Monday, January 29, 2007

Caregiving: "I was going to help, but ... "

People who basically do nothing neither for good nor bad have been irritating other people for centuries.


I was going to help, but …”

I almost helped, but …”

I wish I could help, but …”


I was reading an entry in another journal Please don't take life for granted, and I was struck by Lisa’s comments on how these non-committed offers to help really can impact people who are dependent on others.


As a spouse caregiver, I too have heard it way too often and could fill pages with my theories about my fellow humans.


I could not get through the endless phone conversations with medical insurance bureaucrats without my voodoo doll (pictured above). … When I hear, “I really wish there was something I could do to help, but …” I stick a pin in some body part of the voodoo doll. It’s kind of weird how it rattles the person on the other end when I ask them how their arm or leg or head is feeling. <grin>  


This ‘sin’ of non-commitment isn’t new. Almost 700 years ago the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in his masterpiece “Commedia” damned the souls of people who do not take a stand in life to their own special place outside the gates of hell. In Dante’s Inferno they are forever pursued and stung by wasps while maggots drink their tears and blood. … The mafia may be more forgiving than the wrath of an Italian poet. <grin>


Considering all the above … anyone may want to think long and hard before ever beginning a sentence, “I was going to help, but …” 


  1. The one that has always gotten to me is, 'THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!'   and it's usually over some material object or the timing is bad.  I just want to scream at them and tell them they have no clue as to the meaning of not fair!  <grin>

  2. I don't usually offer to help unless I really can help... I've been burned by even friends who have offered to help, but then when I called them to really do somthing, they had excuses. Yes, it is irritating. bea

  3. I find now and then the odd decent person who really does "wish I could help" and says so, but it's an interesting point you make:  Is it worse to be non-committal, or interested only in one's own welfare?  I just made a very short entry "Life As Error" and I truly would rather be a non-committed person, a fence rider, than someone who only does things for their own betterment, without ever thinking of another.  Everyone has burdens.  It's those decent souls who lighten them I see as warriors in life.  Thanks for the post, Patrick, very inspiring.  CATHY

  4. I could not help a fly right now...I am flu and home bound. Bam

  5. God bless you! Thank you so very much for writing this! :o) I still don't think people are understanding the meaning behind what it's all about. I'm now losing the use of my legs and arms. I truly need help. And I still get the same thing! ....and I can't believe it! It truly amazes me! I want one of those voodoo dolls! LOL :o) Thank you again for this post!

  6. I could not agree more.  Many have good intentions but they mean nothing when they are unfullfilled.
    Well said, I will be back

  7. I think the I wish there was something I could do to help is the worst!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Although I will say--I find that more people will help if you can be specific about what you need help with.  People would like to help--but a lot of times don't know how.

  8. ................I am finding since I have been there and done that too many do something even if it is wrong!  Recently a friend of my mother's was terminal...I wanted to help but know the daughter would say no there is nothing....but I took meals and said I thought you would be tired to tired to cook!  She said that those gestures were what keep her going and knowing there were people who cared!


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