Someone is Sitting, Alone in Their Room; Thinking. DO NOT FORGET Them.

brother and sisterWhat do the siblings think?

Do they hurt for their brother or sister?  Do they care?  Do they not deal with the diagnosis of diabetes? 

We make so much of what happens in when a child is diagnosed.  It changes our lives.  It turns a household upside down.  But alone, in the corner of their room; the brother and/or sister is sitting on their bed taking it all in.

What are they thinking?

It does not matter if they are age six or twenty-six; their lives have just been changed.  They sit on their bed, they look around the room.  Perhaps they sigh.  They think.

It becomes lonely I’m sure, a bit scary too.

For the first few days there is much activity, there are a zillion phone calls coming and going; being carted away to babysitters, babysitters arriving; or a grand parent coming to help out……and of course, there is just that room.  Even harder still, if the room is shared with the one going through the diagnosis.

The silence at night is deafening to the brother and sister who try to figure it all out.

Can you feel this?   They may still be experiencing it years after diagnosis; make sure you include them.  Make sure you give them the extra bit of attention they may need; even today.

Because it’s lonely in their room, still.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Happy Siblings Day……How Important are the Ones in Your New Normal?

SiblingsDid you know yesterday was ‘Siblings Day’.  I didn’t.  It is not National Siblings Day because it would need a presidential order for that and thus far only 41 state’s governors have recognized it.  But it is the goal of the organization to obtain all 50 and 3 more are pending according to their website at www.siblingsday.org. (I found many of the links did not operate, but the content looked intriguing, I hope they fix the links in short order).

The idea was the brain-child of a para-legal in New York named Claudia Evart who lost two of her siblings at a young age.  The date of April 10th was chosen because it is the birthday of one of those siblings who passed.

I find this holiday rather interesting because as any parent of a child with diabetes will tell you, the siblings are the true unsung heroes in this battle with diabetes.  I can not tell you how many times in our lives that our son, TJ, had to be by-passed or told to wait because we were dealing with Kaitlyn’s diabetes.  I am sure he was angered on more than one occasion and I am sure he hated diabetes as much as we do.

He never said a word.

TJ is a strong man both physically and mentally.  His loyalty to his friends are noteworthy and he will look you in the eye when he meets you with a strong handshake.  He is a volunteer fireman and if central casting was casting that role, TJ fits it to the letter.  He regards his brothers and sisters within the department in high esteem.

Of course as a father I have my disclaimers as I know he is not a saint and he knows his faults and works on them as we all do.  But if I had one person in this world to face an adversity; a gang fight, a wall of fire, an accident, or anything else—I would choose to have my son, TJ,  behind me.  If there is one thing I know about my son, if you are family or friend, he’ll have your back to the bitter end.

That is a nice trait.

I have seen TJ cry just a few times in my life.  Those will stay with me but I will share that one of those times was when he and I were alone after his little brother was diagnosed with diabetes.  I saw him try to gain every ounce of strength he could muster to see if there was a way he could take on the pain where is brother would not have to deal with diabetes.  Alas, as that thought was in vain, and his frustration made him break down. 

“Not Bobby”, he said through his tears.  “I don’t know if he is as strong as Kaitlyn is.”  I will never forget those two phrases as long as I live.  Of course, as it turns out, Kaitlyn was on a mission once Rob was diagnosed and because of this love among siblings; Rob is doing very well on this journey.

Siblings.  For those of us who have diabetes as the ‘new normal’ let’s not forget everything they must undertake every day; whether age 1 or 91……so happy Siblings Day…..I know the three in my house make me proud every day; who could ask for anything more?

Let us know about yours.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

Brothers and Sisters…..Don’t Forget Them.

Each and every year we read about all of the different days that are or should be attached to diabetes.  you know them and if I list them, I’ll forget one.  They all have a purpose.

Won’t you agree that there is a group of kids who are amazing when it comes to diabetes and they do not have a special day in their honor; they just are–they continue to be what they never asked for either; a sibling to a child with diabetes.  How unfair is it for them as well?

