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“.