This week marks the 1-year anniversary of my Son, Alexander, coming home from his 70 day stay in University Hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and subsequent 20 day stay in an inpatient rehabilitation unit. (Please see the article titled "Offering Love" for clarification on Alex's illness)

Reflecting on the past 12 months I am truly grateful for the family, friends, and strangers (that became friends) that helped us - in numerous ways - throughout the last year.

Before Alex's illness, I was the type of person that did not readily accept help from others for any reason.  In fact, I prided myself on being able to handle just about everything - alone. 

I never wanted to inconvenience anyone. I never wanted to burden someone else with my issues. I suppose I could have been labeled a "control freak".  I was continually proving how "competent" I was.  I never wanted to appear "weak" or "needy".  Being vulnerable and relying on someone else to fulfill a need was way outside of my comfort zone.

I now recognize the reason that I could never ask for, nor, accept assistance was because I was operating from a place of pride...a very selfish place indeed.

Being powerless humbles you, immediately alleviating you from a destructive sense of pride.  My God was I powerless having a child so severely ill.  I realized that I needed to set my pride aside and accept - graciously - the help that was being offered.

I also realized this - by understating your situation or flippantly saying, "I'm fine", dismissing offers of help, in a time of need, does a huge disservice to not only you but to others as well.

Accepting help is honoring others with the gift of being able to take action and show their love to you when they might otherwise feel helpless.

One does not have to experience something as life altering as having a critically ill child to change their stance on accepting help.

Know that it is okay to say yes to an offer of a meal when you are under the weather, to an offer of grocery shopping when you've injured your back or to the offer to listen when you are down - you are not weak, incompetent or vulnerable. 

It is strength of character, an inner knowing and maturity that is shown when we realize we need assistance and ask for it.

When we gratefully accept help from others, we are honoring those around us who want to show us they care and love us in a tangible and meaningful way - We also honor ourselves and our needs when we graciously say, "yes, I accept your help".

May God Bless Your Journey -

Natalie