It’s not just about us

I was at the grocery store the other day and saw Christie, an acquaintance whose son had died in an auto accident a few years ago . I hesitated before going up to her to say hello. Should I mention her son, or should I just make small talk? What would she prefer?


I did the cowardly thing and avoided her all together, and then walked around with a lump in my throat for the rest of the day.

I wondered if there were times when my own friends had dodged me through the years? I hadn’t lost a son, but my struggle with his disability had left a stamp on my forehead that said “tired, sad, worried, trying to be a good sport”. For someone who simply wanted to run into the store to grab a box of graham crackers, I could be a bit of a downer.


By dinner time, the lump in my throat was so big that I couldn’t swallow, a sign from God that I should pick up the phone and call Christie. The phone call went like this:

Christie: Hello?

Me: I Christie, it’s Laura, and I saw you at the store today and I didn’t know what to say so I avoided you I’m sorry how are you?

Thankfully, Christie started laughing and said she was doing pretty well. She thanked me for being honest and said she was thinking of sending out a email to all of her friends that said “I know it can be hard to know what to say to me, but it’s not just about me! We can talk about you, too.”


So I’m going to try something out, and am inviting you to do the same. The next time someone asks me “How is Matthew doing?”and I can tell they are only asking because they feel sorry for me, I’m going to say “He’s doing fine at the moment,” (even if he’s not) ” what’s new in your family.

I know, it’s a little bit Hallmark Hall of Fame, but I think we’ll all feel less isolated if we work to bridge the gulf between us and the parents of the “neurotypicals.”

xoxo Laura

5 Responses to It’s not just about us