The next day I had 2 messages on both my home and cell phones when I got home from a family field trip to the children’s museum in
Sunday she called me during church on my cell phone, and when I got home I had 2 messages on the machine and a note on the door saying “Natalie, Urgent. Call me right away.
Oh it was awkward. She stayed and stayed through our family prayer and scripture reading until the kids were in bed and I privately said to Chris, “Please offer to walk her home. I need my house back!”
While she was here on Sunday, I questioned her a lot about whether she was getting her basic needs met. Food? Medical? Was her A/C working? House in disrepair? I had actually done some research on our county’s website before she came over. There were pages and pages of services for the elderly: transportation, financial, social, meals on wheels, even home repair!
“Oh, the county can be more trouble than they are help. I’d rather die than receive services from the county. They are nosy. They mean me harm. Plus they have rules and hours that don’t suit me.”
As I continued to talk to her, she revealed that her technique at the moment for staying alive was to ask for charity. She had been “church-hopping” between whichever church or generous soul would give her hand-outs, and move on when they started to require something of her. My heart sank because I knew this meant the end of the help I could give her. I argued with her a little. “
She countered with, “Saying people need to be independent isn’t very Christ-like. The Bible says you should take care of widows.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to have your husband pass away.” Blah blah blah about how unfair her situation was, and how the world was against her.
By the way, it’s pretty tough knowing all the answers for someone else. In my mind, she wouldn’t have to live in filth and poverty if she would just DO WHAT I TELL HER! But no. Instead I will have to stand by and watch her ruin the rest of her time on earth. I seem to do that a lot: If my sibling would do X, then the problems would be solved. Someone in my ward should do Y about their problem.
This American Life recently aired a piece about someone failing to help a friend because the friend refused to do anything responsible and sensible about her problems. The author compared it to the 80s show, Quantum Leap, where the hero jumps into another person’s body for the episode and solves all their problems. By the way, could someone jump into MY body and lose 50 pounds for me? I guess all the advice is easier dispensed than executed.