A Grieving Mom from Sandy Hook May Teach us Something Important

Francine WheelerThe flip side of the coin. 

Lately there has been much, much, debate about various aspects of gun control in this country.  WIthout stating one way or the other I say let the debate continue until a resolve is reached that hopefully may have aspects enough to satisfy the advocacy of both sides.

But I’m writing today not to discuss one side vs. another side; but rather to discuss the courage of one mom, Francine Wheeler, and something we in the diabetes community might learn. 

The President of the United States gave his weekly address over to Mrs. Wheeler so that she could address the nation and discuss the tragedy of losing her son, Ben, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.   

As you can imagine, it is a ‘tough watch’ and you can view it by clicking here if you wish. 

Now I’m sure Mrs. Wheeler may have had help in formulating this address.  I’m sure the attempted impact was to get others to contact Washington; and I fully understand how people might feel one way or the other about how Mrs. Wheeler’s address being an attempt to accomplish one thing or another AND I AM NOT HERE to begin that debate and ask that you push all of that aside for a moment.

I want you to notice what SHE DID DO and that is where I would like your focus.

As I watched this heart-felt address, the one thing I kept thinking is that this woman is speaking from the viewpoint of losing the battle.  All the gun control in the world will never bring back her loveable, talented, six-year-old-son; and here she is asking the country to move on this legislation.

Her impassioned request surely goes right to your heart.  You feel her pain.  You feel her loss.  She states toward the end of the address how a group from Sandy Hook came to Washington and met with representatives and how the action was fairly swift in obtaining their goal in, at least, moving the process forward.

As I watched this address I could not help but feel this idea/thought in the back of my mind.  There are many fabulous attempts at reaching the House and the Senate representatives for causes with diabetes.  I have been there myself and was part of forming the initial diabetes caucus on Capitol Hill in the mid 90s (now the largest congressional caucus) and I remember well our attempts.

I know that many organizations from the diabetes community spend a good deal of time on the Hill; and I remember well of the hundreds of families who told what it was like to live with diabetes everyday. 

Lately there has been news in the diabetes communities of those who were diagnosed with T1 upon death.  Perhaps a simple blood test would have changed things, perhaps not.  What I do know is that many, many, people are speaking and saying that something should be done about making sure we do everything we can to make sure that even one person is not diagnosed with diabetes by dying from it.

Perhaps, in addition to bringing all of these incredible families to Washington DC who live with diabetes every day, just perhaps the diabetes community needs to take a lesson from Mrs. Wheeler and bring a few willing families to tell their story of how their particular battle with diabetes was lost.

It surely is important to hear the voices of those living with diabetes and how we need to continue funding for their crucially important lives; but there are other voices that need to be heard also………those that can speak no longer.  

Who will tell their stories?  I ask you; who will tell their stories?

I am a diabetes dad

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