Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Need Your Suggestions...

What would you do? OR in other words what should I do…

We live on a quiet dead end street. We’ve lived there for 2 years, the newbies on the block. The people next door to us are pot smoking hippies from the 60’s who live in the back house, his elderly mom in the front. Our across the street diagonal neighbors are also a couple with grown children who live with her elderly mom. He works in his yard, constantly wearing his blue shirt, blue pants, and when it’s chilly, his puffy blue down vest. He occasionally brings out his khaki outfit for special days. He limps and I suspect it’s because his hot wife who flips her hair out of her face and walks a little funny are having wild, we-don’t-have-any-kids-in-the-house and my-mother-is-deaf-sex. But that’s a completely other blog topic.

Our neighbors directly across from us have 2 kids, now in junior high school. When we moved in, the couple had separated. She had moved out. He stayed in the house with the kids. I had gone over to their house one afternoon to bring veggies from our summer garden and a woman had unexpectedly answered the door. I wasn’t expecting a woman, so I introduced myself and she quickly claimed her territory. “Hi I’m so, and so. I’m your neighbors wife and mom to kid 1 and kid 2.” She was nice but wanted to make her role very clear. I was ok with that. I only wanted to share my bounty, not swoop in on her family. I told her who I was and that I lived with my own husband and child. Once that was all clear, things were fine.

Over the past couple of years, we say hello when we see each other. We’ve never had them over for a happy hour or a BBQ, not because we don’t like them, we just never have. We are cordial and neighborly. We casually talk about whatever for a few minutes or more and then move on. Into the car, back into the house, whatever we were doing before we stopped to chat. When we ask, their daughter will occasionally feed our cats and pick up our mail when we go out of town. Here’s the question… I hadn’t seen the wife around a lot. She’s hasn’t been in the yard or cleaning up her rose bushes. I haven’t seen her getting her mail or just out and about. And then there was a sighting. She was bald. Not as in I want a new hairstyle bald, but chemo bald.

What do I do? I’d like to help someway. A meal for the family? Run some errands for them? Pick up groceries? Something? But how do I approach them? I don’t just normally go over and say hello. I don’t even have a phone number or email for them. I only talk when see each at the end of our driveways. Any suggestions on how what to do? Or should I just leave them alone and if the opportunity arises at the mailboxes, offer up a meal or something.

They’ve been on my mind since I saw her the other day. I hope she is doing well. I hope the kids are ok. It must be hard.

13 comments:

Gigi said...

It's so nice of you to be concerned and want to help. But the tough part's not wanting to intrude if it's something they'd rather keep to themselves. I'd use the closeness of the holidays as an excuse to bring over some goodies and perhaps you'll get a better feel for their situation, if they choose to open up about it. Good luck and let us know if there's anything to report.

Carissa said...

Oh gosh :( how awful. I'll definitely be praying for her and her family. That's really sweet of you to want to do something to help them... unfortunately I'm terrible with situations like that. But I bet they would really appreciate anything you do, even if it's just a thoughtful card. If it were me I'd probably get her a card and maybe a small gift card or candle or something, and then when I brought it over I'd ask if there's anything more I could do. I'm sure they'd love a dinner or something :).

-Carissa

Sagan said...

Tricky indeed. I like Gigi's idea; other than that, I'd say wait and see what happens and try to collect more information before jumping to conclusions. Just in case. That's so thoughtful of you to want to do something, though!

Shelley said...

I like Gigi's idea - a basket with some fruit and cookies might be just the thing to rebreak the ice with them...that's rough, though, because you are most likely correct that she has cancer. Nice of you to want to help.

TJ said...

That is a tough one...I think i would see if there is anything I could do. I don't speak to a lot of my neighbors but I know if that was me I'd appreciate the care and concern.

destinationathlete said...

Ditto Gigi....we're at the time of year where being neighborly is a little more than the usual, you know? I would bring a basket or some goodies with a card and ask if there's anything you can do to help out.

Good luck.

Losing It- for real said...

I too agree with Gigi. I think thats a great idea. Take over some homeade cookies and see how much the open up. Otherwise, dont press it.

Cammy said...

You're very kind to think of them.

You could go over under the pretext of taking the daughter a wee "thank you" holiday gift, in appreciation of the (few) times she helped you out, and maybe include a small plate of holiday treats. That could serve to break the ice, but also leave them an "out" if they're not wanting a fuss or much attention at this point.

allthingsjuice said...

Ditto everyone here. Start with the basket of goodies and maybe include a note with your phone number ("it occurred to me that we don't have each other's contact information. Here is my number and email. Please share yours if you are so inclined.) I'd also be on the look-out for stealth opportunities to serve (shoveling their snow, etc.).

I think that it's great you are trying to help. Don't let shyness prevent you from being a blessing to them. Better to get shot down than not to have tried...

Aleta said...

I agree with Gigi - use the holidays as the perfect reason to offer some holiday goodies. This will give her the opportunity open up and appreciate your friendship. If she doesn't talk to you about it, then she's not ready to, but she'll know that the effort was made. Keeping her in my prayers..

MB said...

That's so sad. I agree you should bring some holiday cheer over (cookies or something) and let them know you are there if they need anything.

Hanlie said...

I concur with the advice you've been given. I'm sure, if done right, your offer to help will be much appreciated. We tend to live rather lonely lives in the suburb and if she's indeed ill and not working, she may feel cut off and helpless. It's great that you want to do something.

kathyj333 said...

I agree with Gigi about using the holidays to break the ice—take a fruit basket, veggie tray, casserole, some good food.

Also, as a person who's faced some difficult times in life—sometimes people who need help have no idea how to ask for it. Often, they don't even know what kind of help they need. Just offering your friendship is a good start.