Planning for a Family Emergency?


What do you do when there is an emergency?  Who do you call?  Do you have a plan of action in place, if the worst were to happen?  Because I am here to tell you that you can’t plan for everything.  Trust me, I’ve tried!  I am anxious and a little (Ok, a lot) OCD by nature.  I am a planner and like to organize everything in advance.  But emergencies don’t care.  They don’t care if you aren’t ready.  They don’t care if you aren’t mentally, emotionally, physically, or financially prepared.  Emergencies certainly don’t care if it’s ‘not a good time’.  So, when the unthinkable happens, something that couldn’t possibly be predicted… then what?  

Even though delegating tasks isn’t always my forte, I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that I can’t do it all.  To be honest, I don’t really want to do it all.  However, since I do want it done a certain way, many times I just end up doing it myself.  But what does that do besides create more stress in my life.  So when you can’t feasibly do everything on your own, then you call for help.  Family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers will step up if you need them to (at least, I hope they do for your sake).  

Phone A Friend

I have a huge network to lean on.  The problem is that I don’t always take advantage of that.  And while it feels like I’m drowning with overwhelming responsibilities, those priceless people in my life are just waiting to hear what I need them to help with.  All I need to do is ask.  It sounds so simple, right?!  Why then, does it feel so impossible at times?  I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll tell you what I do know… help is available, if you ask.  

Recently my own family had a sudden emergency.  One that we couldn’t possibly see coming.  One that required my husband to be away from us longer than we’ve ever been apart.  One that quickly turned our world upside down.  My husband was in the hospital for longer than we thought he would be.  We assumed it would be a quick trip to the ER, and that would be that.  Boy, were we wrong!  And while he was trying to heal, my daughters and I were left to attempt to continue our normal lives.  Let’s face it, though, that’s nearly impossible.  

I instantly took on the role of both parents, with my girls stepping up as much as their young ages allowed.  But taking care of everything at home, for my kids, at work, for my husband, plus trying to keep track of everything happening at the hospital, quickly took a toll on me.  We live in the era of the do-everything-mom, but that is certainly an unrealistic expectation, especially in the face of an emergency situation.  Of course, this was nothing compared to what my husband was dealing with regarding his surgery and subsequent complications, but nonetheless, it wasn’t the easiest of tasks to have thrown at me last minute.  

The Givers 

Our situation was something we could not prepare for or prevent.  Thankfully, family and friends stepped up in the best of ways.  They brought dinners, desserts, and even special ‘mommy drinks’ for me (that little surprise made me smile more than I had in days).  They offered to watch my children, chauffer them to school or extra curricular activities/sports, and get them gifts.  Our supporters delivered unexpected lunches to my work with the sweetest notes.  They sent healing Reiki, essential oils, and natural homeopathic remedies.  They offered helpful advice and listened to me vent.  These people carried our family when it seemed that we couldn’t keep up.  There were countless phone calls, texts, private messages on social media, and emails.  Some made me laugh, and others made me cry out of sheer appreciation for how blessed we are to have so many kind, caring people surrounding us.  

It’s OK to Ask for Help

If your family finds themselves in a predicament that comes out of nowhere, know that even if you think you have to forge ahead alone, you do not.  You undoubtedly have people around you that will happily and willingly step up when you need to focus on other, more important things.  You may have to ask… which is totally OK, but you will receive.  And somewhere along the way, you might just learn a lesson or two about how to gracefully accept assistance, even when you think it’s not appropriate to ask.  Because asking for aid, doesn’t mean you can’t handle everything.  It just means that you’re using your time more wisely and allowing others to do what they can to make your situation less difficult to deal with for that moment.  

Be Someone’s Silver Lining

If you know that someone close to you has had a curve ball of life thrown their way, offer to help.  Not just in the generic “let us know if you need anything” way.  Give them specific things you are willing to do- like bringing food, doing their laundry, babysitting their kids, or buying groceries.  Even if they say no, keep asking (without being annoying), or surprise them with your kindness and a care package.  Sometimes just listening to them vent is enough to help.  Life gets complicated, usually at the worst possible times, but there is always a silver lining if you look for it.  Be someone’s silver lining during a rough time- you won’t regret it, and they will surely be thankful for your assistance.  


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Nichelle grew up in Michigan, Connecticut, and Hawaii, but has called Florida her home since 1993. She met her husband, Minh, while graduating from Lynn University in Boca Raton, where he owns his own Marble & Tile installation company. They have two daughters that are the light of their lives and also keep them on their toes, Tristynn (age 7), and Harleigh (age 4). Nichelle teaches 5th grade Language Arts, which goes right along with her passion of Reading. When she’s not caught up in a great book, she enjoys going out on her boat with family and friends, taking self defense classes, doing arts & crafts (Yay, Pinterest!), and taking naps. Nichelle has written 3 fictional books for (and about) her daughters, through a program for her elementary students, and is very excited to be writing for Palm Beach Moms Blog. She works hard to find the balance between work and home life, and wants other moms to know that they aren’t alone in trying to create that sense of balance in their lives