The Chair is Empty….We Have Lost Another.

blue candle
After speaking to a mom who lost a child recently, who is dealing with the loss on her own even though I gave her many resources which she stated she may utilize, I was struck by the voices we have lost that must remain ‘loud’ with all that we do.  I wrote the following after I hung up the phone with this incredible mom.

There was a time people commented and smiled on my young voice that matched my cute face that sold the lemonade to raise money for a cure but now;

the chair is empty.

There was a time my daddy fixed his bow tie and mommy looked really pretty and I was handed a microphone to speak why I wanted a cure but now;

the chair is empty.

I was on the front page of the local newspaper for my fund-raising events, thousands of people participated but now;

the chair is empty.

My mommy is sad now, daddy and she hardly speak these days, and the joy of getting ready for those special events don’t happen any more because at my part of the dinner table;

the chair is empty.

Because I am gone my voice cannot cease.  My existence cannot be shut out.  Because I am gone it can never be that I never was; even though now

the chair is empty.

Scream louder for me now than when I was here, because my story is not how I was able to live but my story is now about how

the chair is empty.

You are not speaking for just me now, you are speaking for all those who might end up like me; people left behind to try to pick up the pieces in a home where

the chair is empty.

So hear my voice from afar, at a time when we all ‘looked like’ nothing was wrong is not the only time to shout the wrong with living with diabetes; it’s all the times when the voices have been silenced that others need to scream the loudest; or it just could turn out that those pretty little dresses; and tiny little gala suits; and those bikes; and those sneakers; and those purchase-at-a register-scannables; those lemonade stands; those garage sales; those lectures at schools; all get taken away and all there is to see is that

the chair is empty.

Another one has passed away.  There have been too many empty chairs lately….JUST TOO MANY—-and I’m tired of it and I’m mad as hell; how about you?

I am a diabetes dad

I am adding a PS to this column at 1:10 p.m. EST: I know that we all need to live life in the positive—-many of my articles state that. THIS article is meant to be more than thinking positive; it is more than we need better management tools and a cure quicker; it is more than to stay positive. THIS article is specifically not to forget those silenced voices.  EVER!  We need to be mindful of another side to this disease.  Those that were diagnosed at death–those voices need to ring out loudly to the GP medical  and school community-at-large to be on the lookout and do a simple blood test; whatever it takes from the medical text books to the halls of Congress—-DO THE TEST.  Those who died from a hypo/hyper while they slept.  Remember them. We need to remember these voices; all of them in our battles while we stay focused on the positive and living life to the fullest. This is the point of today’s article.  Sort of; ‘never forget’ in the midst of all that we do.
Just wanted to add this point.  Thank you.  DD

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T.G.I.F. (Thanking Great Individuals Forever) ……Mile 23…Something Many Will Never Know

Today my Thanking Great Individuals Forever (T.G.I.F.) is being given to the efforts of a group of people albeit began by one.

I originally was going to give this to a woman who made a new meaning of the words ‘MILE 23’, but I know she would say, “…… give it in memory to my son.”  More on that in a minute.

You see, Mile 23 is a mile run in silent during any of the incredible bike rides you see happening around the country.  From Death Valley to the NYC-Washington trip, these fabulous bikers raise an enormous amount of money to help diabetes causes; but yet it is Mile 23 that grabs our attention when at each given ride, this mile is done in complete silence.  Just the chains rattling and the wheels spinning in absolute chilling harmony of tribute by groups of two wheelers.

This MILE 23 is a memory mile.  A memory mile  started in honor of the memory of an incredible young man named Jesse.   Jesse passed away due to diabetes on February 3rd, 2010.  His mom, Michelle, has made it a point to make sure that what happened to her family does not happen again.  But it has.  And now “that mile 23 for Jesse” is done for all who have lost this bitter battle of diabetes.

And to those who have had it happen, they have reached out to Michelle and Michelle has been there for them.  She knows.  And unless you have gone through it yourself, you would never understand.  I do not understand; nor would I even begin to relay that I do, I don’t…..truthfully…..may I never.

But Michelle has spent almost 3 years re-telling her story and re-motivating others to know that we all cannot stop and should not stop until a cure is found. So at every ride, Mile 23 is reserved for reflection of those who lost the battle but more so; to remind the rest of us the importance of doing what we can.   

Every time I see the number 23, it reminds me of everything Michelle, The Nicholsons and so many others are yelling to us by their utter Mile 23 silence; “……do not stop.  If  we are not stopping–you have no right to stop.”    And they would be 1000% correct, we have no right to stop.  Don’t do nothing.

Michelle stated that she received a two page letter Jesse wrote from one of his teachers.  She received it from teacher after he passed away.  In the letter he said how proud he was of his mom for everything she did in his life.   Because of this letter she states, “….I know he’ll be there, and he’s proud of me.”

Think about that for a moment, please.

He was proud of Michelle, his mom. 

To the so many that redefined the meaning of a simple mile marker–number 23, especially Michelle Page Alswager, we are proud of her too, Jesse.  Thank you for lending your mom to the diabetes community.  A labor-of-immeasurable-love that will make sure your voice and memory are never, ever, silenced……as long as we all see a Mile 23.

I am a diabetsdad.