Monday, December 16, 2013

Lois and Millie

Back in August, we were introduced to our neighbor across the street, Lois. She is an older woman, now a widow. We met her because she accidentally hit my car and came over to apologize. She cried and cried, saying over and over how badly she felt about the incident. Since then, she and I will chat when we see each other outside. Once, when my dad was in the hospital, she saw me outside and came to ask if something was going on, because she was seeing me come and go so much more. She hugged me when I told her the news and offered words of encouragement. She's a great lady.

This past Saturday, we got hit with a ton of snow. I shoveled our driveway and had plans to do Lois' driveway later, after Sam and I got a little shopping done. I was telling Sam this as we began to drive away, and at that exact moment we saw Lois coming out of her house, bundled up, with a shovel. Sam hopped out of the car and said "we're just gonna grab lunch and then we will do your driveway!"

Sweet little Lois says "Okay, then I will do Millie's!" We both laughed and told her no, that we would do both.

And we did. When we got back home, Sam and I each took a driveway and got it finished.

But it kept snowing. The driveways needed to be cleared again. So when Tom came to pick me up we once again did mine, plus Lois and Millie's driveways for a second time.

Tom and I ended up having to sleep at his friends house because of the snow. When we came back the next morning, driveways all covered again. Together, we did all three again.

Later, when I was at my parents house, Sam ventured out to do one last clean up. She did ours, noticed someone had plowed Lois', and did Millie's. And that's where a little seed was planted.

Millie, who neither of us had ever seen before, invited Sam inside. She is 94 years old. She doesn't drive, Lois drives her where she needs to go. we don't think she has any family around, as the only family member she mentioned to Sam was a daughter in law in Florida. She's sick- we don't know what's wrong, but she told Sam she is not well. But then she said this "in all the years I've lived here, no one has ever helped me. I can't believe two young girls are helping me". 

Oh my God. First of all, I feel incredibly guilty. This woman lives two doors down and I didn't even know she existed until now. I could have done this for her last year but I didn't know. Secondly, how has no one else helped her? Are we all that consumed with our own lives? Yes. We are.

Sam handled it beautifully, of course, as Sam always does. She immediately wrote down our house number, names, and phone numbers for Millie and encouraged her to call us if she ever needed anything. The poor sweet thing.

Millie forced Sam to take $20. When Sam told me this she immediately followed it up with "we have to give it back to her". I already have it placed back in a Christmas card, and it is now sitting in her mailbox, with the following message

Millie- no need to pay us. We are happy to help. Let's have a cup of tea sometime. Call if you need anything. Merry Christmas! Love, the gals at 1285.

I am extremely sore right now from all the shoveling. I can feel myself getting sick. But I will continue to find ways to help these little ladies. I don't have a grandma to help or care for, but now I have two. 

I am not telling you this so you can tell me how awesome Sam and I are or to say look at all the good things we did for these ladies. I'm telling you this because it was a giant eye opener for me to realize that people need other people. We can't just ignore our neighbors. An act as small as shoveling is a life saver for someone else. It never occurred to me how much it would mean to them. I simply cannot have two old women worrying about slipping or getting out of their driveway.

I have a feeling Lois and Millie are about to become a pretty signicifant part of our lives.
Or maybe not. Maybe the relationship won't get past doing simple task for one another. But ultimately, we are weaving a story, here. I am just lucky to be part of it.

Take a look around you and see if there is anyone who could use your help. It doesn't have to be a big deal- maybe they just need you to bring them a cup of tea or to give them a hug. Just notice people. For almost two years I did not notice Millie. And I would have never reached out to Lois had she not hit my car. It's sad to admit, but true. This whole experience with them as made me more aware of others around me. Obviously I can't, and you can't, help everyone. But we can do our part in helping others to make this world a better place, don't you think?

I will use the song I always use when I think of this topic. Have a blessed week.

 


2 comments:

Shari said... Add Reply

I love this post so much. Lois and Millie are very lucky to have you both in their lives, and you're right, we should all be more aware of our surroundings. Who knows how much we can broaden our circles and impact people's lives? :)

Kristan Hoffman said... Add Reply

I don't know you but Shari tweeted a link to this post and I thought it was lovely. Thanks for being such a kind soul and an inspiration. :)