Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


Leave a comment

Grace Guest House

I had the privilege of visiting Grace Guest House this week. My friend told me to check them out and now I know why. In a world filled with a bunch of nonsense, there are still inspirational things to counter them.

It is one of those beautiful, restored homes in South Buffalo, with embroidered signs and other pictures that warm your heart and calm your soul.

This sign pretty much sums up who they are and what their purpose is. Anyone that is in treatment in a medical facility is welcome here, including any supportive family or friends. Often, family comes in from out of town while a loved one is being treated somewhere, or living out the last days of their lives. Grace House gives those folks a place to stay.

Perhaps family doesn’t live out of state, but lives far enough away that it is a strain to visit regularly. Grace House gives those folks a place to stay.

Perhaps you are the one getting infusions, chemotherapy or some other treatment. You are exhausted and find the transportation back and forth cumbersome and additional, unneeded stress. Grace House gives you a place to stay.

If you have ever been in any of those circumstances, you will know how life-changing it would be to hear, “Rest awhile.”

There isn’t a way to capture the serenity in this place, but I can show you some of the rooms. It’s not a hotel, it’s a home. And they have tried to think of everything to provide convenience and comfort.

Keeping up with meals is a pretty taxing process when you are in a medical crisis. There is a homey dining area with a fireplace that is quite lovely. Cynthia Battista, president, tells me that folks get to know each other and often pull the tables together to enjoy a meal. Did I mention that Grace House can cook for you? No, you didn’t misread that.

For those who find comfort in doing their own cooking, there is a pantry stacked with food, and a lovely kitchen for use. When I was there, a mother was making homemade rice pudding. The room had an aroma of cinnamon. Rice pudding was one of my dad’s favorites. My eyes filled with tears of happy memories.

Then I noticed on top of all the kitchen cupboards, there is a display of sparking angels looking down. It certainly felt like they were overseeing the lives being lived there and sending their blessings down.

There is a chair lift to the upstairs rooms. Grace House is continuing to make adaptations for further handicap accessability. They also provide washing machines and dryers for the convenience of the families.

The cost for all of these things are unbelieveably affordable. For a shared room, it is $40/night. They have access to bathroom facilities nearby.

This is a shared room with a couple of the staff (who are mostly volunteers, by the way). They couldn’t be more pleasant to be around. There are suites available for $60/night that are private. The bathrooms are private. For exceptionally large groups who need to be together, there is a large parlor area off the suite where the doors can separate them for privacy.

Grace House lives by grants and donations. While I was there, several cases of toilet paper arrived from a local business. All of their supplies are given by gracious donors.

Obviously, I was incredibly impressed. The space is somewhere that feels like home away from home. When you are going through some of life’s toughest challenges, there is no way to describe the value of how that touches you.

But mostly it is about what this quote from Mother Teresa says. The love and generosity are felt everywhere. The picture reflected in the mirror is the family that inspired Ms. Battista to create Grace House. You can’t talk to her for more than a couple of minutes before her kind and loving heart send its energy to you.

There is a wish list for them if you, your church, school, or agency would like to contribute and be part of this service. Students and adults alike can volunteer their time.

I look forward to when I can help a client family by providing them this resource. Thank you Grace House, for this desperately needed service, and for providing it with such grace. You have done your name justice.


3 Comments

Begging

This blog is a little bit different. It has a specific agenda in mind. And it is written to one person. I do not know who that person is. Only that person knows who they are.

If you know me, you know I pride myself in being hospitable. I love having swim parties and campfires. I have them often and everyone knows you can call me and invite yourself over anytime. I’m social, and more than anything I want people to feel comfortable here.

If you know me, you also know I am meticulous about my finances. I think it’s a combination of my father drilling it into my head growing up, and that of having certain times in my life when I was very poor and limited. I’ve learned to be a master of budgeting and living within my means. Comes in handy when I give financial counseling to clients too.

For years, I have used the “envelope system” to budget. It means paying for everything with cash. The concept is, if you don’t have the cash, you don’t buy it. That’s why I have no credit card debt. There are repetitive expenses like groceries and gas, and once a year expenses like snow plough service and season Sabres tickets. It’s worked extremely well. Until this weekend.

Where is all this leading? Somewhere between 8:00 PM on Saturday night and 9:00 PM Monday night, someone stole all of my envelopes, container and all. All of it. Every penny I have for an entire year’s budget. Gone.

Without getting into tedious details, let me just say because of certain factors, it has to be someone who is extremely close to me. They had to know exactly what they were doing. Someone I love dearly, someone I trust. Someone who has broken my heart in two.

When I filed the police report, I had to list everything out. I was shocked at the total. Even I didn’t realize how much it was. Are you ready? FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Cash. No way to trace it.

I truly think I would rather have had some street scum break in and take everything. I can’t even fathom that any of the people who were at my house during that time period would do this.

It changes everything. I don’t even need to tell you the financial devastation of an amount like that. I’m a single mother that works four businesses. You guys get that. Without minimizing the impact that has on me and my son, that’s not the most important thing to me.

I don’t even know how to wrap around this. We are keeping our doors locked now. All the time. I don’t know if I can stomach having another swim party. If I do, I will probably keep all the doors locked. I will have to let people in to use the bathroom. How do I trust?

I can’t suspect even one person that has been at my house. And because I can’t, I have no choice but to suspect everyone. That goes against everything inside of me. I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to live like that. And I certainly don’t want to feel like that.

So this time I am writing to one person. I am writing to whoever you are that took my money. The thing is, I love you. I would have loaned you the money if you needed it. You know I would have. Hell, I would have given it to you if you truly needed it bad enough. Please, just give it back to me. Send it in a box or something. Just give it back. I just want some peace in my heart. I want my heart rate to go back down to normal.

If you come forward, all will be well. The detective comes tomorrow and then everything changes. If the detective finds you, there will be charges to be pressed. Don’t let that happen. I AM BEGGING YOU. Please, please, just make things right again. PLEASE.