Why Bother to Give a Leg Up?
The words “a leg up,” an idiom, was originally used in the 19th century. It meant to give aid to someone mounting a horse. It can also mean to give someone a boost or a lift, to help improve someone’s situation. Recently, it was posed as a question during one of our Macek Maverick calls.
“Can you share an example of having given a leg up or received a leg up from within our family?” And so I remembered.
It is advantageous to live within close proximity to two of my siblings. In this way, we stay in touch and current to the events going on in each other’s lives. When a crisis occurs, and one of us is in need of a “leg up,” well it is not not difficult to respond. It is just a natural response.
Pondering about a time when someone from the family gave us assistance, I recalled the death of our third born son. It was an unexpected and devastating event. In times such as those, there is no script for anyone who is witnessing the tragic event. Yet, they somehow know that they have to respond in the best way they can. My sister, Cynthia, and her then husband, Rob, responded to our personal crisis in a way that was crucial and practical.
Though it was hard, they came to our side; literally. Laboring to give birth to a child that was already dead was not easy for me or my sister who was five months pregnant at the time. She stuck around, outside my hospital room, praying on my behalf. In the morning, when it was all over, her husband took my haggard husband out for breakfast.
When released from the hospital, we landed at their home where we found comfort in the time they gave to listen to us.
Grieving people need to replay the events, no matter how disheartening, from beginning to end. This is how we try to make sense of the seemingly senseless. This is how we begin to heal. So, they listened, attentively, to our story.
But most astounding to me was how they took it upon themselves to help in planning a funeral for our little son. While I labored in childbirth, they’d thought ahead to what would come next because neither my husband nor I could imagine the next step. As awful as death felt, it was a relief to know that our little boy’s brief life would be honored and remembered at a funeral service. Having experienced this kind of assistance in the midst of our need was a great gift.
Why bother to give a leg up? Remembering this story was good for me and for my sister. It only reinforced what we already know is true; giving a leg up, especially in difficult times, is the natural thing to do for each other.