Thursday, September 30, 2010

Losing Friends

During our three week saga in the NICU, I received some amazing acts of Charity. There was a friend who sent a packed cooler of food to the hospital which sustained Jon and I for an entire week. There was the husband of someone I once picked strawberries with, who kept us company during the long wait during Tess' first surgery. There was the new blog reader who wrote "Have a Rosary, Will Travel" and kept us company during the second heart surgery.

I read every comment on this blog. I treasured every prayer. There were two long-time blog readers who sent kind notes (with checks) which I received with perfect timing on some of my darkest days.

Those acts of charity shone like stars in the sky.

And that was really critical . . .

because I lost a lot of friends through my daughter's trip to the NICU.

My husband, Jon, calls having a kid in the NICU as "the gold standard of parental need." For one of the first times in my life, I truly needed help. I had four kids under the age of 8. I had a husband who couldn't get more time off his work. I'm a transplant to this city- I have no long-time friends or family nearby.

I asked for help.

And I got turned down. I got turned down by neighbors. I got turned down by family members. I got turned down by Catholics--Daily Mass going Catholics, Bible-School Teaching Catholics and fellow Carmelites.

When I say turned down, I mean turned down flat. Not "this is a bad time, can I do something for you tomorrow." But "No, I can't!" and the empty ringing of a dial tone.

And that hurt, so much, so much.

I spent so much time crying on the way home from the NICU for this reason. My pleas for help got bumped for book club meetings, soccer practice, family get-togethers, home-school lessons, etc.

The "I can't help you now because I've got Adoration tonight" really, really made cry. My husband told me "Sick Baby Tess is Jesus right now on the Cross. Is it possible to miss seeing Jesus in the flesh because of a previous commitment to see Him in the Monstrance?"

I've nicknamed that little crisis "Missing God due to a previously scheduled God appointment." (Lord, please keep me far, far from repeating that same mistake during my future as a Third Order Carmelite.)

I've survived the asking for help and getting turned down. I've discovered that "hope and fear" expectations in specific people are worthless. God will provide help when you need it. Some help will come from surprising sources. Some help will not come from expected sources. All true acts of charity are gifts from God and will make my own heart cry with gratefulness.

Now that I'm out of crisis mode and back in real life, I'm struggling with meekness and forgiveness. (Oh, St. Jerome, pray for me!) The friends that turned me down, are now back. It's really, really hard to hear some of the excuses.

I guess the thing I ran head first into, is the great American sin of "busyness." Everyone means well, of course. But everyone is so busy. Acts of charity that are immediate, that come from a true emergency--like a newborns immediate need for open heart surgery- things that can't be scheduled neatly into a Daily Planner- those are the things that can't get done.

And the irony that made me want to pull out my hair in frustration last week is "why are we doing these things as Catholics?"

What good is home-schooling our children in the Catholic faith, if we can't miss one day of pre-planned lessons to help babysit some older siblings of an extremely sick child?

What good is attending a Pro-Life Committee meeting if on the exact same night a family in our parish whose child struggles with a life-threatening disability has no one to say a rosary over their sick baby's crib in the NICU?

There's a sickness of "busyness" among Catholics that is extremely dangerous because we crowd out God with our previously scheduled God appointments.

I pray hard that I don't commit this sin anymore. Because it sucks to miss out on the real God moments for previously scheduled church activities.

And I need help forgiving people who poke me on Facebook today to say "sorry I couldn't help you last Thursday, but I had a full day"---- when my own "full day" on Thursday required attending to my 22 day old newborn who suddenly had an 18 inch piece of plastic tubing sucked into her heart.

It's a hard thing to be a Catholic! But I just got a double miracle with my newborn daughter, so the least I can do is pray harder to acquire the gift of His Most Merciful Heart.

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us. St. Jerome pray for us.


  1. Wow! I am sorry that you did not have the support you needed at such a critical time in your life. I have tried to teach my children that when someone needs our help, we need to be flexible and prioritize. Still, I think I will always remember this post when someone needs my help, and it feels inconvenient... although, a family with a baby in NICU would not fall into the inconvenient category in my book!

