Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The silent suffering of empty arms.

Jennifer Fulweiler brought up a subject which is close to my heart in her National Catholic Register blog post, "The Silent Suffering of Women Denied Children". Jane's husband had a vasectomy after their second child, without consulting her. The hardest part is the isolation.

But she remained surprisingly troubled by the fact that most people didn't seem to think that her story was one worth telling. Eager to know that she wasn't alone, she searched online for blogs or books in which other women in her position shared their experiences, but found few results. Women's websites told the tales of women undergoing all different types of challenges, but none showed much interest in discussing situations like Jane's, in which women were denied children by their husbands. It seemed clear to her that her pain was not deemed valid, and therefore was not considered to be worth discussing.

 Many good Catholic women who have been blessed with fertility have had this gift taken away, either by their poor health, or their husbands. I suffered both. My body and my husband said "no more children".
It is an acute suffering which is seldom spoken of, but I am feeling it keenly as I am about to send my daughter off to college. She will leave a huge vacancy in our home. My oldest is leaving home this week for Franciscan University of Steubenville, proud as I am of her, that leaves a very quite home, where I wanted a bustling houseful of children. I try to offer up my suffering for the women who abort babies with Down syndrome.

The hardest part is the world thinks three children is more than enough and wonders why I am sad when I should be rejoicing in my freedom.  Faithful Catholics who have large families, often make inaccurate assumptions about my situation. The other day I was at a devout family's home and two women were discussing the persecution they face out in public when they take their many children somewhere.  I had difficulty sympathizing, though I really do admire their openness to life. I too have been open to life, but my family size doesn't reflect that. It merely made me more lonely.

But there is hope and healing. Bella, my 15 year old had a beautiful dream last month which gave me great consolation. She dreamed of our family as it will be in Heaven, with our three missing children. She dreamed that two were teenage boys just the right ages, and that she had another 12 year old sister, who was, as she said, "spoiled". How my heart soared when she shared this dream, which she recalled vividly. I bring it to mind whenever I mourn my loss, and remember that God sees our tears, and is preparing my home in Heaven, full of children!

Kimberly Hahn in Rome Sweet Home said we can commune with our lost children at Mass when the company of saints and angels accompanies us at the altar, so I often send up an order to my children, "give Grandma a hug for me" or "pray for your father".

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Antique German Violin for sale

This lovely violin was made in Germany over 200 years ago and I am looking for a buyer who can afford to pay its true value. The second German violin in this site is made by the same maker at approximately the same time. It is selling for $12,500.00

The violin has the inscription
  Michael Boller geigen macher en Millenwald an Derlfen 178
Here is the back story;
My Irish Grandmother had an old fashioned home with a three car garage. An elderly Russian lady named Vicki Shamshin, whose husband Luke was in the Czar's family and fled the communists, rented space in the 1960's to protect her car during the day while she worked at Doubleday in Garden City, NY. The ladies became friends and Vicki gave Grandma many more items to store; rare wines, a trunk with submarine plans in Russian, and offered this violin to me in 1970 as I began to study in elementary school. It accompanied me through St Anselm College where I played it at Mass. I never pursued music as a career, so I always felt that this fine instrument was wasted on me. To be honest, I rarely have time to play nowadays.
Many times professional violinists would ask to play it and exclaim, what are YOU doing with this violin! So I knew it was valuable. 
I took it to Christie's in New York seven years ago but they undervalued it and I decided not to auction it at that time.
 Now I have a book I need to market to support expectant moms who are facing prenatal diagnoses like Down syndrome, "A Special Mother is Born". I need to travel to the Catholic Marketing Network in Dallas at the end of this month to market the book. This may pay my way. The idea came to me at Mass while I was asking Mary for help.Perhaps the sacrifice I make in selling this precious violin will save lives. My pastor says that prayer united with sacrifice is the most powerful force on earth.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Reward; A Trip to Rockport, MA

Every good deed deserves a reward, and I wanted to give my girls  a reward for getting up early on a summer morning and driving two hours to Burlington Mall to wait in line for hours to eat a chicken sandwich. See my post on Chick fil A.

Chrissy is looking over the cliff where she had just pitched her crocs.  
Brave Bella rescued the crocs before the tide rose.

So afterward, we drove up to Rockport, MA. We had a marvelous time, with our dear friend Caron Sheffield,  viewing the various shops on Bearskin Neck, taking in the amazing view as the sun set and the full moon rose, and celebrating a fun day with a pizza.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First ever drug to treat Down syndrome!

Dr Alberto Costa and his daughter Tyche

An encouraging article by Dan Hurley in the Washington Post describes the clinical trials of the first ever drugs to improve learning and memory in those with Down syndrome, conducted by Dr Alberto Costa and Dr William Mobley. Enthusiasm is spreading througout the research community that Down syndrome, once considered too complex to treat, and abandoned by researchers, is now the subject of clinical trials.
“A lot of us are well aware of progress we’ve seen . . . in the past five to 10 years,” said Jamie Edgin, a developmental psychologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Among those advances, she said, are tests designed to measure the cognitive abilities of people with Down syndrome. The development of mice with the genetic equivalent of Down syndrome, essential for studies of possible drug treatments, has been another milestone. “There’s a lot of excitement,” Edgin said.

It is a devastating irony that stunning advances in accuracy in  prenatal testing  AND the first clinical trials for medicine to treat cognitive impairment of Down syndrome are discovered concurrently. Sadder still is the fact that the prenatal testing is receiving vastly more press coverage.
Imagine the excitement in the press if a new cancer drug were discovered?! Well, this is how the families of over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome feel about this drug and its potential to change lives. Not only can it help my ten year old daughter communicate with her classmates, but it may help insure that she has more classmates who look like her.
Maybe, just maybe, if mothers who are told that their unborn baby has Down syndrome heard that there are amazing advances in treatment for the cognitive delays in Down syndrome, they would not despair of their child's potential for a happy and fulfilling life as stated in this article.

Servant of God, Dr Jerome Lejeune
Of course, we who love our children with 'designer genes' already know their lives are wonderfully rich, full of love and learning, and giving back to their community. But if it takes more hope to help bring such gifted people to birth, then we want to be the first to spread the word. Thank you WaPo for joining us in our efforts to spread the good news.
Dr Jerome Lejeune, the French geneticist who won the Kennedy prize for his discovery of trisomy 21, the cause of Down syndrome spent his career hopeful that such treatments would be discovered, and his family via Lejeune USA  continues to fund such promising research. Dr Lejeune understood the importance of such research when he said,
“I see only one way left to save them, and that is to cure them. The task is immense, but so is Hope.”

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