The woman was in her eighties for sure. It was a meeting by chance of two strangers who happen to be at the same place at the same time. I was wearing a shirt that gave away that diabetes was in my life.
As soon as she said this statement, my defenses went up. It is as if we, as parents, have radar and can tell when someone is about to say something that informs us that they totally do not get it.
Something told me to listen. Something held me back. “So your children have that bad kind…..huh?”
Now my pistons were clicking in full gear ready to, YET AGAIN, have to explain my life and the misunderstanding about diabetes people have of what we go through. But I swear a little voice told me to just shut up and just listen.
The woman told me that her husband had died a week ago. He did not have diabetes. She explained how beautiful the funeral was and that he was loved by so many people. “It was nice for the entire family to drop everything and be with me.”
He was a successful man who started from nothing. He had survived the concentration camps of a horror-hell that none of us could ever imagine and he saw things that no one should have to see in a lifetime. “He saw me on a stoop in Brooklyn. We got married. I guess he liked what he saw.”
I listened for ten minutes more until we parted ways. Before she left she smiled and said I am sorry that your children have the ‘bad kind’ of diabetes. I thanked her for her concern.
Her compassionate eyes said more than her words.
You see, sometimes people may not say the right thing but they mean well. Sometimes they really do not know what to say. In actuality, on this day, my friend wanted to REALLY talk about her partner of a long tome and how good and kind he was and how much they loved each other.
Sometimes when we are so ready to “DEFEND OUR LIVES WITH DIABETES” and to educate, and to make sure the person ‘gets it right’ that we really need to take the time to listen. Others may not say it right but there is not a doubt in my mind that this woman cared about what we go through.
This was a time to be grateful, not educated. This was a time to let my defenses down and feel someone who cared, and it did not matter how she said it. She card so much that although her husband had died just the week prior, she felt for someone else. She felt for us, and what we go through, even if the words were not correct.
sometimes we need to look past what is being said and how it is being said. On this day, I liked what I saw too.
I am a diabetes dad.
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