Here at Lotsa Helping Hands, we often find ourselves talking about the word community. Our vision is a world where everyone can give and receive help through the power of community. For us, community means so much. It’s about sharing one another’s life experiences. We too have our own community of dedicated people who spend much of their time designing and developing the best service possible, and ensuring that our free service gets into the hands of those who need it. On our Blog, we will be sharing reflections from our Team. This one comes from Julia Di Cicco, our Marketing Intern.
When I was growing up, the topics of pain, surgery, and physical therapy were the norm. My mother had been injured in numerous car accidents that ended her career as a stockbroker. I’ve seen her run only once in my life and got used to carrying the heavy groceries or help her up from her chair when it got too painful for her to sit. I just never expected for my worst nightmare to happen: my mother getting into another car accident with me.
She had already been my caregiver when a bone infection had me bed-ridden for months. She made sure my friends were there to keep my chin up and she stayed in my room the night before my birthday, since I was too uncomfortable to sleep. She was awesome, giving me a minute-by-minute account of what happened 15 years ago, refusing to say “Happy Birthday” until it was 5am and truly my day.
Once I was well again, I restarted my figure skating. One week into training, less than a mile from home, a speeding vehicle hit our car while we were stopped at a red light. It felt like a knife had gone through my back and neck; my right hand occasionally stopped working. I’ll never forget when my mom reached over me to grab something a couple days later and passed out due to a soon-to-be discovered herniated disc in her neck. Thankfully, I caught her. We had each other’s backs. When either of us had a bad day from then on, we were each other’s caregivers.
We were physical therapy buddies and helped each other recover after each exhausting session – confidants when nobody else could understand what it was like to be in our shoes. We even took post-PT naps together while trying to watch our favorite classic films. I don’t think I could have recovered so well and actually look back to see the good, rather than all the loss, if it weren’t for our caring relationship.
It took around three years to really make progress and start to feel like our old selves again. Sure, we can’t do everything we could, but we are stronger than ever because we had each other, not to mention our family and friends, especially my dad. Giving and receiving help fuelled me to make sure I got better so I could help my mom and vice versa. I couldn’t wallow in how much I hated being incapacitated for long: I didn’t want to let my mom down because I imagined she felt like that, too. We were never alone.
I’m happy that phase of our relationship is over, yet we will never forget why we’re here. Together, we made a better future for ourselves and it’s pretty wonderful. Instead of commiserating, we make plans we know we’re healthy enough to do. Instead of driving to therapy, this summer we finally fulfilled our dream of driving around France’s Brittany Coast like we did before it all happened.
When have you shared a painful experience with someone? How did it change you and your outlook on life? Let us know in the comments below.