I saw a post on-line today that I thought I would address. A mom wrote that she attended a Thanksgiving Day event at school and as much as the event was a lovely event she could not help but feel a bit sad as the others in the room certainly did not have a care in the world as she did having a child with diabetes.
First of all, we all certainly know that feeling. It is a feeling that makes us wish we could have the life back we had before diabetes. Where we were able to discuss things without thinking about the every day management in the lives of our kids. It is not fair that we have this burden and others do not, it just is not fair. I know the mom who wrote the post and she is a great mom and she does a lot.
I learned something, the hard way, but I learned it none-the-less and I would like to share it. It taught me a great deal about how to handle this feeling. In a three-year time span we lost my dad, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, our daughter was in a head-on collision while the other party was on a cell phone, saw friends lose their children to both diabetes and by other means as well, and our second child was diagnosed with diabetes. It was much to go through.
As we were going through all of this and we were in contact with many friends and relatives, I started to notice how many of our relatives and friends also go through crap in their lives. Some stories were absolutely horrendous.
I started to really think about the many people I have come across in my life and here is what I have concluded. I do not mean to sound rhetoric but the truth of the matter is life is just that…..life. Our diabetes is someone else’s cancer or someone elses bad marriage or someone else’s dealing with a child with a mental illness, another disease, or car accident that changed their lives forever. Not better or worse….just life.
What I have actually concluded is that almost everyone in this world has been given something that is extremely unfair. We see others who ‘seem’ like they are okay because we do not see them grabbing a diabetes bag, or checking their child’s blood sugar or running for an orange juice……..but know this……..almost everyone is dealing with something that impacts their life greatly.
Now I know this thought does not make our thoughts go away but also know this; our children do incredible things and they do it with diabetes……..but so do we as parents. Many times when I give a lecture people ask me if I am really that positive? And I answer yes, I truly am. My daughter and my son grab every bit of gusto out of life. Could something happen to them that could derail their very lives? You bet and I know that completely.
But more than that, Kaitlyn knows it and so does Rob. But we all also know that their lives are as full as they can be and they do it with diabetes. I saw a lecture recently by my good friend Jeff Hitchcock where he showed a graph that people with diabetes are now living their life span to the same as people without diabetes. Read that sentence again. Grasp it. Understand it.
Now some parents have lost their children to diabetes and it is that point that throws cold water on the entire thought process. Life has been particularly cruel to them as life has been to anyone who has lost a child. I know so many families that have had this happen but interesting enough not one of them was living a defeatist attitude toward diabetes in their lives before they lost their child.
They lived their lives fully and ‘BAM’ the pain becomes something I have never experienced nor would even think of stating I understand. One can not just ‘go on’ after that point but life does just that, goes on. The pain will never go away. But each of these families will tell you that their lives with diabetes did not define their child when they were alive and they are doing everything in their power to make sure diabetes will not define them in death either. Their courage astounds me to this day. No less painful but they go forward shattered heart and all. They teach us to do the same.
When I was at the UK I gave a quote that I just love and it is from Sir Winston Churchill who stated, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Isn’t that great? When you start to feel down look at everything your children do WITH diabetes, start teaching yourself to celebrate that aspect of their lives. They do not live with DIABETES, they LIVE with diabetes.
I feel I owe it to those I know, who lost a child to this disease, to never allow myself or my kids to get down. We cannot do anything about diabetes coming into our lives but we most certainly can do something once it takes up residence. We choose to ‘kick-its-ass every day. Diabetes cannot win.
We all have good days and bad days and when the days are bad ones…..look at all that you and your child have done together…..I mean REALLY LOOK AT IT. Know this, others do not indeed go through what we do, but many if they could, would choose to go through what we go through than what they have BEEN through,. Diabetes cannot win in our lives…….we owe that to others who cannot say the same.
I am a diabetesdad.
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Thank you and you also—onward we ALL GO …..together.