As I began the grieving process, I often felt like I had huge signs like this one plastered on my chest and back. I felt like when I went out in public, anyone could easily see I was only half there, confused, and struggling.

I DID need help; I just didn’t want to need it. I wanted to be able to do it all myself, in private, without anyone else seeing the tears – but I was painfully aware that I could never do it alone.

It took me awhile to learn to accept the help that people offered. One day a sweet woman who had lost her husband a few years earlier came over and offered to help me make some crafts to memorialize my husband’s life, but I wasn’t ready yet, and I was impatient during her visit and relieved when it was over.

Looking back, I’m sure she sensed all of that, and felt bad about it, and I regret that I couldn’t graciously accept her offering. It took me awhile to learn that even if I didn’t feel I wanted what others offered, I could look at it as a blessing that they were even thinking of me, and realize that they were giving me a gift of time and love.

As time passed and I learned more, that imagined “Help Wanted” sign seemed to fade, and I didn’t feel so conspicuous. I began to truly appreciate the love that others offered, and, eventually, even to notice when others needed help.

That point, when I could begin responding to other’s “Help Wanted” signs, was a sweet milestone. Know that you will reach that point – and that your offers of help, because you understand what it is like to be on the other side of the sign, will be even more appreciated.