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ROAD MAP: The neighbor "Cathy"


 
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jennifergg
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 10:25 AM    Post subject:
ROAD MAP: The neighbor "Cathy"
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In Road Map to Holland, my neighbor "Cathy" reacts to our family's news by distancing herself. I try to contact her several times, then give up. Later, when we accidentally meet at the park, I donít pursue it. As you were reading, what did you think of this situation? How might you have behaved?

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Vinnie's Mom
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 11:39 AM    Post subject:
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I am not sure how I would've handled that situation. I find myself in a similar place, my husbands cousin had to deliver her stillborn the day I gave birth to Vinnie. She once e-mailed me asking me not to include her in any e-mailings. I get it, I understand how horrible it must be. Almost a year later at a family Christmas party she doesn't even look at me, I understand not wanting to see Vinnie but a hello to me? It was very uncomfortable. How are we suppose to deal with these situations? I sat alone in a different room, just me and Vinnie and a couple lonely tears.

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jennifergg
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 12:30 PM    Post subject:
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Oh Joanne, what an incredible story, and such an important one. My situation with Cathy resolved itself without much effort from me...she moved away. But what do we do when we're talking about people we're required to see every day, or even, as in your case, family?

Excellent point. I hope others will add their thoughts, maybe they've even had a similar experience.

xo

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Renee Lacey's mom
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 12:37 PM    Post subject:
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I would of just left her alone. If she choose to act that way it was her loss not yours. You are a great person and I can't imagine anyone acting that way to you after what you had gone through. Some people are so caught up in their own lives they can't see how it affects someone else. I have had a similiar experience and I had to just say well that is that and move on. It hurts but what else can you do but try~

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* An extra little Chromosome thats all it is, you see. Where all of you were born with 2, my angel was blessed with 3.*

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LovelyKennedy
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 12:43 PM    Post subject:
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Well, thank goodness i have never run into this situation. In saying that, I think I also would have just washed my hands of her. She knows what she did is wrong and I'm sure it eats her up. I dont let people get to me...my favorite quote of all time is "Resentment is like having somebody live rent free in your head"...I just have no room in my head or my life for such things.

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Abigail'sMom
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 1:02 PM    Post subject:
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I personally have not had to expierence a friend or family member needing to distance themselves... but what I did find in my expierence is who my real friends were. Who was going to stand by me, support us, and do what was needed to get us where we needed to be.

I think though through my depression I distanced myself from others. I wasn't able to handle the questions, sympathy looks and the such. I am very fortunate though that my closest friends and family have taken a stand with us to be Abby's advocates from the get-go. We were very fortunate.

It is sad though that this is one thing you learn with having a child with special needs or a child in general... Some have emotions that cannot allow them to see past their own 'emotional war' to help those to whom are our friends and family.

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dillpicklesmom
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PostPosted: January 31 2009, 12:04 PM    Post subject:
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I felt so bad for you Jennifer while reading the part about your neighbor. I was convinced while reading your book that she would've reached out to you at some point. I was so surprised by her actions.

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PostPosted: February 02 2009, 5:21 PM    Post subject:
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My oldest friend is someone I feel I am floating away from because of Quinn's dx. I feel she wants to look at me like I am a car accident, always hoping to have some story to tell about the carnage. It sounds brutal, but you would really have to know her to see it. Well the kicker is that I am perfectly happy and I think that boils her blood more than anything. So we are floating away from each other. You know what, that is totally ok. The thing about having a child with a disability is that it really teaches you about the character of those around you. If I didn't have Quinn I may have just stayed with the same old superficial relationships. I owe so much to Quinn. I have met great people because of her, so to me, floating away and distancing oneself from those who aren't really there for me is totally fine.

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DanielsMommy
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PostPosted: February 03 2009, 8:45 PM    Post subject:
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I also thought Cathy was going to reach out to you at some point. The fact that she didn't...speaks volumes. Do you think she may reach out someday? If she did...how would you react?

Have you ever wondered if she read the book...and recognized herself?

