Tags: Time Is Now
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July 09, 2013 | 12:12 PMDear W.C.,
Could you please check on my elderly mother?
I am disabled and living out of state. I barely make ends meet each month with my own disability check and I am unable to travel to Wisconsin to check on her myself. I am her only daughter. My father died 15 years ago. I worry about my mother every day. She sends me letters weekly because she had to let her phone be disconnected. I send her $50 each month hoping she spends it on food. She told me in her last letter that she had fallen and been taken to the emergency room. I know she must be having a very difficult time. I feel so guilty that I am unable to care for her at this stage in her life. I suffer from kidney disease and have to go for twice weekly dialysis.
Please let me know if you can check on my mother.
Unhealthy worried daughter
I called the daughter to find out some more details on the mother's situation. The daughter told me she had written a letter to her mother explaining how she had written to The Time Is Now to Help in her behalf. Her mother is 78 years old.
The daughter truly did care about her mother but was very sick. The kidney disease was advanced and made it impossible for her to travel. Along with her letter, the daughter had mailed me copies of some of her health records, showing where she went for treatment, appointments, etc. I promised the daughter I would check on her mother.
I arrived at a very old trailer home. The mobile home looked uninhabitable with its sagging roof and broken steps. I had a sinking feeling the daughter was correct in her intuition about her mother's living conditions.
I made my way up the broken stairs to the dilapidated trailer. I knocked on the door. After several minutes the door cracked open and a woman asked, "Who's here?" I began to explain who I was, how her daughter had written worried about her and handed her my identification and the letter from her daughter.
She opened the door all the way and said, "You are the man my daughter said she was sending over?" I answered, "Yes ma'am, I am." I could see she was squinting to look at the identification and compare it to my face. She also looked at her daughters letter confirming, "Yes, my daughter wrote this." Her glasses were old, they must not have even been updated in years. I asked the elderly mother if I could come in to talk. She invited me inside.
The trailer was as old inside as outside. The few pieces of furniture she had were in as bad of shape as the trailer. The elderly mother said, "This has been my home for 30 years. I have nowhere else to go. It is all I need at my age."
I looked around and thought to myself how this woman really needed our help, but I could see she was very proud and independent.
We sat to talk at a small kitchen table. I asked the woman about her daughter and her recent trip to the emergency room. She showed me the bruises on her arm from her fall and said she thought she had broken her hip. "I guess I am tougher than I look. I was only badly bruised," she said.
I looked around the kitchen and noticed the appliances did not even look like they worked. I asked if the refrigerator worked and she told me to get up and check for myself. I opened the refrigerator to find it was cold inside but nearly empty. I asked about her phone and she said she had to let it be disconnected because she could not afford the bill.
I asked if she minded if I asked a few questions about her finances. She said, "Go ahead, I have nothing to hide."
I asked questions about her income and expenses. She was living extremely frugally just to get by in the little trailer.
She was receiving Social Security, barely enough to survive. I think we arrived just in time to prevent a complete disaster.
She had some repairs done on the furnace in the winter and on the hot water heater in the spring. Both these repairs set her behind in her budget for utilities. Her trip to the emergency room had required some out-of-pocket expenses as well.
These all had set the mother back in her budget. The elderly woman looked embarrassed as she said, "I never believed in asking for help. I always took care of myself. I didn't want to ask my daughter for anything. She has her own health to worry about." I asked, "If we remove the stress of worrying about you from your daughter, isn't that helping her?"
The frail woman looked down at her hands and I heard a sniffle. She was trying to hide her tears as she said, "I don't want her to worry about me. I've tried so hard to hide from her how I am struggling. Some days I barely have enough to eat."
"I do not have air-conditioning. I never use my lights in the evening. It was hard to hide my problems from my daughter once they disconnected my phone."
I asked how she would feel about visiting her daughter. She looked at me squinting, asking, "How could I ever afford that?" I said, "It would be a gift from The Time Is Now."
The mother said that would be the most wonderful gift anyone could give her.
She said, "My daughter could really use my help right now. I may not look like much but I am still capable of helping her with her cooking and laundry. My eyesight is not so good but I can get around OK. I broke my newer glasses and am waiting until I am eligible for a new pair. I am wearing my old glasses until then." Once she mentioned her eyesight I asked how long until she would be eligible for new glasses.
She said, "I won't be for another eight months. I can't afford glasses now." When I told her we would pay for the gift of new eyeglasses she sat up and stared at me, squinting. She said, "I haven't been able to read or watch television for months. It is so hard to see with these old glasses."
