21 Responses

  1. Tina Wolfe
    Tina Wolfe at |

    Colleen, I absolutely do not judge you. Family dynamics sometimes explode and there is nothing to prevent this. Life just needs to be played out. Mennos tend to think in black and white (even though the Hutterites have started allowing some colour-you know in their fabric) and sometimes I wish I could – life would be so much easier. I enjoy your ramblings cousin.

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  2. C
    C at |

    Colleen-
    I am SO enjoying following your blog. What I love most is that your writing voice perfectly matches your in-person voice. Some of your recent posts have been so moving & beautiful (and I of course LOVED the one about our FAM. I was guffawing out loud:)!) I am thinking of you with all of the heavy ‘stories’ you are currently navigating, and I hope our paths cross again one of these days soon!

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  3. Catherine
    Catherine at |

    Yes, we never have all the facts and we tend to quickly pass a judgement on other people without knowing all the facts. If I first get annoyed with others, I will make an effort to understand why they behave the way they do and resolve to accept it (with difficulty sometimes).

    You have experimented it with your nephew and must have endured the hard looks of disapproval from people who did not know.

    Let’s show compassion towards each other.

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  4. Catherine
    Catherine at |

    Thanks Colleen. I wonder if you have heard of Stephen R. Covey “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” where he touches on false perceptions. He gives an example: One day he was sitting in a subway in NY, people were quiet, reading their newspapers etc… when a man came with very unruly children, yelling back and forth, throwing things and generally making a nonsense of themselves. It was very disturbing and difficult not to feel irritated. The man did nothing. Finally the author turned to him and asked him why he was not taking responsibility for his children. And he answered: “I guess I should do something but their mother had died about an hour ago”. The author’s paradigm shifted. He saw, thought, felt and behaved differently. His irritation had vanished and feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely.

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  5. Martha
    Martha at |

    I was thinking of you today and felt your pain. My sister and I went for several years without speaking but made up when she moved to Vancouver. However, it was an uneasy alliance and we were not on speaking terms the year before she died.
    One day I hit the speed dial by mistake and she answered. She’d just been diagnosed with a very poor prognosis for double breast cancer. Before she went into palliative care, she told me not to tell any of the relatives because she was already in too much pain.
    I was at her bedside the day before she died. Since she was in lot of pain with her eyes closed, I didn’t speak and hoped she would feel comfort knowing I was there. When I stepped out to feed the parking meter, I came back to overhear her telling the doctor about her horrible sister who just showed up to annoy her, left without saying goodbye and even refused to notify her relatives that she was in the hospital. She said she’d rather choke than eat the crappy licorice (it was her favourite) and asked the doctor to throw out the flowers I brought.
    When I entered the room, she glowered at me and said “You know I’m dying, don’t you?” I said, “Yes, I’m sorry, so I’ll let you go in peace.”
    The doc very kindly explained that she didn’t know what she was saying, but she knew — she just wanted me to feel her pain. The truth did not set me free and there was nothing I could say to make it better.
    Hope you have better luck with your sister. How is she doing?

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  6. mary lynne
    mary lynne at |

    i love reading your blogs. good luck with your sister.

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  7. gwen
    gwen at |

    I love this “I do not have to own anyone else’s opinion about me.” Isn’t that the truth. Survival, baby. We do what we need to do. Walk in our own shoes because they are the ones that fit the best. How could we walk in another’s? The weight of our experiences mold the shoes so that we are the only ones they fit. Love this post. And thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to do what we do. We all have our stories.

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  8. Catherine
    Catherine at |

    Indeed, all the world’s a stage and we are all playing roles, behaving in a way that’s expected of us, conforming, in order to “fit in”.
    I have a sister who is 4 years older than me. We’ve never got on but she has always been a responsible sister towards me and as all youngsters I used to tease her. Now I never see her, though I have a house not far from her in France. She has utterly “cut off” with her family. For a time this bothered me, I felt that I could have been nicer in our adult life (I often acted wrongly towards her) but now I have “buried ” her and forgotten her. She’ll do as she pleases, spending the rest of her life alone and probably dying alone. This is not my responsibility.
    As you say “you don’t own anyone else’s opinion”. It is a sad state of affairs not to get along with your sister but like you I am stating a fact. This is how it is.

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  9. Sophie Berner
    Sophie Berner at |

    Relations, family and otherwise, are complicated. Your honesty touches me. Thank you for writing so eloquently what we often “think”.

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  10. Dee Dee
    Dee Dee at |

    ..Your depth moves me to tears…

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