The Gift of Time

“Can you please come – I need you!” My husband had just been carried off to the hospital. The ambulance had not allowed me to go with him, so I was left alone in our flat, in a deep shock. I know I would not stand following him to the hospital on my own, alone, perhaps learning in a few hours that he would not survive.  So I made this call.

It was an old friend of mine, Hans Werner, who was just preparing his habilitation lecture. He was always busy, up to his neck in projects. And now, at the end of January, he was writing the last sentences on his lecture.

He answered the phone, talked to me in a soft, calming voice. In the meantime, I was crying into the phone. He said he would come by public transport. It would take him half an hour.

Half an hour later, he arrived. He took me in his arms. Together we went to the hospital, and from that on to the hospital where they had transferred my husband to, because he needed specialist brain treatment. I was told that my husband was in very serious conditions, and Hans Werner sat beside me, had his arms around my shoulders.

He did not leave me alone that night – he and his wife welcomed me at their house, fed me, made one or two cups of hot tea for me and found me a bed to sleep in.

Both of them offered unconditional support and the gift of time. They did not have it, neither she or him, but they offered their time generously. At that time I was too worried about my husband to acknowledge that gift properly. But now, almost two years later, I know what they have done, and I am immensely moved by their generosity.

This is my December contribution to Robert Hruzek’s Group Writing Project “What I learned from the Generosity of Others“.

About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

13 responses to “The Gift of Time”

  1. Brad Shorr says :

    Ulla, Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal and moving story. Where in the world would we be without friends to help us through life’s real trials?

  2. Robert Hruzek says :

    Ulla, I’m glad you were brave enough to share that story with us. It gives us all an opportunity to extend an arm across your shoulders and give you a virtual hug!

    Thanks for participating in this month’s project!

  3. Ken Allan says :

    Kia ora Ulla.

    I commend your spirit to seek help when help was so much in need. You showed the initiative needed too. You have two very fine friends. Time is such a precious gift when needed and they gave it to you.

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

  4. Joanna Young says :

    Ulla, I will echo the words you just shared with me. Where would we be without friends like this?

    Thank you for telling this part of your story.


  5. Robyn McMaster says :

    Ulla, what a moving story of the way friends generously give time encouragement and their support.

    Thanks for showing that strength, at times, requires a call for help. We can’t do it alone.

    Great to get to know you on Twitter.

  6. Karen Swim says :

    Ulla, I too am sending you a virtual hug across the miles. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story of friendship. It is such a gift to have friends who stand with us in times of need. I am so glad that Hans and his wife were there for you.

  7. ruthi says :

    Blessed are those people who were able to recognize such important gesture of love, caring and unselfishness. You are blessed as your friends are for acknowledging their generosity. Your friends are blessed for having such a good friend as yourself because trust me, there are lots of people too who were given the same but their hearts are not big enough to realize how blessed they are for having friends who care.

    There are lots of people too who after you help them won’t look back to give thanks or even just a smile for they believe that they are their responsibility. Some people believe that they are giving them a favor for helping them.

    Take care and take good care of the friendship that is rare and precious. God Bless.

  8. Andrew says :


    Dependability is a key aspect of true friendships, and the response of your friends in your time of need shows you just what great friends that you are blessed to have.

  9. Karin H says :

    “What are friends for..” is what is said so often by those giving friends.
    That sentence bleaks the true act of generousity as your story shows us Ula.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business).

  10. Patricia says :

    Ulla, What a wonderful moment of sharing and thanksgiving – it is never too late to say thank you and time is so precious when there is stress and worry and love involved.

    I shared a thank you story today too, not as dramatic but maybe as important…as after my mum died this woman I wrote about just scooped me up and assisted my return to a life in the “outside” world of life and not death…

    I am so sorry I can not get my twitter program to work…I will keep trying. I found your invitation, but have not mastered that application. I hope it is helping your writing.

    Thank you for your good writing and sharing. It meant a great deal to me. Thank you

  11. Tabetha Gedeon says :

    What a sad, yet beautiful story! Everyone longs to know they have such friends!

  12. Lori Poppinga says :

    While all around us we here of this evil and that trouble, but in your time of need, people were there to comfort and help you. Thank you for sharing this difficult time in your life.

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