I also told her, as I looked around, "We cannot leave you living in here."
Then I asked, "Could we go get something to eat? I'm hungry." Knowing I had to get past her pride. I could tell she was weak.
At this point she looked overwhelmed. She started to say, "See my daughter, who I have not seen in years, buy me glasses so I can see and now you want to take me out to eat? No one, ever since my husband died many years ago, has spent any time with me."
She broke down crying. I tried to console her. It took some time for her to get over the shock of our visit of compassionate help.
Since the daughter lived about five hours away, and the mother did not drive, I arranged for a volunteer to drive her to the daughter's. My plan, and the daughter's since we had spoke about this earlier during our telephone conversation, was to get the mother to stay by the daughter. She had always told her daughter she did not want to be in her way. The daughter knew her mother was proud and would only stay if she felt needed. That was our plan.
We went to eat together. The senior woman was a delight to be with. She kept saying, "Pinch me. I must be dreaming." Her smile got bigger and bigger each time she said it. After the meal her energy was restored.
She asked many questions about The Time Is Now to Help. I told her about all of you, those that make our mission of help possible.
The following week, after she received her new glasses and was fed good food, the mother left for her trip to the daughter's. When I called a few days later to check on them the mother said, "I can't believe there are people like you, and all your helpers at The Time Is Now to Help. If I didn't let you in my door I would never have been able to come here to care for my daughter. She really needs me here. My daughter wants me to stay! Do you think I should?"
After we spoke about it the mother agreed to stay. She had hardly any belongings to worry about at home.
Her whole life was with her daughter. She cried as she thanked us for our help and handed the phone to her daughter. The daughter only managed to get out, "I'm sorry.." before she began to cry and dropped the phone.
After a few seconds she picked up the phone again, still crying, and said, "I cannot believe after all these years, I'm standing here hugging and loving my mother. I love her so much and am so happy to have her here with me. Between my health problems and money shortage we have not been able to see each other for years. That will never happen again. We only have each other. I cannot believe this wonderful gift my mother and I have received from a group of people I never met, have no way of ever repaying and yet all of you at The Time Is Now to Help have given us our life together."
All this was said with tears of joy and great thankfulness. All I could say was, "God Bless both of you. Thank you for letting us help."
Health and happiness,
God Bless everyone,
Please make checks payable to
The Time Is Now to Help
P.O. Box 1
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.
Thank you to Fox Charities, Lake Geneva School of Cooking, Chef John Bogan, Pentair Foundation, The Summertime Foundation, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Jim and Ardith Drescher, Nestor Alabarca, Alliant Energy Foundation, James and Marilynn Dyer, Shirley Abell, Nancy Runkle, Gerald and Joyce Byers, Sid and Patty Johnson, Edward and Leslie Foster, Walter and Florence Strumpf, Sylvester and Virginina Seick, Donald and Anne Ogne, Richard and Carol Hinners, Jerome and Susan Kuta, Margarie Egger, Geraldine Overbeck, Thomas and Susan O'Brien, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring food pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes.
Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.
The following donations were given in memory of Ralph Graber: Bader Rutter, Timothy and Susan Landers, Jason and Jena Henschler, and Joseph and Jeanine Kopecky. Ronald and Carolyn Bloch in memory of Aunt Helen Koutek.
Chris Ann's Resale Shop
I will continue to ask Chris Ann's Resale shop for furniture and household necessities to help our poverty stricken fellow Americans.
The poverty stricken we help are hidden away. Some are hard to find, but I make it a point to find them and make a difference. Many years ago I helped Love, Inc. in Burlington start up. Now Chris Ann's needs our help.
Chris Ann was a cleaning lady with a big heart, never saying no to The Time Is Now to Help's requests. Now she is trying to make the resale shop a success. That success in turn allows Time Is Now to pull from the inventory to provide much needed household items for those living without.
I am forever using Chris Ann's as a holding area to take, yes take, anything and everything for the poverty stricken. Chris Ann has rent, utilities and other expenses she needs to pay to keep open.
Please stop in and spend a few dollars. If you have anything you would like to donate please call (262) 348-9088. They are located at 406 Hwy. 120 North, Lake Geneva, in the old Floor Store building across from the Next Door Pub. Look for the American flags.
Desperately need cars
Please donate a used car to help our fellow Americans get to work and other daily necessities.