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Keeping Katherine: A Mother's Journey to…
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Keeping Katherine: A Mother's Journey to Acceptance

by Susan Zimmermann

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The parents in this story had a beautiful, normal baby for a short time and then a scary deterioration began happening to Katherine, the child. Exhaustive tests were normal yet she continued to spiral away from normalcy. It would be years before the parents learned Katherine's true diagnosis. This is the mother's story -- how she dealt with the situation, told with honesty and grace. It's a personal story, the same kind each of us have in any given situation and we all handle things differently.

At first, the parents thought Katherine's problem was their fault, giving her stream water on a camping trip. During the time they suspected that might be the origin, Susan, the mother, grew to hate Katherine. Any parent of a severely disabled child can attest to the profound daily challenges of caring for such a child. Even though I didn't like or agree with Susan's feelings and attitude during that time, I respect her courage in facing truths and writing with such honesty while preserving intimate details of Katherine's personal life as she grows older.

Susan's parents, Katherine's grandparents, totally ignored the child. While we can't force relationships, we can foster understanding -- that is if we understand ourselves, and it seems that was a long time coming in this family. However, Katherine's other grandparents and a number of other people loved her dearly as she was and gave her what all children need, love, attention and fun.

Many things about the book amazed me, both good and bad. If you read the book, consider that if Susan had parents who could ignore a disabled grandchild, what warmth and understanding might Susan have missed in her own growing up years? Susan sounds like an intelligent and reflective individual to me. She pushed herself to do some things that helped her form a loving relationship with Katherine. She managed to keep peace in her family, and the 3 younger siblings to Katherine love their disabled sister dearly.

There are families that handle severely disabled children differently, some better, some worse. This is one mother's story, one disabled child's story. I would have liked to know more about Katherine.

A child disabled from birth is a different thing in a family to one that is normal for a year and then slowly grinds to a halt, so to speak. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
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