Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tread softly

Hang around Facebook long enough, or most anywhere else, and you'll find hurting people.  But many times, no one knows they're hurting.  They suffer in silence, reluctant or unable to share with the world.

So...a reminder today to tread softly.  I know it's cliche, but you never know what someone is silently suffering.  Before you write a snarky Facebook post, make a snide comment, or fire off 140 characters on Twitter, think...

I'm going to use my sister-in-law as an example, because I'm pretty sure she'll forgive me.

Last year, at exactly this time, we started our journey in the world of Down syndrome.  From the first question mark to the diagnosis took almost a month.  That time was utter hell.  Believe me when I say that waiting for bad news can be harder than finally receiving it. 

We chose not to tell anyone, not even our mothers.  We didn't want to worry anyone because, surely, the tests would end up being negative.  We honestly thought it would all blow over and later we'd laugh nervously about how close we'd come.  So we suffered silently, just the two of us.

Thanksgiving Day was brutal.  BRUTAL.  It stands out as one of the hardest days of my life.  We had just had The Big Ultrasound a few days prior and everyone was expecting us to reveal the gender of our new little one.  But unbeknownst to all, the big ultrasound wasn't much fun since it showed that our son had a 1:3 chance of having Down syndrome.  We went ahead with our gender reveal, but in the photos I look like I'm about to cry.

Pumpkin cheesecake with a hidden layer of blue

That weekend, despite the rain, we decided to go look for a Christmas tree.  It was cold, and drizzly, but we were determined to have fun for Camille and Colby.  Our hearts were heavy as we trod the tree stands, looking for the perfect tree.  As we went, I posted pics to Facebook.  Camille by a tree.  Colby helping cut it down.  The two of them dragging it to the car.

When I got home, I had a message from my sister-in-law.  She was upset that we hadn't invited her.  And so she posted on Facebook how we should have been more thoughtful.  I cried as I deleted the post.  An hour later, she posted again.  I sobbed for an hour.

I'd been through the hardest 10 days of my life and I had at least 10 more to go before we got our final diagnosis.  I was crushed, broken, not sleeping.  I was doing my very best to hold it all together for the sake of our kids.

To my sister-in-law, whom I adore and love, it was a missed opportunity to spend some family time.  To me, in my heart I was facing WWIII and I didn't give a rip about a tree.

So today, as we go into a new holiday season, I want to give a gentle reminder...tread softly.  Think before you speak.  If your friend offends you, give her the benefit of the doubt.  She may very well be dealing the best she can with something beyond her control. 

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