    Continued prayers for your family's good health. Peace. +JMJ+

  2. I'm so sorry. I feel angry and hurt on your behalf.
    At times of crisis it is often the people you least expect who become your champions, whereas those you think you can count on often disappoint.
    It seems there's a bible story for every human experience, and Christ's night of lonely suffering in Gethsemane is the one that came to my mind when I read this.
    How could his dearest friends have slept when he was enduring torments of the mind that caused him to sweat blood?
    What loneliness he must have felt at that moment.
    And now you have to refuse bitterness. It's not easy being a disciple.
    God love you Abigail.

  3. I am too stunned by this post.Do you think people said no out of fear? God couldn't allow a family as close to him as yours is to have great needs.It must be too frightening to think that God's provision is through me.Better to think the need is less.Iam only speculating out of shock.

  4. It is so so hard when christians don't act like the Christ they serve.

  5. I am sorry you did not have support. I did email offering anything I could do. I didn't get a reply but I figured either you worried I was a nut or it got lost in a spam folder or you simply had (understandably) too much on your plate to deal with a help offering from a total stranger.

    Generally speaking, where I go, I tow 4 young children (1 unborn), but still, if there is anything I can do, please let me know. I live in Maryland not too far from the District.

    I find it kindof funny you bring up people's business. I've been reflecting on this myself lately. I grew up with both my parents gone 12 hours a day 5 days a week and often travelling for work. For me, taking time for someone became the definition of caring for them. I've had several friends I have tried to keep touch with but they just became too busy to correspond. Now my TORCH group is breaking up because people are too busy. Even too busy to send an email.

    I don't think any of my experiences show so clearly as yours, but it has really started to sink in just how people today seem to make themselves simply too busy such that they feel they cannot take any time to help or, sometimes, even respond. I haven't thought this subject out a lot yet, but I am interested in the subject.

    God Bless!

  6. Wow, this story really hit me. I have been one of those people you're talking about. My friend from college experienced the death of her mother from cancer last year. When it happened I meant to send her a card, give her a call, go visit, but I never did, due mostly to the fear that I wouldn't know what to say, or say the wrong thing. Then when I heard of the funeral my excuses ranged from "I can't drive 3 hours in one day" to "I wouldn't know anyone there and it would be awkward"

    It kills me to know that I sinned in that way, especially when she was a dear dear friend of mine. She called me out on it 3 weeks before my wedding telling me that I, among many other of her Catholic friends, really let her down. She thought of all people we would be the supportive ones.

    I still ache every day about this, wishing I would have pulled out of my selfishness, but I didn't. And now I have to make a conscious effort to never repeat this painful thing I did to a friend.

    Thank you for reminding me, even though it hurts.

  7. Hi there - I have two biological kids and one adoptive child. My first was in the hospital 6 weeks (after I was there for 5) and my second was in the hospital (Johns Hopkins), actually very, very near death for a short part of that time, for 4 weeks (again, after I was in bed for months). I had similar hurts, although not as stark as yours. I have been amazed by the difference between those experiences and the experience of bringing home our adoptive child - we have had an incredible outpouring of love and support. The drastic differences have shown me that people just don't know how to deal with situations that aren't relatable - and more so, they do not like to deal with situations that are scary or hard. It's just too uncomfortable for them. One reason I am so thankful that God gave us those trials is that they DID teach me to drop everything and help. They also taught me that what I went through is NOTHING compared to so many parents who have been there for months or years or who have lost children.

    Also - I had the same breastfeeding experiences. Both were tube-fed, then bottle-fed, then took quite a while to switch to nursing (months, in fact). All I can tell you is that you are doing the best you can and that is all that you can do. Keep pumping consistently, as you are, drink lots and lots of fluids, and pray about your supply. See how God provides and if there is not enough breastmilk at the end of the day - well, praise God that we live in a land with access to formula. I know that it is not optimal, but I have no option with my adoptive child and I have learned to not judge and to be thankful for it!!!

  8. I'm shocked Abby. I don't even know what to say. I honestly can't believe this.

    You need to move to the south :) You would have had cassaroles out the wazoo!

