I witnessed something that warmed my heart and at the same time made me aware of an extremely important thing that I never really thought about before. Let me start by setting the scene: I live in United States and my dad is retired from the Armed Services. He called me around 9 pm just recently telling me that my mom was extremely ill and needed to go to the emergency room on the Army base, and she wanted me with her. I of course dropped everything so that I could be by her side.
When we got to the emergency room, it was near midnight. As we sat in the waiting room and me being a people watcher I noticed a young mom with a infant, and a child about 3 or 4 years old. The child's leg was broken, and they were waiting to have a plaster cast put on, the young mom looked stressed and anxious. Another young dark haired woman walked in, gave the mom a quick hug and teased the little girl till she smiled. Then the dark haired woman said reassuring and comforting words to the young mom, you could see the relief on the mom's face, and the dark haired woman cared for the baby while the mother went with her daughter to have the cast applied.
Another person asked the pretty dark haired woman if she was a friend of the young mom, and the woman seemed surprised at first and then answered "Yes I am". The woman who asked the question said "Well, that's nice of you to be here for your friend, especially at this late hour" The dark haired woman answered "Actually I don't really know her that well, but she needed someone with her during this stressful time so I came. She also said "I was here last week with a sick child around midnight and someone came and sat with me during that time, too. You see... most of our husbands are out on missions and the wives are here alone, so we have this system set up among us that if anyone needs something or someone to help... they can call and whoever is available shows up. We do this for each other so that nobody has to go through stuff alone."
She smiled and said "It's the least we can do since our husbands are laying down their lives for us. And it's comforting to know that we don't have to be alone, plus it's comforting to the husbands that are away, too, knowing that their loved one will not be alone during a traumatic experience or important event. We go shopping together, Dr. appointments, child-related activities or problems, health emergencies, and anything else that may come up, even if it's just to spend a few hours with someone who is experiencing a lonely moment and needs someone to talk to. It doesn't matter what time it is, we are just as available at midnight as we are at noon, and there are many of us involved so everything doesn't fall on any one person to do".
As I listened to her explanation of how their system worked, it made me think about the spouses that are left behind for months at a time trying to deal with everyday life things, not to mention emergencies and problems that are hard to handle, all while being under the stressful emotional burden of worrying about their beloved, who's life is constantly in danger and so far away. I can't even imagine the emotional pain and stress this causes. This little system that they have worked out among themselves seems to work really well, they are happy to help each other out and are finding comfort and are comforting someone else in a world of strangers and stress. While their spouses are in far away lands watching out for each other, the one's left behind are doing the same at home!
The mom came out with her daughter in a cast, and the little girl was happy chattering away to their "friend" about having her cast signed at school. They left together laughing at the irony of accidents at midnight!
My mom was treated and sent home and she is doing much better, and I have came home aware of things other then what's important to just me. Thinking about what I could do for friends that I have that are under extreme circumstances and how I maybe able to help with just my presence. It's surprising how just being there seems to help. My mom wanted me there when she was so sick, I couldn't make her well, but my presence helped calm the fear and anxiousness she was going through while contemplating what was causing the illness. And I would want someone with me if it were me suffering in some way too. Just being present for someone, is sometimes all it takes to ease their stress. It's amazing the effect we have on each other, even complete strangers, when just being there sharing a comforting word or shoulder to lean on, during a stressful moment in our lives, gives us strength to do what needs to be done. It's something to think about!