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jennifergg
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PostPosted: February 04 2009, 10:26 AM    Post subject:
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Cathy, Cathy.

There's very little chance of any change in our relationship now, because her family has moved out of state, and even the friends whom I know did keep up with her, have lost touch.

This is what I think about Cathy: she won't recognize herself in the book because a book about a mother's experience with Down syndrome is not a book she would pick up in a million, million years. If she did happen to see it, and maybe recognize me and Avery on the front, I don't think she'd crack the cover.

But I've learned to never say never! So, let's say she did somehow read the book, or find some way to contact me. I would welcome her. I imagine she will have a lot to learn about Down syndrome, and I'd love to be the one to show her.

xo

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MommyAngela
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PostPosted: February 04 2009, 8:39 PM    Post subject:
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My heart broke for you. I had a hard time understanding her reaction, as all we had dealt with at the time (I think I was about a month post-partum) were positive things.

But then my MIL made her true feelings known and so now I am avoiding her.

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Andrew James--3/24/06
Benjamin Matthew--4/24/08 DS--VSD & ASD repaired 10/3/08, intestinal obstruction repaired 1/13/09, hypospadias & ventral hernia repaired 8/21/09
Thomas Alexander--3/25/10

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ellenstumbo
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PostPosted: February 12 2009, 5:40 PM    Post subject:
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I have to tell you, that after reading about "Cathy" I thought about my "Cathy."

So I went ahead and followed your example, told her it was the last time I would call her, but I also told her why I thought she was not talking to me. It took a few weeks, but she finally got back to me. She said it was true, how I felt was really true.

We talked about it. I allowed her room to be as honest as she wanted to be. She cried, a lot. She had read my blog, and realized how wrong she was. She asked for forgiveness. My friend "cathy" and I were able to work things out. I am thankful. I will see her again in June, after years of not seeing each other.

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jennifergg
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PostPosted: February 19 2009, 10:00 AM    Post subject:
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Ellen, your story, to me, is a perfect one of hope and the power of forgiveness. I'd wanted something like that to happen in my life; it didn't, but I'm so very glad it happened in yours.

xo

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nancyreader
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PostPosted: February 19 2009, 11:21 AM    Post subject:
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I can handle ignorance - I truly can. My educator personna comes upon me and I'm fine even if it hurts a little, But I wanted to throttle Cathy, and I was yelling at you when (memory is fading a little) you baked her something and went over. It was like yelling at a victim in a horror movie NOT to go in the basement - I honestly saw her as a monster whom you should avoid at all costs!

I had the opposite - a very well-intentioned and very clueless mom who was a good enough friend to do a hospital visit after Gabby was born but not good enough to be blunt to.

When I was pregnant this woman's pastor's wife offered to lay hands on me and "pray away" the DS - and I lost it. I did try to explain to my friend, but she only partially understood. She later said her pastor said they pray not for the mom but b/c it's a hard life for the child. (grrr) In the hospital she said, "She's beautiful - she doesn't LOOK like she has Down syndrome" and "God would never give me a baby with Down syndrome b/c he knows I couldn't handle that." (GRRR)

I addressed these things as she said them, calmly, because she really did mean well - she just did not understand. But if she avoided me - no way - I would never have persued her. My reaction would be so much more negative than yours - I'd feel that sting as you did but I would be ANGRY, and I'm not into forgiveness! Laughing

I think that means you are a much better person than I am! Very Happy

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jennifergg
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PostPosted: February 19 2009, 12:27 PM    Post subject:
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I love the Cathy story because it really brings up how we all have to find our own "lines in the sand," if you will, or in other words, just where our own boundaries lay.

The verdict is about evenly split: some readers felt I should have tried harder; some felt I should have walked away sooner. I think for me, it went on as long as it should have, no more or no less.

I hope that by bringing this experience to light, we all can think about those boundaries ahead of time--so that if/when that day comes, it will be so much less trying.

And Nancy, no way am I a better person than you. Impossible! Smile

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