  9. Abby, my dear, I understand your hurt and I am so sorry! Our own memories are so fresh, and I will pray extra hard tonight for the forgiveness that you write about. Way to call me out!

    One way I have been thinking about it is that God gifted us with a BIG dose of perspective. Remember when getting to a ballet lesson or fitting in your homeschool hours was the hardest and most stressful thing in your day? God has given us a different depth of vision that we can share with others in their own time of need.

    The other thing I noticed was that people responded in crisis, but it was harder for others in the long-haul. We, as Catholics, are in this journey for the long-haul, and we just got a warm-up session for it!

    Big hugs to you and kisses for Tess, and Happy Feast Day tomorrow!!! As always, if there is anything we can do just call.

  10. Dearest Abigail,

    I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties when in need. I was especially cognizant of the question you asked about the value of homeschooling. I know from experience that it is easier to make up an Algebra lesson than to regain a missed opportunity for service.
    We continue to pray for you, and your entire family. I am glad that Tess continues to recover. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

  11. I'm sorry, too, that you had those disappointing experiences...

    I'm piping up to say that even though I didn't comment on many posts, I did add "Baby Tess's family" to my morning rosary intentions (so my intentions were "my family and Baby Tess's family") while you were in the NICU. When you came home, I prayed a thanksgiving rosary the next morning.

    So. While you had some obvious and painful rejections, you've also had some silent and anonymous strangers praying for you!

    I am so, so glad she's home and that you're doing well.


  12. In some of my own times of trouble, more support has come from "strangers" in the blog world than from real-life people I know.

    I wish I could have helped, but I'm in Tokyo. (Anything you want from Tokyo?)

    Maybe one of the purposes of your recent trials was to gently teach these people a lesson, and make them realization something about the way they're living their lives?

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. I'm so sorry that this happened. Sometimes it can be too easy to brush off requests with the answer "I'll be praying for you!" Immediate, active charity can be much more demanding. Mary made the better choice in the long run, but sometimes life calls for being a Martha.

  15. It's too bad. You're probably the kind of person who doesn't ask for help unless you really need it, too.

    Thanks for the post. I hope I never forget the lesson it gives so that I can be more sensitive to those in need.

  16. I am speechless. I will remember this post when it's my turn to drop everything and help a soul in dire need. You are a good woman to try to forgive... I hope I could be as big as that.

  17. This is really shocking. I can't imagine not doing everything possible to help someone in your situation, and I pray that I never have blindly abandoned someone in such need and never will.

    To echo L above, need anything from Copenhagen?

  18. I stumbled upon your blog and am thrilled to hear your sweet daughter has recovered.

    You do seem to forget, however, that your family struggles (no car, limited funds) because of your own choices. They are yours to make, but you need to take responsibility for them.

    Its certainly admirable that you have opted for the life you have and rejected the consumption of the world around you. But you cannot, in turn, blame that world you criticize for not coming to your rescue when you feel your cause is worthier than another family's priorities.

  19. Abby, this was a great post for me to read. I'm sorry that you had to go through this difficult time. I will be praying for you.

    As an aside, everyone needs some good Baptist friends...they will try to convert you forever but they'll also do ANYTHING to help. We Catholics could learn A LOT from the Baptists. From the Mormons too.

    Katie in Southern MD

  20. Embrace the suffering-most will run from it.

    One of the prior commentors hit upon my thoughts exactly, that you have had your Gethsemane, and now you have to emerge from it. You asked friends for an hour of their time and they slept. Jesus knew that he was going to his brutal death the next day, and his best friend Peter slept. Jesus was riddled with accusations, and his best friend denied even knowing him. Jesus hung dieing on the cross, and his best friend was nowhere to be found.

    But look ahead two or three weeks: Jesus entrusted the care of his sheep and lambs to that same Peter. Through grace, Peter became one of the co-patrons of the universal Church (with Paul).

    Sure, call your friends on in their sin. Jesus could do so beforehand at the last supper, but after the fact is fine also. But then, forgive. And love more. Put yourself out for these people. Give more than is comfortable.

