Recently I have been witness to the offer of help and the giver of the same. I have also in the recent past been the receiver of such help. I remember when my middle son was hospitalized with a spinal infection and subsequent treatments at home for 6 weeks. We were locked in the house to prevent more infections, loss of sleep due to the IV medications, and fear if I didn't do my job he would die. That was alot to absorb and I still don't think I ever fully grasped what was going on. I was just trying to get through it and do what was set before me. I couldn't think about what we needed past the next 8 hours.
But there were many hands offering help. Genuine offers of sincere loving help and I had nothing for them to do. The help I needed couldn't be brought by distant friends. I needed someone to make a copy of me so she could run around and do everything. So I didn't have to tell her where to put the dishes or how that was supposed to work.
Have you ever considered how many people it would take to replace you? I did. It would take 6 people doing 6 different jobs to replace me. Mom, cook, cleaner, dog wrangler (we had 4), bookkeeper, nurse (I can change a bandage like no one else), and general manager of all activities. Maybe more. I am highly skilled apparently, or just very good at doing lots of things at one time. I am still deciding.
Turning down those offers made me feel guilty. It was difficult to simply say I don't need anything when I obviously did. I felt like I was lying. So I wonder what to offer when I offer help? A gift certificate to be used later when things are better? A meal but in containers that can be tossed (because who wants to do dishes)? I am stumped. I don't want to put more on the people by forcing them to say no but I also don't want them to think we are not willing to help or don't sincerely care.