Grieving Over Diabetes………Does it Go Away?

griefI remember hearing the incredible Dr. William Plonosky speak and when discussing diabetes and depression he stated that he would be a bit worried if someone was diagnosed with diabetes AND WAS NOT feeling any depression.  That always stuck with me.  Recently I saw a FB posting about grieving; when grieving should stop over the diagnosis of a child with diabetes.

Grieving.  Depression.  Two very powerful words somehow connected and yet, two completely different types of processing that we faced when our children became diagnosed.

Two things I cannot compare are that number one; I have not been diagnosed with diabetes and surely what I feel as a parent is different from what someone WITH diabetes would feel.  Number two; is the word grieving.  When I think of the word I’m immediately faced with those who lost a child to this disease; they can grieve, what right do I have to grieve?

So I immediately know that there are varying definitions of the grieving process.  Sure we go through some of the levels of grieving; denial, anger, depression, accept (and some add bargaining in there) but as a comparative in my own life,  I would definitely say I went through a ‘level’ of the grieving process.

Jill still said it best when she stated, upon Rob’s diagnosis in 2009, that her anger is at the fact that another (Rob was our second child diagnosed) childhood was stolen.

It became clear to me at that point that we do grieve for what is lost.  But the other side of that realization is that we still have a lot more than what we lost.   It was realizing that point in my life that I started to turn the grieving process around .

As I have touched upon before, I suffered a huge loss of someone when I was younger.  The absolute pain of knowing that that someone would never be coming back was overwhelming.  Leaving the discussion of faith on seeing loved ones again aside for just a moment, the idea of not actually seeing this person again was a hurdle mountain-high in my life to come to grips in understanding.  It was huge.  My faith has my heart in the right place but for ‘the now’, a pain remains 32 years later. 

So for good or bad; I had a comparative in my life on the ‘grieving process’ with diabetes.  The bottom line is that my children are still here.  We experienced the pain of having some of the simple things being taken but it is a huge ‘light-turned-on’ thought process to fully understand what it is like to have diabetes come into your life and what it is to have someone you care deeply about leave forever.  Quite frankly, I would much rather of not had either.

I honestly do not think I ever experienced the denial of Kaitlyn and Rob’s diagnosis.  I knew exactly what we needed to do and that was to ’embrace it’ from the get-go.  There was only one way that diabetes was not going to win in our home and that was with knowledge.  I mean deep-rooted knowledge.  Not the, “I heard from so-and-so” type knowledge

Perhaps it is in my namesake (Thomas, look it up 🙂 ) that gives me doubt, but I have always needed to find out things for myself to fully learn.  I take very little at face value.  If you ask me about the grieving process pertaining to a diabetes diagnosis, I would share that knowledge is the ultimate equalizer.

And even at that understanding life can still be derailed.  Do I still have moments of sadness for the many reasons diabetes is in our children’s lives and can get us down?  Yes.  That aspect does not go away.  And quite frankly, it is a reminder for me that our work is not done.  My diabetes involvement pretty much has me at 24/7 but it pales in comparison to the 24/7 of our children’s experiences actually living with diabetes.  And until we can get rid of that feeling for them; we need to all keep doing what we need to do.

For them, for ourselves, for a cure, for better management, for helping others, for better education, for camps, for advocacy—-because at the end of the day if I can minimize just some of my grieving by trying to move the diabetes dial just one notch for good….it is one notch I have less time for grieving.  I’ll take that any day of the week.

I am a diabetes dad

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

5 replies on “Grieving Over Diabetes………Does it Go Away?”

I definitely grieved/am grieving.

I tried to explain it to one of my mommy friends not long ago, so I can repeat my efforts here.

I have no sisters, my mother is gone. My relationship with my daughter was one of shared experiences. On Sunday, she bridged from Daisy Girl Scouts to Brownie Girl Scouts. I found my own Brownie sash from 30+ years ago and showed it to here. We went looked at my badges and patches and talked about our shared experiences.

My grief was for the loss of sameness with her. From diagnosis forward, anything she does that I did as a girl growing up, she will do with diabetes what I did without diabetes.

When facing challenges and struggles in life, many children tell their parents, “You DON’T know what it’s like!!!! You don’t understand!”

In my daughter’s case, she is absolutely right.

I totally agree.
And an interesting side note to your story was the person with diabetes who told me once; “I always told my parents that they had no idea what it was like to have diabetes; I wish I could go back in time now that I am older to tell them that I had no idea what it was like to be a parent of a child with diabetes either. While I was dealing with diabetes their hearts broke every day. I did not understand that until I was much older.”

This is the best blog post you have ever wrote! Maybe one of the best ive ever read. Thanks so much for sharing. The feelings were different with each of my children being diagnosed, shock/grief (1st dx), then grief and anger (2nd dx). I knew with number 2 what was going on. The pain was there nonethless. You never want to see your children hurt or in pain. Thanks for this post, made me feel a little better, don’t know why, just did. See you around.

We’re newly diagnosed (May 11th) and I frequently have those moments where I wish we were back to pre-dx. Where we didn’t worry or run on a 3hr clock. Where his little body didn’t have to be poked and pinched and where the worry in his eyes when he’s low or not sure what to eat is non-existent. In the beginning I cried, and asked God to give it to me instead, anything to take it away from him. From the beginning though, I went into “mommy mode” and just did: learned, researched, made educated decisions about what I should do, and consulted his doctor. I want to show him that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes, but then we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on. There is no alternative. He said to me in the hospital right before we went home “Mom, this is manageable, it’s not like I’m going to die”. So sure of himself, he’s braver than I could ever hope to be. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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