tears of shame

I have approximately four minutes to write before my kidney shuts down and I’m back on the couch.

I have learned some really hard things lately. First, I could really use a pedicure because half an inch of polish grow out is just not cool.

Second, driving is overrated. I now prefer being chauffered around in a severely reclined position, watching other people run my errands.

Third, accepting service sucks.

It’s funny, because I’ve always been the sister or friend who has no problem jumping in and making someone sit down so I could do their dishes/watch their kid/fold a load of clothes. Hey, if you’re in bad shape and I’m available, relax. I’m happy to do it.

But now that it’s me who’s the loser (because that’s suddenly how I feel all the time), I find that this entire experience is humbling and shameful, even though I know I’m not supposed to feel that way about it.

There’s something about knowing that I can’t do for myself that takes all the fun out of living. I watch my mom and family as they feed, clothe and discipline my kids while I lay on the couch, and I feel like a useless waste of space.

I know all the answers. I know that this will all be over very shortly. I know that I’ve been given this experience to learn from, and Ican tell you right now, I’ll never see service in the same light again. I’ve had more painful epiphanies throughout this ordeal than I ever thought possible, and I wouldn’t trade a single one of them.

There is no doubt that it is hard to accept service on a long-term basis. I’m leaving for home next week, and my husband and his family have set up an elaborate system of people to step in and handle my job. Just thinking about it makes me cry, and I can’t decide if they’re tears of gratitude or tears of shame.

I’m so lucky to be surrounded by loved ones who can, and do, and will care for me, but at the end of the day, this is very,very hard.


  1. I love you! You know that.

  2. I feel you on this, Annie. Years and years ago, I was very sick for a very long time. We had two young children. This necessitated my wife and I accepting all kinds of help. It was very, very difficult to do.

  3. I’m so sorry. I have been exactly where you are during two of my pregnancies and I have had those exact same feelings. It will be such a relief when you are back to yourself! It will definitely make you appreciate your normal strength and normal, everyday life. I hope it comes fast for you!

  4. I think you should learn to lasso (I had no idea that’s how you spell it, who would have thunk it). That way you can catch the kids without ever leaving the couch. Or reach the remotes. Or fetch the Oreos. Or reign in your husband. Its the gift that keeps on giving.

    And you’ll feel less useless because you have a weapon. Oh, and you can take it to the delivery room, just in case your doctor gets weird and annoying and tells you to push when you don’t feel like it.

    You’re welcome…

  5. At least when you need people, they are there. During my most two miserable months of my life, I would have gladly- if humbly accepted any service. It was never offered. Not even an invitation for my kids to come play at someone else’s house. The only offers came from people who expected to be paid. I can relate to having many epiphanies about service during that time. It’s still hard for me to look at people at church, and wonder where they were when I needed them.

    • annie valentine says:

      I feel you on this one, Michelle. Church in Utah is very hard for me right now. I’m just lucky to live by family.

  6. I think they’re tears of frustration. And having been there, I agree: they suck. It’s temporary, I promise.

  7. Oh yeah, I have so been there, done that, and DON’T want to do it again. That being said, remember how good you feel when you are the one doing the giving? Don’t worry, it WILL come again. For now, let others have those same wonderful feelings. It is good for them. It is good for you. There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to learn to be served. It is temporary, it does end, and you will get through it. But you are right, it is SO HARD! Remember that you are loved and that love is a verb, and we show our love through service to others.
    And Michelle, I so wish I would have been there for you! You too, deserve and need the service of those around you. I am sorry that they did not step up and help when you really needed it. Just do me a favor and don’t let imperfect people change the way you treat them in return.

  8. I am so glad you have people there to help you. I’m glad its not something you just take for granted either, coudl you imagine if you were one of those ladies who completely expected people to wait on you hand and foot? You are so not one of those ladies and right now the only thing they really can do for you is this, so smile and let them 🙂

  9. I love you and I’ll rub your feet for you when you come home.

    Now, that’s saying something.

  10. I’m Denys’ husband, and she’s always getting me to come to the computer to read your blog. Even though you don’t know me, I hope you don’t mind me commenting.

    I used to have a problem with receiving service, but I noticed whenever I do something for someone, like loading moving trucks, putting in a lawn, fixing a fence, etc., I feel happy and useful. Whenever someone offers to help me, I have to think about how their giving of service will make them feel. I don’t want to deny them the blessings of giving service, so I will usually accept. Maybe that rationale doesn’t work for everyone, but I truly believe that their happiness is more important than what is proper or my pride.

    Yesterday, my grandmother insisted on giving me some groceries. She’s living on social security, so I really didn’t want to accept. However, I knew that it makes her so happy when she can help me, so I thanked her and took them. She was really happy.

  11. You know I’d rub your feet for you. I’ve done it before! I’m sorry you’re feeling so crappy. I hope the thought of holding that little angel is comforting sometimes!