On her way out my front door my friend turned back and said, “Take care.”
I use that phrase all the time.
Sometimes it is a caution, meaning be careful, drive safely, don’t do anything foolish.
Sometimes it is a wish, may things go well for you.
Sometimes it means be good to yourself.
Often it’s a sign off, goodbye, tata, see ya later.
But this time, when my friend turned back and said, “Take care,” I heard the phrase in a new and powerful way.
It happened earlier this month. I had just returned from an unexpected three days in our local hospital. I had received blood transfusions, tests, and excellent nursing skills for what I was told was “life-threatening anemia,” a reprise of my longer hospital stay in March. (Cause so-far undetermined.)
My friend had stopped by the day I got home to assure herself that I was okay, to hear my story and keep me company for half an hour, and to leave prepared food for my supper.
And when she left, saying, “take care,” I heard it as a reminder to me to TAKE all the care I was being offered. This was not a time for me to be heroic or stoic, not a time to think I can do it all by myself. This was not a time to judge myself as being weak or whiney or unworthy.
This was a member of my circle of chosen friends, a part of my village, telling me, “We are here for you. Whatever you need, we will try to provide it. We are all grown-ups, and we will tell you if we can’t manage what you ask, but please ASK, and please be willing to RECEIVE. You’ll have your chance to reciprocate when you are well. So TAKE care.”
I am so very blessed, and so very grateful.
And to you, reading this, I offer the phrase, complete with its expanded meaning: whenever you are in need, reach out; and TAKE CARE.
Many years ago, I asked a friend who I knew had excellent listening skills to meet with me to discuss an emotional dilemma I was experiencing. As she was leaving, I thanked her profusely and when she got to the door, she turned around and looked at me and said, “Do you have any idea what an honor it is that you asked me to help you?” In that moment I completely re-framed the idea that I had grown up believing that to ask for help was some kind of weakness. I am ever grateful to my friend for being such a loving and wise teacher.
Cynthia, may the tendrils of my love for you reach your heart across the miles that divide us.
Those tendrils not only reach, but also warm and delight, my heart.
Indeed, take care. I love the varied meanings. Congratulations for this birthday too.
Thanks, Susan, from one wordsmith to another!
What beautiful advice that is!
You would be amazed how many times I give similar advice to my patients. I get them in the back of my ambulance and hear them talk about not wanting help so as not to be a bother, or worse yet, not taking prescribed medications because they weren’t ‘feeling’ sick or in pain.
So what I tell them is to look at it as medicinal for the person offering. Even accepting a small gesture of assistance will be good for the person offering, and for the one receiving. More often than not, it can be life changing.
I have a very special lady in my life that offers help in serious times, and having accepted it, I often wonder what the hell I would have done without it….without YOU mom. So quick to give, and now willing to accept. Good on you!
Give care…and take care. That’s the way I see it!
Okay, NOW I’m crying.
I’m so proud of you and your generous work – and your willingness to receive from others in your difficult times.
And I’m pleased to receive from you, always – except preferably NOT in the back of your ambulance, thank you.
My dear Cynthia, I think of you almost daily. I see you in everything, butterflies, ravens, flowers all of nature. My brother Michael just returned from the hospital, he was a hair width from death. I remembered saying see you later and take care of yourself, all those things you say when you’re partying and you won’t see each other for a while. I realized when the doctor told him we’re losing the battle that everything you say can change meaning in a heartbeat. I’ve stop saying goodbye and started saying farewell – somehow for me it feels better in my gut. I’ve said too many goodbyes already and now looking forward is all I do. My little antique business is doing fine and I have a new life just as you made one for yourself after Joe died. You are my mentor and always will be. Love Mary
The deeper meanings of words are what give my life great pleasure! Thanks, Mary, for your observations!
Continued hugs and healing for your continued health issues. Your sharing helps us all hold on! I recently lost a dear writer friend and sent her your post. Also sent to two others who recently had surgery. You’re touching many lives, including mine. May we run into each other again the next time I’m on the island! Thank you.
Oh, Jeanne, how good it makes me feel to think that these words and thoughts impact the lives of others in even little ways. I can’t ask much more of life than that!
See you “next time.”
So simple! I love this! Besides, you can’t even give unless you receive!
We are looking forward to a time when we can visit you, do some give and take!
You are always, always welcome here.
And I add my “take care” as a blessing for your healing, Cynthia. A wish that you be restored to full health. Remembering our Oakland days together. Pat
You and I have some serious catching-up to do, Pat. I’ll hold your blessing tightly until then.
Hope you are really well very quickly, dear Cynthia. I’ve recently broken my hip and have been learning in a new way to receive care from friends, professionals and strangers. Such kindness to ladies on crutches! let’s take care, give care, pass it around, knead it like dough and let it rise.
I LOVE the dough image, Sandra! Thanks for adding that. But there’s gotta be a better way to garner kindness than to break a hip! Here’s to quick healing, backatcha.
Thank you for sharing this dear Cynthia. I’m realizing similar things with my own versions of health crises. May we take care and lean on those who love us.
Amen, sistah! That kind of sharing will get us through.
Oh,Cynthia! I am sorry to hear about your health challenges and send you healing thoughts!
Your lovely post gave me chills. It was just what I needed to hear right now. As always, you are right on. I Thank you and send you love..
Well, those are the GOOD kind of chills, Linda! Awareness chills, insight chills, appreciation chills. May you have lots more of them!
Continued prayers to take care and care for the taking.
Thanks, Val. Lunch soon.
Cynthia, so much thanks for this. Like you, giving is so much easier for me than taking. May your health improve with a diagnosis that lets the caregivers do their jobs and bring you optimal functioning. And may the tenderness you share come right back at you. Joan, from the Soul of Aging retreat two years ago.
Thanks for your good wishes, Joan. That means a lot to me.