What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

The last few months of my mom’s life were rough. And due to a series of unfortunate events, most of the caregiving duties fell to me—not an ideal situation for a 20-something living in New York City.

Though they all tried, most of my friends struggled to find ways to help, besides saying the oh-so-common "Let me know what I can do for you.” But one friend found a way to give me unexpected support by every day asking if I had done at least one thing for myself.

Looking back, my friend’s texts became a lifeline—a small way to remember to take care of myself, to remember that there was more to me than the circumstances I was facing. When she knew I had help, she would encourage me to go for a swim, and when things were getting really bad she would suggest that I brew some nice coffee or just go out for a walk with my dog.

When facing a situation like this, it’s easy to forget that you have a life beyond a hospital room, doctors’ appointments, and nurse duty. When you add to that my tendency to put others’ needs way in front of my own, you have a recipe for a guaranteed breakdown.

Even today, months after my mom’s passing, when my friend notices I’m down or going through a rough patch, the messages will start coming in once again, a nice reminder that I have people in my corner.

By Fe Martinez