Imagine being in a room filled with people. You can't see them but you can hear them. All of them. You hear their voices and you recognize each one. You shout out a "hello" anxiously hoping to get a reply and you repeat that hello until you recieve one or you don't. You give up and continue listening. But then because of short term memory loss you forget that you gave up 5 minutes ago and you anxiously begin your second, but in your mind, first attempt at a hopeful reply. A conversation. A "how are you?". Then you get one! but its quick, like you're being brushed off. You continue listening, wishing you could just see who is standing next to you.
Its like you're a ghost. A 200lb gorgeous ghost with a presence that is captivating and you happen to be sitting in a massive neon purple chair. Now there is a ghost thats hard to miss and yet, it is looked over, passed by and ignored like its not there. You are the ghost in the room.
That is Caties life outside of the home. In church of all places, go figure. At school, hell, at any public function including the ones that are being held in her honor.
There are a handful of people, trust me, my family and I know who you are and we are so thankful for you. You are the handful of people that always give Catie and huge hug and excited hello. You let her hold your babies because you know nothing makes her happier. You ask her how her boyfriend is and if she is excited about her wedding. You ask her if she is ready to run across the finish line of her relay. You tell her you love her highlights in her hair or her sparkling dangle earings. You listen to her mumble, smile and tell her, "yeah! thats great!" even though you don't have a clue as to what she is trying to say. You hold her hand when you speak to her reassuring her that you are really there since she can't see you. You are the people that make her smile and feel like she is a part of whats going on.
Then there are the majority of people. Trust me, my family, myself and Catie know who you are. Yes, Catie knows who ignores her because she hears you. She hears your voice in the room and she gets upset that you won't come talk to her. She frowns and grunts and drops her head. She is very aware. You are the people that know she is madly in love with you and believes she will marry you one day, yet you pretend like she isn't sitting 2 feet away from you, hoping that if you're quiet she won't know you're there. You're the people that look right past her when she is sitting across from you. You are the people that pat her on the shoulder and say hello and then leave to a different part of the room and socialize since you got the 'be nice to the retarded kid' part of the day out of your way. You are the people that are too self absorbed to realize how smart and sharp her mind really is. You all brag about your academic achievements, your public volunteer work, your missionary work in your community, your success at your jobs. All great things to be proud of, but if you can't take the time to say hello to someone like catie then personally you shouldn't be proud of anything about yourself at all.
I am tired of watching Catie be ignored. Its not even since recently or anything, its been going on since we were little girls. Catie would cry when we were younger because she just wanted to hang out with all the other kids, but never being able to run or think as fast as them, it never worked out. She was treated poorly. There were a few kids that she was close to, 3 specifically that were so good to her. But now, they've grown up and act as if they could care less. My dad even called one of her friends and left her voicemails asking her to please call catie since she crys and asks about her all the time. 2 years later we've yet to hear from her. I really don't get it! Really, I'd love for someone to explain to me what it is. What it is about catie that makes them stop calling, stop saying hi, stop giving her the time of day. Maybe if someone could explain it to me I wouldn't keep tabs on the assholes that ignore her.
Like I said though, I keep tabs on the ones that do treat her like a person too.
I was talking to my mom tonight about this since she was almost in tears from frustration. Just wanting to scream and say, HELLO MY DAUGHTER IS RIGHT HERE! I tried to help mom remember that as upsetting as it is for us and for Catie, the people that don't talk to her are the ones that are missing out. Look at her picture, that smile is outrageous!
Some day Catie will be the ghost in the room. Her chair will be empty and we won't have the opportunity to talk to her and hold her hand. The people that truly love her and care for her will be heart broken but thankful for the times they got to visit with her. The people that act like she's not there better think twice before they speak her name to me.