HW: #TuesdayThoughts; Whom should I contact for you in case of an emergency?

With all the wisdom I like to think I have acquired throughout the ages, I often wish I could go back to being an innocent kid who did not know how the world truly works.

Whenever I heard someone list a “friend” as an emergency contact, I would raise my eyebrow. “Do they not have a parent/ spouse/ kid to fill that role?” I wondered. The writer in me would come up with all sorts of stories, which would usually be quite tragic and involve plenty of death or infertility. As an adult, I found that the answer to that question can be more complicated than previously imagined. First of all, there are plenty of people who have “significant others” that they are not married to. Last time I checked, the available options did not include “boyfriend/ girlfriend,” or “partner.” Everything that is not under family goes under the umbrella of “friend.” Admittedly, I have used family members for as long as I could as emergency contacts just because I did not want to list a “friend.” Not having a family member listed sounded sad to me. Everyone has to have a family, right? Well…

Then came a day when I heard someone list their neighbor as an emergency contact. I remember my shock. “Maybe they are good friends with the neighbors,” I thought and ultimately shrugged my worry off. I wondered if they were neighbors first and then became friends or maybe were friends first and decided to move in next door to each other. That would even be touching. I have not in a community where neighbors are friends in a while. Does something like that even exist?

As you probably predicted, my world shattered when someone insisted they did not have ANY emergency contact to list. “How can that be?” It made me wonder how badly these people must have messed up not to have anyone nearby. “How sad,” I thought. However, I quickly realized that it goes both ways and maybe they were alone because they cut ties with some toxic people. You never know what circumstances surround others.

In recent times, I have been reminded of people who have no one to use as their emergency contact. It fills me with a lot of sadness. We all need someone to be able to lean on in times of crisis. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not have that privilege. Sometimes, it is a result of the fault of their own, while other times they are just victims of circumstance.

Can you imagine being alone at your house and not having someone to call for help? Of course, no matter what, you should call 911 before you call anyone else if you are having an emergency. The doctors will take care of you whether you have someone to call or not. But what happens when they are ready to discharge you? Especially after surgery? They prefer for you to have someone come pick you up because they do not want you to get into any sort of trouble while you are most vulnerable. It can feel humiliating to have to say, for the third time, “No, there is no one that can pick me up. I will just take a cab.”

People say that once we are dead, nothing else should matter to us, but do you really want to be found deceased on the floor after your neighbors call the authorities? Weeks after you have passed? Because of the unholy smell coming from your place? I am not alright with that scenario. Humans die every day and I am aware of it. However, a pandemic made me think about such morbid scenarios a bit more.

Today, I urge you not to judge individuals based on the people around them. Sometimes it is not their fault that life turned out the way it did. Things happen whether we like it or not. There is only so much that we can do to control our surroundings.

Also, if you know of someone who might be alone in the world, reach out to them. Delicately. See if maybe they could use a friend. Even if it is just for emergencies. After all, those are life and death situations and that is when we truly get to know who our friends are.

If you are someone who is facing this world on their own, do not lose your faith. Your person will come along sooner or later. If you do not believe in that, or if you are worried that might not happen soon enough, I encourage you to reach out to the people you interact with regularly. Chat with your neighbor some more. Maybe grab a bottle of some good whiskey or bake a cake and knock on their door one evening. Grill some hotdogs and invite them over. Befriend someone from your book club or work, even if you prefer to treat it as a business transaction. It might sound weird to you, but I have heard of stranger things. Please be open and honest with the other person, though. Both parties should know what the expectations would be.

“Would you mind being my emergency contact?” It is that simple. I would never turn anyone down who asked me that.

Do you have a family member as your emergency contact or a “friend (or no one)?”

Has it always been easy for you to come up with a name for your emergency contact list?

Stay golden,

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41 thoughts on “HW: #TuesdayThoughts; Whom should I contact for you in case of an emergency?

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  1. This is a very good post. I had to name my cousin whom I do not speak to as my contact in an emergency I think I will have to put a list in my passport of my reliable people to contact in an emergency. It is a good reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Very thoughtful. I struggle with who to put as a contact. I think it’s maybe a control thing or a not wanting to ask for help thing? I’m single so right away that eliminates equivalent-to-spouse. My parents are older now and I don’t like to worry them. My children are adults but young, early twenties, so I wouldn’t want to burden them either. Friends? Now I feel pathetic. It is an oddness but for me, as I mentioned, it definitely has something to do with mindset and not the actual people in my circle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is something that I never really thought much about because there has always been a family member to list as an emergency contact. First my parents, then a spouse, now as a second contact I list a sister or a daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For physical no. I can put down my parents. If I were ever in trouble with other things, I don’t know who I’d call or ask. I’ve one friend who I probably could and I’d probably ruin the relationship in the process. It wouldn’t be healthy for her but our friendship is such that she’d put herself second in that moment and afterwards have to put herself first and end it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always had family as my emergency contact, but these are some good points. You mention the wisdom you have acquired through the ages, and I suddenly pictured you as an 800 year old man. Haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think this another culture thing.
    I don’t think your typical Danish neighbour would love to be your emergency contact.
    Either you keep quiet until they accept, but that might be too much of an awkward silence, or they would just say it straight to your face that they don’t want to.

    My parents wouldn’t be the most ideal emergency contact because they don’t speak English (or Danish, for that matter 😉 ).
    No friends here in Denmark.
    So it’s either Jasper or Mike. 😉

    I will be honest here though.
    I am not too scared of dying. I am very scared of pain before death though, but only morphine can help with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that most people would be thrown for a loop if asked to be a random person’s emergency contact. In communities in which families are at the core, more so than others. But some people simply don’t have options and I know it can be disheartening.

      I’m happy to hear that you can rely on Mike!

      I hear you. I don’t think I am, either. But I do want to live and so knowing that I might not have someone to help with that is scary.


  6. This is truly fascinating and it’s a fantastic idea of a post actually. We never really take the time to think about this but when it’s time for an emergency, panic takes over and 911 is the only thing that comes to mind. I remember an old lady in an apartment on my street who died and was left to rot until the landlord finally entered after complaints on the smell. Her only son was mentally ill and left her alone on a random day. Clearly, she couldn’t find help and no one else was out there to help her. Man… Tragedies… Again. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Do you have a family member as your emergency contact or a “friend (or no one)?”
    Yup, my mom…and I’m hers.

    Has it always been easy for you to come up with a name for your emergency contact list?
    Yup…thus far, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s 100% fine with it. He travels for a living and is regularly out of range. If an emergency happened during a work day or while he was traveling, he’d likely not learn about it for hours. I’d rather not waste emergency workers’ time by calling him to, more than likely, get his voicemail when my mom would answer immediately and jump into action.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. If there’s any good thing that has come out of being in quarantine, it’s that it has made me more open to building relationships with people. I remember at the start of the lockdown when a few people privately reached out to me on Facebook. At first, I thought they were only talking to me because they were bored and needed some company — well, some of them were. But the majority of them genuinely wanted to reach out, and, somehow, that made me feel less alone than I normally did.

    I’m not a big fan of offline relationships because they almost never end well for me. I tend to withdraw from people the moment I notice I’m VERY close to letting them into my personal space. But, thankfully, I’ve started working on myself.

    I’m sorry if I digressed. To answer your questions, my mum is my emergency contact, and choosing her wasn’t a difficult decision.

    Liked by 1 person

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