Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Helping Each Other

Jackie K. Cooper


A few months ago my wife had surgery on her wrist. She had fallen and broken it and it didn’t mend right. Thus surgery was required. After the surgery she had to be in a cast for several weeks, and this was a cast that went up over her elbow. To say she was limited in what she could do for herself is to understate the obvious. Luckily, I was with her every day and just about every moment of the day.

During this time I began to wonder what people do in similar cases where there is no spouse present. Maybe a friend could step in, or a child, but there has to be someone. Try as we all do to be independent there does come a time when someone else’s assistance is needed.

A few weeks ago I learned that a friend of mine in Clinton, South Carolina had fallen and broken her leg in several places. This lady is a widow and her children do not live anywhere near her. She had to have surgery and then went into a rehab facility for several weeks. Now that she is home her daughter has come to Clinton to be with her until she gets on her feet. But what if there wasn’t a child who could take off the time to come? What then?

My brother is divorced and lives by himself. None of his children live in the same town where he is. Three weeks ago I called him and couldn’t reach him. I tried for hours to reach him by phone. The next day he called me and said the reason I couldn’t reach him was that he had had a heart attack and was in the hospital. He stayed there for several days and then was sent home. He came home to a house where there was no one to help him.

He had this same situation when he had knee replacement surgery. They kept him in the hospital for a few days and then sent him home. He was told there was no room in the rehab facility his insurance used. They did provide someone to come in a few hours a day and do things for him but for most of the day and night he was on his own. What if he had fallen? Or any other million things that could have happened.

I kid my wife by telling her that one of the things that attracted me to her was her age. She is much younger than I am and so she should be able to take care of me in my old age. That’s a joke but we do talk about taking care of each other. It is something we all have to face as we get older.

Hilary Clinton is famous for saying it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a village to support us in our times of need. I live in a small town where I have lots of friends and family around. That knowledge is a comfort to me. My brother lives in a big city and his best friends do not live close to where he does. Still he has to rely on others when he does have problems.

I have another friend who has a brother who is bipolar. This brother lives out west and is single. I asked my friend about who helps take care of him and he replied that it is his friends. He has to rely on them to keep in touch with him as to what his brother is doing and what his needs are.

All of us here on this planet are on a journey together. We need to remember that in many instances we have to help each other or we might just sink into the mire. A little kindness is a mighty thing and can give someone comfort and ease when there are tense and trying situations.

Look around you. There is always an opportunity to help someone. Take the time and do it today.

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Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. His short stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio. He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for various events. Cooper has authored six books: Journey of a Gentle Southern Man, Chances and Choices, Halfway Home, The Bookbinder, The Sunrise Remembers, and Back to the Garden: The Goal of the Journey.

Visit his website, or email Jackie.

© Jackie K. Cooper

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012