Homage to Kate Kelly

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

A bit of background on the article below Saturday, January 21, 2012 – 2 AM

UPDATE Sunday-2/19/12

For anyone who hasn’t already heard, dear friend, ADD Coaching colleague, and Interfaith Minister Kate Kelly was in Christ Hospital in Cincinnati when I wrote the article below. She is now recuperating at home, between rounds of chemo for what turned out to be renal shutdown due to a mass in her bladder, which turned out to be cancer.

After a very scary couple of weeks in January, we’re as certain as man is allowed to be about these things that she will ultimately be fine, but her body’s got a bumpy road ahead to carry her to glowing health once again. (This all serves as background for the insight which was the reason for this post – be patient, or scroll down for Small Blessings).


Even if you think you don’t know Kate, you probably know OF her. I’ll bet you’ve read the ADD classic Kate and co-author Peggy Ramundo wrote.

Cover of "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid o... Do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or buy a copy now if you haven’t already read it – this is one you will definitely want in your ADD library.

If you already have one in your library, and can afford it, buy a brand-new copy as a gift for a friend or to donate to your public library or local Youth Group.

Not only will you be saving somebody’s quality of life, you will be offering support to Kate in a very practical fashion. Cancer-care is EXPENSIVE, and book royalties will probably be her primary source of income for some time to come. Any published author will tell you that the authors see VERY little of the price of each book sold. So let’s put it on the Best Seller’s List together.

Peggy Ramundo is another dear friend, with whom I am working on the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training. Peggy and I have already been dervishes in the past month, setting aside nearly everything else to get materials fluffed by deadline for our presention at the upcoming March ACO Conference in Atlanta. Our session together expands upon the importance of spiritual coaching concepts in a field as pragmatics-focused as ADD Coaching.

Before we had time to refocus on day-to-day work objectives, Kate took a sudden turn for the worse. We have practically lived at the hospital since Kate was taken by ambulance to the Christ Hospital’s Emergency Room,  over a week ago. If you missed me, that’s where I’ve been!

So, in 2012, I’ve barely had time to edit drafts of older content to post here, much less time to write anything new!  Since it’s likely to be another week or so before I am able to resume anything resembling my “normal” schedule — and then comes catch-up I believe I’ve come up with a novel way to fit it all in: blogging about my hospital insights (very big grin).

Changing the Frame Changes the View

This is not the first time I’ve ridden the care-partnering mechanical bull for a friend I dearly love. Yet I’m reminded anew that caring for a seriously ill loved one is the advanced course in perspective adjustment. So, while Kate is climbing the solid rock face of health mountain, future articles will share a few of my own perspectives that have been adjusted in the process of being there  for her. I’ll start with the one below, “Small Blessings.”

Since Kate has a HUGE extended family, and since practically everyone in the ADD universe knows and loves her, we’ve called out for a Prayer Circle, supported by a CaringBridge to keep everyone updated on her condition. Below is adapted from an update I recently posted there.

The following perspective is something we ALL can use – especially the Attentional Spectrum subsets who tend to be black and white thinkers and struggle with organization and task completion.

Joining the Circle

If you would like to add wishes or prayers for Kate in the comments section of this article (or any of my Perspectives articles to come), please DO. Eventually, for all posters who would like to be connected to Kate more directly, I will have the time to send the link to KATE’s CaringBridge – once things simmer down a bit. Then you will be able to read all the updates from the beginning and interact with Kate as she focuses on healing. Meanwhile, I’ll make sure she gets your comments. (The links on this page go to the main CaringBridge site– you MUST have the link to Kate’s section specifically to access her territory on the Caring Bridge site.)

Someone else who knows the specific link,
feel free to step in to share it with them before I can

Spammers have no ethics and we have no time to deal with their antics, so we are reminding everyone NOT to post Kate’s CaringBridge link publicly, even though we want anyone and everyone who sincerely desires to be part of Kate’s prayer circle to have it.

Small Blessings

It’s long past midnight and I’m finally able to sit down and have dinner with you – multi-tasking is spelled ADD, thank Goodness herSelf. Kate is now sleeping peacefully, after riding another day on the good news/bad news carousel. Those of us who are “ground support” are finally able to exhale: we made it through another day. Tomorrow is a brand new chance to do it all again.

The healing process is a jagged line – up a jog, down a jag, up-up-down, oom-pah-pah. As long as the overall trajectory is upward, we all can breathe a general sigh of relief and thank God for Her Blessings.

Fortunately the trajectory IS still upward – due in no small part, I’m certain, to the hundreds of you who are praying and sending White Light.

But here in the trenches, I have to tell you that it is difficult to maintain that “As long as it’s upward all’s good!” attitude between “updates” — from doctors, nurses, labs, other caretakers, and Kate herself. I don’t know how those who do this kind of thing for a living are able to stay in touch with their feelings and survive.

Where is the boundary? Is this too little empathy? Maybe this is too much?
There’s not a lot of time to ponder from behind the lines. So you breathe. And you tap dance.

And you pray that the prayers of others might include asking God to put words in your mouth when they need to be said. And for a lull where there is time to get a solid eight hours of sleep. AND, if it’s not too much to ask, a chance to sit and stare at the wall for, maybe, a full twenty minutes before somebody in your life needs something from you that they feel like they have to have NOW.

I’ve always been grateful for my amazing health – never so much as in situations like this one. But that attitude of gratitude slips where it comes to the thousands of little things we can all be grateful for every single day – like being needed. Kate herself offered the most amazing perspective as she drifted off to sleep tonight — one that each of us needs to try our best to hold on to.

Do you know what she wanted to know?

“So what’s on everybody’s To-Do list for tomorrow?”

OMG, as the kids say, she misses having things she HAS to do!

Lying there for days on end hooked to tubes and monitors, every single moment of her schedule determined 100% by others, unable to leave her bed for even a quick trip to “have” to go to the bathroom, of course she would miss something as seemingly insignificant (and generally annoying) as a To-Do list!

Those of us “out here” who are thirsting for answers tend to brush aside what it is like to be the person”in there” where there ARE no answers.

  • When will the doctor arrive to answer some questions?
    As soon as she can.
  • What procedures are scheduled for tomorrow?
    It depends.
  • Can I have some more ice?
    I’ll ask the nurses.
  • What about more pain medication?
    Let me check with the doctor.

This is not to say that the hospital staff is unresponsive or uncaring – exactly the opposite, in fact. Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital is one of the best run hospitals in my experience of hospitals. The staff is amazingly attentive. It is simply the nature of hospitals that makes things truly impossible to schedule as well as, even, an Italian train!

So rather than a fit of pique over my own inability to schedule much with intentionality, I’m going to endeavor to be grateful for the ability to schedule AT ALL. And for the fact that I have a vote in the second by nano-second scramble to fit it all in when somebody or something forces a sudden change in plans.

It could be worse.

I could be lying in a hospital bed, totally at the effect of the schedules of others.

Kate Kelly Related Articles

Other Memorial Posts


About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

3 Responses to Homage to Kate Kelly

  1. Twila says:

    Kate… I am holding you close to my heart.


  2. Louise Harvey says:

    Kate, you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I have appreciated the sincere help and insights you have given me through Coach Training and coaching. May you continue to be supported by the warmth of Love and Support at this time.

    Love from Louise Harvey.


  3. Let Kate Kelly know my prayers are with her and I pray she has a speedy recovery!

    Love from a new colleague and fan,
    Sarah Gogstetter


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