“How can we help?”

by unfinishedthinking

Just came across this.  I wrote it on January 4, but I don’t think I ever posted it.

I got a wonderful note today from an old friend, a young writer named Ben Ashauer.  I worked with Ben’s mother Robin Long.  She was a precious friend and a tremendous contributor to the agency’s success.  I learned much from her and her patience.  (It’s tough being the organized, responsible person on an always chaotic agency team:  We need people like Robin desperately.  I’ll never quite understand why they choose the agency business.  Thank God they do.)

Robin died last year after a particularly cruel engagement with cancer.  She was way too young, way too beautiful, way too important to her family, friends and coworkers. 

Ben writes, “I don’t want this to sound cliché, because I must have heard the same thing about 5 million times over the past few years, but just wanted to say if there’s anything my dad, Gretchen, and I can do to help out, please let us know.”

Ben nails the sentiment about offering help.  It’s what we all say to family and friends going through tough times.  And we mean it. I say it all the time.

“Let us know what we can do to help.”

In most cases, we’d welcome some little opportunity to be helpful.  We’d like to feel useful.  But in the huge majority of cases, there aren’t meaningful things that can be done. 

Still, the expression of caring does help.  Just like the offers of prayers:  “We’re praying for you.”   My religious beliefs may be nothing like yours, but the thought does count. 

I hope Ben knows that if there are things we can do for his family, we’d love to do it.  And, whatever we believe, we continue to send them our prayers.

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