Friday, 13 November 2009

Wanting to help

I felt sad and weepy, with a huge sense of loss, once back from taking Debbie home two days ago. I don't think it was entirely connected with Debbie herself. It was (so I thought later) as much to do with attending to something very important that was outside my usual self-centred concerns, giving it complete priority, and then, having accomplished the mission so to speak, finding life empty. For there was no other task to hand, and nobody at home to talk to.

Fortunately the feeling didn't last long. I spent most of yesterday with another friend, C---, discussing the way forward for her. We had a nice pub lunch at The Ram at Firle while being roasted by a cheery fire, explored the church with its stained glass and effigies, and had a wander around the quaint shops of Lewes before sheltering once more from the wind and the rain in the warm and comfortable pub high up on the Devil's Dyke. And today, although I have yet to make a decisive start, I will begin the enormous task of writing letters to all and sundry about my legal name change almost two weeks ago. There are some 75 letters that must be written, and around ten more I might write to friends and neighbours who knew me in the past, still know nothing about my transition, and yet could get in touch at any moment.

Getting back to that longing to be useful and putting someone else first, however clumsily and inadequately done, I have written a poem this morning to express how I feel. Here it is:


Wanting to help, because I can,
And happy to fall in with a plan.
Wanting to help, and just be there,
Surprised to discover how much I care.

Anxious to please and to bring relief,
Encouraging hope and self-belief;
Wanting to be a comforting arm
Around the shoulders,
Protecting from harm.

Words to bring hope,
And words to share pain,
Words to bring pleasure
And words to sustain.

Wanting to comfort,
And to be near,
And yet not wanting to interfere.

LM 2009 1113

For so many years I was the strong and comforting arm around M---'s shoulders. It cannot be so now.


  1. I hope that writing it down in a poem made you feel better. Lovely poem.

    Good to hear that Debbie is safely home - can you visit her there?

    Perhaps you should set up the Lucy Melford agency for helping transitioning friends.

  2. Thank you, Anji. Yes, I can drive over to see Debbie, although it can take up to two hours to get there. I'll leave her be for at least a week before enquiring how she's getting on, and I don't expect to actually see her in the flesh again much before the end of November. She should be much more active by then.

    I like the agency idea! Although it'll be no help for when it's my turn.

  3. Think Karma, you'll be inundated with help!

  4. You do help Lucy. You have clearly helped Debbie a lot, and there will be plenty more chances to help others my dear.

    Don't forget to ask for it yourself too eh?

  5. Thanks, Josephine. I'll try, but in all my life hitherto asking for help and assistance was a complete no-no. Shyness? Pride? Perversity? I don't know. I absolutely loathed troubling anyone.

    But perhaps all that is changing, like so many other things!

    I'd like to think that people would cluster round if I were absolutely stuck, such as during the immediate post-op period. But I'm not going to worry about it just now: it's a bit far off at the moment!



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