    Archbishop sheen has a wonderful talk on love, and the three types in scripture. Eros is a pleasurable love, philia is a love of humanity for its own sake, and agape is a donative love where one gives truly of himself without regard for the consequences. In his example, a lifeguard saving a beautiful woman drowning would be an example of is pleasurable for the lifeguard. Saving a stranger would be philia...humanity is helped. But agape would be saving the man from drowning who murdered your child. It goes against every fiber of your intuition and common sense, but is required of us.

    After all the Father graceously forgives us; the same lot whose sins his Son died for.

    You have been given a wonderful occasion of agape. Go forth in love to serve the Lord.

  21. Abby, I "met" you through a link to your blog. I feel very bad that you had this experience.
    As I read your post and everyone's responses the question about what is wrong with "us" today was running through my head.

    I think the answer is very complicated and reflects today's world. If you look at the world before the selfish 60's reared it's ugly head you'll see that families did not divorce, roughly 95% (or more) moms stayed at home, families stayed close to each other, and women were considered the "caretakers" for family and neighbors. Children were not bussed from one sport or activity to another. Sundays were for family and Coaches did not run our lives.

    All this "busyness" we experience today is not from God. To me this is a calculated evil plan to divide and conquer us. As Fr. Corapi has stated, "Satan is a military strategist" and has been ripping us apart for years.. The world teaches us that our agendas and time management skills are more important than the people in our lives. Multitasking is admired and our children are taught that this is the only way to survive. The majority of women work outside the home, and even if they do not, schedules are hectic and calendars are kept so full that there is little room to provide assistance to those in need.

    Like I said, it's complicated. I'm not sure I even scratched the surface in this comment. This is a different world from the one my grandparents grew up in and lived in. Even my mother, who would have been 81 this year, grew up in a slower-paced world, where neighbors helped neighbor.

  22. After discovering your blog and following your NICU experience, I too am thrilled that your baby is now home. In reviewing some of your past posts on focusing only on taking care of your family, avoiding endless "community service" projects, and working on spending more time in contemplative prayer, I wonder if you have isolated yourself in such a way that people didn't know you well enough to offer to take care of your three children after they returned from being cared for by relatives. Perhaps these families were doing what you were doing before this crisis - focusing on taking care of their own kids and homeschooling - not fully recognizing your need. Based on the comments on this blog, you have quite a bit of support. I would give these families a second chance, choosing to believe that they meant well and perhaps didn't fully understand your call for help.

  23. Thank you for your courage in writing this post. I am going to reach out right now to 2 people I know who might need help....

    I do not agree with the commentors who have played "blame the victims" here and beg you to ignore them!

    I agree wholeheartedly with the commentor who saw "busyness" as a tactic of Satan...we have 2 families who we have been trying to get together with for MONTHS and they cannot find ONE DAY to come over to our house (about 30 minutes away)...I have offered to buy/make the food, I have 6 children (each have 3), I have offered to come out to them...they keep protesting that they SO want to get together but their actions show it is not a priority. So we will probably not see them for several more years but the "illusion" of intimacy is mainted through Facebook, etc.

    Many prayers going up for you and Tess today on the feast of St. Therese! Keep up the good work pumping and the breastfeeding will come! Our Lady of LaLeche, pray for us!

  24. I am so sorry you had to experience that abandonment! I can relate although not in nearly as stark of a situation as having a NICU baby.

    When I was pregnant with my oldest child, we lived out of town from most of our family. I was finishing up graduate school and my husband worked at a high school and middle school as a band director.

    I had assumed (and you know what that means) that my aunts would throw me a baby shower since they had given ones for all of my other cousins with children. When the baby was due in less than a month, it was very apparent they had no intentions of doing it. My mother and sister hastily put together a party, as tacky as that is. That was my only baby shower. I was glad that I got the stuff since we didn't have much money, but I always felt like it was partially extorted and not given freely.