Now I am not really asking for a special day for these incredible kids; they probably would not want it either.  But why not pick a day each week just to make sure you do something special for the brother or sister of your child with diabetes.

No matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we look; it is a given fact that at some point we have pushed aside a siblings wants to take care of our child with diabetes.  Make sure you do something special today, or at least this week, for your child/children without diabetes.  DOn’t give them a reason or you will, in essence, still be doing it for diabetes in their mind.  Just DO something nice for them.

None of us ‘signed up for this’ but being special, which they are, should be re-enforced constantly.

I am a diabetesdad.  

(PS–pictured is not of my kids; in case you were wondering)

PPS—this was told to me late Tuesday afternoon (about 6:00 pm est).  Apparently there is a Diabetes sibling day……. like their FB page.  http://www.facebook.com/DSibsDay

 

Siblings—DO they Really Understand? A Story that Changed My Life.

Siblings.

 No matter how hard the attempt, diabetes has always prevented us from giving the full amount of time needed to those who are the brother and sister of someone with diabetes.  Whatever the event, attention is drawn away.  And we tried pretty hard to find a balance.  But it seemed falling short indeed did happen.  One story in particular breaks my heart to this day.

When Kaitlyn was very young, I told my wife that when Kaitlyn would be around T.J. (her brother) that we should correct her in some sort of manner.  The goal was so T.J. would see that Kaitlyn was by no means perfect and in some case needing of discipline.

Shortly thereafter the opportunity presented itself (or so I thought). 

Jill was not around and I was watching T.J. and Kaitlyn (Rob was not even born yet but the memory is burned in my heart to this day).  I do not even remember what the incident was and it doesn’t matter.  I seized the opportunity where T.J. and Kaitlyn were together and I raised my voice and said, “Kaitlyn, stop.  Kaitlyn that is wrong and don’t do that again!” 

(To this day I still tear up remembering this story.) 

Kaitlyn looked up at me with those big round eyes, and her lip started to shake.  Tears rolled down her cheeks and she pee’d on herself and all over the floor.  No sooner than that happened that T.J., at probably only 7 years of age, ran into the kitchen and retrieved paper towels and tissues and started cleaning Kaitlyn and the floor. 

“Don’t worry about this Kaitlyn, I will clean it up.  It will be okay.” 

I stood there with my mouth hanging open as T.J. cleaned every inch of his sister and wiped the floor around her once I took her in and changed her. 

Jill will tell you that I was inconsolable for weeks after.  What had I done?   What I did not factor in was that at the time I did this, Kaitlyn was over 350…..an ‘accident’, with little help, was inevitable with the right final push which came from me, diabetesdad,.  No one has made more mistakes at this than me. 

Sigh. 

There are a few points here and the most important point is that the brothers and sisters of those with diabetes ‘get it’ more than we know.  But we should always keep looking to encourage them, spend time with them, and let them KNOW ALSO just how important they are in our lives and do it more than we think we do. 

Those who read my Facebook pages know how different our 3 kids are and just what is so special about each.  T.J., now 25, is a vital part of our community working at Long Island’s largest hospital and also volunteering in our local fire department.  He is awaiting the call from the NYPD that he has been accepted into their academy.  He is a dedicated boyfriend to Joelle, and has always been ‘the watcher’ over his younger sister and brother.  I have seen T.J. cry 5 times in my life.  He is a very strong man in many ways. 

Sometimes the siblings of the one with diabetes……become another child with diabetes as well.  T.J. cried in my arms when his little brother was diagnosed also with diabetes at age thirteen in 2009.  “He cannot have to live with this forever, he just can’t.” 

We pray for all of T.J.’s dreams to come true.

We are so very proud of all of our kids.  I have stated a thousand times how kids with diabetes do everything…….and because of their diabetes, they do it with an asterisk.  I even wrote about it once.

But siblings……they do everything with an asterisk too, never forget that point.  Feel free to share just how special the siblings in your house are to you.

I’m a diabetesdad.