Jeanne Donnelly

Oct 28, 2019

My whole life my family told me that I always had questions about everything from the time I could speak. They would say my favorite question was “Why?”

I never realized how much the question why would be asked of me and how I would have to ask why to other people when I needed or wanted something.

The questions of why was often asked of my parents, as in “Why would you keep her and not put in her a facility?”

Some people that were religious asked “Do you think your daughter’s afflictions were caused by you and your husband’s sins?”

As I got older and started school most of my teachers, physical therapists and other educational specialists that worked with us would ask us what goal I had for the upcoming year? For the Pt department it was walk on crutches, for the OT departments it was independent living skills, dressing, feeding and personal care in the bathroom. In most cases I heard the same thing: that’s an unrealistic goal for you. Those words never went down easy.

Then I started to ask them why don’t you think I can do this? In most cases, teachers and professionals would give me what I call the “the politically correct answer,” like it would be on unsafe, we don’t want to hurt your feelings, but if we did it for you we have to do it everyone.
Most of the if I had a good therapist or a good teacher I would explain my point of view and most of time they would understand.
Those people that did not understand I would have worked ten times harder to prove them wrong.

Those people that did not understand I would have worked ten times harder to prove them wrong. Jeanne Donnelly Public Speaker, Self-Employed

This was especially true when I wanted to enter my public high school. People thought I was nuts. The question of why was on everybody’s lips. Why did I want to do this now? Why wasn’t I happy with Henry Viscardi [school]? Was I being Bullied? My mom questioned it  alot because we had a neighbor that had the personality of Mrs. Kravaets from Bewitched. She thought she knew something about everyone, but as it turns out, she did not know anything about anyone.

She would tell my mom how bad the kids were and there was racial tension and a lot of other stuff so my mom was nervous.

My dad was nervous too. Even though he never said it directly I kind of knew it anyway.

A few months before I left my private school my Dad was at my school every other week asking everyone on the staff what was wrong and what should he do to rectify the situation?

Truth be told there was nothing to fix. The real reason was because so many people told me that I would not be able to manage or deal with real life issues just yet. I knew that was not true because in my opinion the kids that went to Henry Viscardi dealt with real life with more dignity and respect then any group of people I know. When I was young we lost students who succumbed to their disabilities at an early age. I lost friends at fifteen or sixteen and watched kids get sick and weak, but saw them trudge though their life as best they can even though they know they their untimely death was drawing near. If that is not dealing with real life issues I don’t what is.

The big question I had for everyone that tried to dissuade me was, “How can we make this possible and what can I do to help you help me get through this process?”

Yes there were bad days that I questioned why things happened all throughout my life. I had really spectacular moments in my life that I would not trade for anything. I could ask the question why all day long about things that happened to me and my family and my friends. But the best way to move forward is to ask how can I make my situation better or how can I deal with the situation as it is?

At the end of the day it does not matter why things happen but how you deal with a situation once they happen. So think about how you define your “why” and then ask what you can do to make it possible.

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