    The people I went to school with had mostly graduated (as had I) and moved away, so there was no support there. I was sadly away from the church at the time, so no support there. I had hoped that my husband's band would be a source of support for us, but no. If you know anything about marching band in the fall, you know the band director practically lives at the school and the band is a surrogate family.

    When my daughter was born, no one outside of our immediate families offered any help. Not one meal, not one phone call, not one visit, and only three band parents (out of a 100 member band) gave any type of baby gift. Not even the other band director helped us out. And since our families lived hours away from us, they could only help every now and again on the weekends when they could manage a trip.

    I have never felt so abandoned as I did during those first few weeks when my husband was working 60 hour weeks for band and I was home alone and clueless with a newborn.

    It wasn't that any of these people were deliberately trying to snub us, but they were busy and we weren't on their radar. I have forgiven them if forgiveness means that I'm not mad anymore and I don't hold their actions against them.

    But it still hurts all these years later and I suspect it always will. It mostly makes me sad to think about and God forbid that I get so caught up in my own life that I overlook someone who needs my assistance.

  25. Like the others, Abigail, I'm so sorry you had to suffer this. I've never had a child in the NICU, but I totally understand not having help when you need it. Totally. ((((((hugs)))))) and prayers that this trial will be very fruitful for you.

  26. This is convicting because I'm probably the person who helps out others very little, if I'm being honest. Since I'm about to have my fourth child in just under five years I always find a way to justify my lack of servitude (and, frankly, people don't ask that much so when they do I try) and maintain that I am doing my best to survive and serve my household best. That is probably a really lame justification/excuse. But this makes me realize I can try harder. Still praying for you guys. I have five days left until my infant bomb drops :)

  27. I can’t know how much you have hurt, or how many tears you’ve cried, or how hard it was to have backs turned from your need from your helpless and sick infant’s need, but Jesus does, Our Lady does. Keep clinging to them Abby.

    On a lighter note, “cassaroles out the wazoo!” I think we should all move to the south and the sooner the better!

  28. I know very well that pain of non support. We went through that when both my husband and I lost our jobs as well as my son. When I turned to my family for financial help, we got "sorry its a bad time for us right now." I cried also. But the good news is, the financial came from two of my friends, and a lady I never met face to face, but we were on the same forum at one time, WE live in Michigan, she in Florida.
    God does provide help, but not where you think it should come from, I guess.
    I spent an hour in the confessional crying to my priest about my disappointments especially with family.
    Dear Abigail, I would have loved to care for your children. It's what I do best. I'm a NaNa, you know.
    I am so sorry for your hurt. Everything you said was so pathetic.
    I admire your sweet honesty.
    I love to hear about the Carmelites. I had considered a lay ministry myself, but did not have the nerve to go inquire.

  29. Praying you will find peace and forgiveness... it is really a shame that when you asked for help it wasn't there. Sometimes all I can do to help a family in need is offer my oldest daughter as a mother's helper, even though I would like to do more. Having four boys between two and nine seems to make me feel that I am more of a hindrance than a help because I bring all this unbridled mess-making energy with me wherever I go. If I was nearby to you, you would have had my girls, and I do mean that. Sending you a big hug,

  30. I was stunned to read your words about losing friends. How I wish I was closer and could help you!!!

    Continuing to pray for your daughter- and for your heart's ability to forgive and grow in grace.

    (Don't you just want to tell the Lord- I'm good in the forgiveness department...test me or refine me somewhere else, please!)

  31. Oh sweet Mama--This post broke my heart. I wish I knew you IRL--I'd help you! I'm a Catholic mom of 4 too, and a military wife whose husband is often gone for months at a time. Right now he's gone till March.

    I will keep you in my prayers and offer up my sufferings for you.

    Many hugs and prayers!

  32. When you're in crisis, one of the worst things people do is offer a vague, "If I can do anything, let me know."

    I think it's well-intentioned, but it puts *another* burden on the family -- they're supposed to take the time and energy to think of something and call you back about it??

    Instead, I've begun to offer a few specific things that might be helpful -- a meal, cleaning, picking up kids from school, taking kids for a day, a gift card for a restaurant -- and then they can tell me what would be most helpful.

