As Richie and I have been navigating his vision loss, many friends and family members have asked about what kind of changes we’ve experienced. I wrote about a few of them in my 2021 recap, but I thought of another one this morning and thought I’d share. 

I go grocery shopping on Tuesday mornings. After Richie and I walk the dogs and I have breakfast, I rewrite the list, and drive the 1.5 miles to Harris Teeter.

Every time I get out of my car, mask hanging from my ear and reusable bags in hand, I panic: Did I lock my keys in the car?

Doing so would be an inconvenience for anyone. In the past, if this sort of thing happened, I would have called Richie and had him zip over the store with a spare key in hand. But he doesn’t drive anymore. 
In the seconds it takes me to find my keys in my pocket or purse, I think about what would have to happen these days:

I would call Richie and have him walk over to the store with a spare key in hand. There are sidewalks where it matters most between our house and the store, but it’s not a terribly pleasant walk. And it would absolutely be disruptive to both of our mornings. It’s critical that I learn that my keys are locked in the car before I start shopping, instead of when I’m ready to leave, so that at least I can get the shopping done while he’s walking over!

We are lucky to have incredibly supportive neighbor-friends who, if available, would be able to deliver the key to me on wheels in order to speed up the whole process.

My panic is a weekly reminder that everything takes longer than it used to.

In addition to wanting to hear about how life has changed for us, people also want to offer help, but often don’t know what, specifically, would be helpful. So this is a perfect example of a (hypothetical) way a friend can come to the rescue.

The key (heh) is that we have to ask! We’re getting better at both asking for help and being specific with our requests. It’s not just, “Can you give Richie a ride sometime?” It’s, “I locked my keys in my car. Will you please swing by the house, grab a spare from Richie, and deliver it to me at the grocery store? I’ll meet you out front.”

I think this lesson is valuable no matter what you’re going through. Asking for help is something we all have to do sometimes (probably more often than we do it), and that our friends want to help, but may need specific ideas or guidance.

One Reply to “The key to asking for help”

  1. Ellen Kahn says:

    Asking for help is hard. Most people are happy to be helpful.

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