called the police She refused to press charges..She was going home because thier 5 other children where there with him.She was going to have a home birth because she dare not leave him alone with the children. And she made excuses for him, at the time I could not believe she could do it.I was young and had never dealt with this level of domestic violence.I really hope she was able to get out. 27 years ago and I can see her face as if it was yesterday.

  8. Oh, this is so sad ….but also so beautiful. which we did.That you were there to help was a blessing, for a policewoman to be on hand was a blessing, to be told by Gran about the woman, that’s amazing. I am so pleased I read this.

    We have a woman staying with us presently. She was in a abusive relationship, got beat up and walked out. She’d been hitching for 12.5 hours and it was just getting dark and an awful stormy night. My husband had just popped down the shops for something and brought her home. She is a Christian woman and has just prayed “Lord, it’s too late for a lift, please, I need a roof”, she heard to go back to the shops where she had been. 2 minutes later my husband saw her and asked “Are you needing a roof?” I knew after one night at our house we should invite her to stay a while to decide what next and now she is planning to move on to bigger and brighter. Sometimes we are put just where we are needed at just the right time.

  9. what a great circumstance that you and the policewoman were there for this lady. and reading the post above…..i am so moved by you folks taking care of other people! what a blessed world we live in! thank you, pamela

  10. Such a lovely story . Everyone placed in just the right place at the right time, and instead of ignoring the situation , you and the policewoman acted on impulse …wonderful . I hope Maud and her son get on ok ..I shall be sending out all my love to them .
    Cherry x

  11. This moved me to tears. Particulary as I spoke to god today about an matter that has been bothering me for a little while. I didn’t ask for anything just opened my heart to god about it and how I was feeling. I got a message this very afternoon about it and all is well and resolved the way I want it to be. I feel very blessed today that there are people on this earth who care xx
    Susan

  12. No doubt, Joycey is smiling! Your Joycey, my great-aunt, Irene. Instead of lamenting over the fact that I didn’t know her until a few years before she died, I give thanks that I did get to know her. She helped me to admit that I too walk in those footsteps. Often ridiculed for being the one who attracted “life’s strays” I take comfort in knowing that I could offer a bit of respite. Perhaps if my family of origin had had that, they would not have been so cruel and filled with rage?

  13. Thanks for sharing this, Nicole. The power of prayer is unbelievably strong. God was obviously using you as his vessel to help that woman, and you and Nana were open to receiving that message. It’s a great reminder to us all: always nurture an open mind and an open spirit, because so many good things will surely come of it.

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