    When I've been overwhelmed in a crisis, people who just jumped in were such a relief. Thank you for reminding me not to let a schedule take precedence over the law of love.

  33. I'm so sorry that you had to experience a lack of love in the midst of the many other trials that you were facing. But know that you were in my prayers as I checked your blog daily for updates on your sweet baby. I'm so glad that everything is as it should be now and I will continue to pray for you as you process this experience and your feelings about it. God bless!

  34. I'm in Oregon, started reading your blog through Conversion Diary. Just wanted to let you know that your family was in my prayers throughout your ordeal - and that is probably true for hundreds of other anonymus readers.

  35. I just started reading your blog, and I was shocked and saddened to learn of your experience with your friends when Tess was in the NICU.

    I agree with some previous commenters here who suggested that fear is the elephant in the room of Catholic non-responders to a crisis. It's strange and subtle, but there is great fear around having to suddenly exit the beautifully planned-out, safe life of homeschool lessons, time before the Blessed Sacrament, etc. (a life so beautifully planned-out and safe that it might sometimes feel like a sign of pre-election, or at least evidence of having found great favor with God) to help a brother or sister in Christ deal with some really serious sh*t. The fear is that the crisis will be catching -- as someone said previously, that if such a terrible crisis can happen to such a good family, it can happen to me, too.

    We are all so broken. Not everyone knows it, though. I once read a quote attributed to St. Augustine, though I've never been able to confirm that he actually wrote it: "The visible Church has many souls that God does not have, and God has many souls that the visible Church does not have."

    God bless you and your family.

  36. Abby, I linked to this post on my site/twitter. It touched a nerve bc when I came out of Mass one Sunday morning last summer, I discovered my van had a flat tire. The gentleman who was walking out behind me noticed it & asked me if I had AAA. I told him I didn't & he shook his head, got into his car & drove off. So I called my dh, who has one leg & he came & changed the tire. While he was struggling with getting on the ground to get the jack in place, a crossing guard who our parish hires to get people out of the parking lot on Sundays, came over TWICE to ask if he could help. He was much more kind than the "gentleman" I went to Mass with that morning!

  37. I used to work with a woman who's daughter was dying from MS. I couldn't believe the callous way that people treated her! It was awful. They would say that she was "depressing" and would avoid her at all costs. I couldn't help but think, "you'd be depressed too you idiot!" People can be such cowards when it comes to suffering. I can only think of Jesus on the cross... "forgive them, they know not what they do!"

  38. Abby,

    I too only discovered your blog recently, probably through Conversion Diary. I've been praying for Tess and your whole family.

    Thank you for writing this. I know I've been on both sides. A couple years ago, I had two young children and a husband who could barely walk. I got some general sympathy, but nothing specific.

    I've been out of steady work for 19 months -- although I've always worked at home (the kids are in school). Although we live very simply, I need to work because my husband is not able to work a full time job. We have had friends and family say "let us know if you need anything." Well, I just don't feel comfortable picking up the phone to say "We can't make the mortgage this month, can you help?" or "Yes, could you help us with groceries this month?" We're getting by only because my parents don't want us to have to ask and just periodically send checks.

    But I've also been on the other side -- friends whose husbands are deployed for long periods. I've done some babysitting and just chatting -- but I need to do more and more specific help.

    So thank you. In sharing your pain, you've let us "strangers" let you know that you have been and will be in our prayers, even though we're too far to come help with the concrete things you need.

    But you've also reminded each of us to be grateful for the help we get -- of any kind -- AND to remember to truly help (not just offer) when we know of someone's need.

    God bless lovely Tess and your whole family.

  39. I am sorry that you should have to write such a post. I read about you on a friends post, the Cottage Child. I am not trying to defend the friends you lost, I just want to tell you what I told my friend when her son was going through Lukemia. As your friends, the ones who do come and help, do what they can, we do not know the right things to say, we do not know how to act, we do sometimes say the wrong thing because we want to help and make you feel better. Sometimes we don't say anything because we are afraid to say something that will hurt. My friends' response was to act normal, listen, and not pass judgement, not act like being around her sick child will make your own children sick.
    Someone will say the wrong thing most likely because they want to make you feel better but don't know what you want or need to hear. My girlfriend said she had to be specific in asking for elp, if they can not babysit, then please cook a meal and leave it for our family, do the laundry for us, go grocery shopping or whatever else you may need. My heart hurts for you and I hope everything goes well for your daughter.

