June 26, 2023

"Do It Yourself" Can Wait

It is a humbling experience to be overwhelmed by offers of help. It is more humbling still to realize that you need overwhelming help. I like being self-sufficient, maybe to a fault (Chrissy would absolutely agree with this statement). I'm the guy you see in the parking lot at the home improvement store trying to lift multiple sheets of plywood and absolutely refusing to accept help from the store employee offering it. I always took it as a personal insult if we ended up hiring someone to fix something around the house that I thought I could take care of myself. Sometimes this character trait pays off, and we get a beautifully redone screen porch. But it also means that I have items on my household fix-it list that predate my youngest daughter. 

All that to say, as hard as it is for me to ask for help or even to accept help freely offered, our family could not have made it to this point without the support of so many of you. The one phrase I have heard probably more than any other in the past month is "If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know." Every single person who has expressed this to me has meant it from the bottom of their heart, and every single one of you has made me feel so loved, encouraged, and supported. 

Over the past week, it has become clear that the best and most useful way to help, should you feel led to do so, is to navigate to the GoFundMe page that my sister, Liz, set up for us. Setting up a donation page was something I hadn't even considered before Liz asked my blessing to start one, but since donations started rolling in I have realized just how valuable this specific type of help is for our family as we pick up the pieces of our lives.

If you feel so led to help, it would mean the world to us. Each donation we've received isn't just money, it's time. Time to spend with my girls to help them through the worst thing that will ever happen to them. Time to sit in peace with them without being preoccupied with our sudden new financial situation. Time to sit with my thoughts and feelings and grief. Time to write, which has been and will continue to be therapeutic as I try to make sense out of a universe that no longer includes Chrissy. 

Look, this is PEAK make-Robert-feel-uncomfortable stuff right here, because not only is it asking for help, but it's asking for the most generic, un-specialized type of help. My knee-jerk instinct is that, if I'm going to accept help, I should be asking each individual for something special that they are uniquely capable of providing. We have so many people in our lives who have incredible, unique talents and skills; surely each person has something amazing they want to do for us!

But folks, I am still learning from Chrissy. As I made the drive last night to my parents' home in Georgia, I thought back on all the times I've watched Chrissy command armies of volunteers. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed her direct a room full of people with post-graduate degrees to do the most mundane, generic tasks possible. You've got a PHD? Go through these tubs of markers and throw out the ones that have dried out. You run a multi-million dollar business? Put two of each color pipe cleaner in each of these 40 ziplock bags. I've seen her do it a hundred times. And here's what Chrissy's been teaching me through these memories: when people who love you tell you they want to help, they ain't lying. Nobody ever got upset at Chrissy asking them to do mundane, impersonal things. They were happy to do it. They volunteered to do it. Get over yourself, Robert, and take the help people keep asking to give you.

Thank you all so much. I can't say it enough: I wish everyone, everywhere was blessed with the Village that we have. And even though letting so many people do so many things for me makes a part of me want to curl up into a tiny ball of infinitely dense mass, there's a bigger part of me that just marvels at the ever-repeating miracle of people caring for us. Thank you.

Here's the link:


  1. Glad to help and glad you are focused on giving you and the girls time. Keeping all of you in our prayers. Keep moving forward captain. All you can do

  2. Robert. I do understand how you feel about accepting help. When I was sick my son set up a go fund me, and at first I was not sure how I felt about it, but it allowed us as a family to concentrate on what we were going thru. I was so happy to see one set up for you and the girls. Being 14 hours away, this go to fund me allows my family to help you in a small way… you and Chrissy have helped so many, in so many ways. This is a way for many to be able to show that love back. Continued prayers for you and the girls. Love you my friend

  3. "Be still" and know... In the original language, "be still" means "letting down the hands". Now is not the time for you to work, but it is the time for you to be still and allow those of us who love and want to care for you and your precious girls do so in the one very tangible way we can while you love on and care for them and yourself. We've got this - money is a reality that we can help with and taking this financial pressure off feels like we're doing something meaningful to support you as you walk this HARD journey alongside your girls. Keep writing. Keep steering. Keep holding on to God, your girls, and your Village. We'll be right here staying the course with love and prayers and help in all its many forms.

  4. I was so glad to be able to do SOMETHING in such an impossible suruation. I’m so glad - thank you- and god bless you all

  5. Fred and I are here for you ❤️ good advice just ask. Love you and your family so much ❤️


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