  40. I wish I could say that I am surprised at how people were towards you when Tess was in the NICU and fighting for her life, but sadly I am not. My friend's daughter was diagnosed with stage IV cancer right after her second birthday. Friends dropped that family left and right. We actually had been drifting away from each other for foolish reasons and her daughter's illness brought us back together since we were confronted with what is really important in life. I won't condemn the people who dropped my friend because I think they were just extremely scared. She did call out a few and I think that was helpful. I know that when I am being a jerk, I would hope that my friends or husband would tell me so! :) It is hard to do, I know because I struggle with it, but you have to forgive them. When the time is appropriate, I would talk to them though about what happened, that also is part of being a friend.

    Let me know if you need anything from NJ. :D

  41. I agree with Claire's post that all this 'busyness' is not from God. Have you heard that it's an acronym for 'Being Under Satan's Yoke?' I thought that was good.

    Like you said, Abby- soccer, book clubs, adoration of all things! So sad that people are so busy B.U.S.Y. to realize what God is calling them to do.

    And yes, I agree with some other commenters, too, that it was fear in some way, and an inability to relate (or not wanting to). I just tear up when I think of little ones in any kind of danger; I'd probably be a complete mess in an NICU; but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't go.

    God Bless you and your dear family. Our good Lord and Mary are there to comfort you- don't forget. I'll pray that not only can you find forgiveness in your heart, but also have the ability to truly 'let it go.'

  42. Thank you for addressing this issue. The pain you feel can be offered to God for the rest of your life- believe me! (translation- you will probably always *feel* hurt and bitter- but what you do with those feelings can truly be transformative for you, and those "friends") Having lost a child, I too have experienced neglect and major hurt over relationships. You'd think that these issues would fade into the background, but it is truly friendship that keeps one going in these trials. I relate completely-- hug your child close, and forgive. -Faith

  43. Such a powerful post, leaving me much to think about. A quote that I always try to remember that helps me forgive is: "Whenever someone hurts me or another person, I think that is God's way of asking for prayers for that person. So I offer up the very hurt that they have inflicted as a prayer for them." also, I think of Jesus' words, "Could you not watch one hour with me?" Jesus, too, was abandoned in his time of need, and although it doesn't excuse the others, He has allowed you to share in that part of his passion, and I'm sure you can console his most sacred heart "who loves so much, yet is so little loved."

  44. Hi, I got to tell you I have 5 kids and very hard pregnancies and with my 4th I was in Nicu twice and in the hospital 3 times during his 3 year life!!!! I read some of the comments and they make me mad. People are affriad to help, don't know what to do, what to say.....sisters, PLEASE STOP THE EXCUSES!!!! I cried my eyes out from the lack of help and it hurts so much to know that there is no support and mainly no love to be given. Catholics have no excuse none.....we have 200 years of saints who acted out their faith and love for Christ. What do you mean they don't know how to act in these situation...bring a meal to the kids at home, go for an hour and stay with the mom, take some books it is common sense. It is frigtening that catholic homeschoolers are reising children for the athlete world and the college years and no formation in their faith. What better time to show your kids what it means to be catholic then in time of troubles. There is and nver should be any excuses for not helping. I am mad because it hurts, it hurted me then and it still hurts. Come on we are a community of belivers right, or we are not there is no middle ground!!! God bless you and your family and may he gives you the strenght to continue doing a great job!!!

  45. I was that catholic that offered the vague ' i will pray for you ' and 'sorry' till my own crisis taught me the shallowness of those nonsensical statements

    My parents divorced , we were evicted three times , family dissapeared and so did friends . Only one person stayed and taught me how to be a friend a true friend - now i offer practical help and leave it up to the other person to reject or accept