Four years ago at this time, March, it started as a normal week. Little did I know that March coming ‘in like a lion and leaving like a lamb’ could be so true; but this March in 2009 it was not about the weather; it was about my life.
It started as an exciting month actually as one of my best friends was getting married in Las Vegas. Tara is a very special woman to us and we have been there for each other through many happy and sad occassions. She has watched my kids grow up and she is without-a-doubt the biggest reader of books I have ever met. She has shared that love many times with our kids. She and John had been together for a long time and they decided to get married, and I was not going to miss it, so I was off to Vegas. If there was ever a definition of ‘good people’ John and Tara fill that definition. It was a great way to start the month of March.
The wedding was fabulous and we had a wonderful time. The next day I received a call from my brother on my cell while I was in Vegas; “Dad is doing really bad, you need to get here……now.” That one phone call started a series of events that are now burned into my memory. Whenever I think I have had a bad week, I think back to the week in 2009 and it reminds that no matter what I am going through, nothing could really ever be as bad as it seems
I got to Florida and Dad, as was customary, bounced back from his latest decline. For some reason his Alzheimer’s did not get in the way of him remembering all of our ‘pet-names’ he had given us and we sang from his hospital bed. We all love to sing. We bantered, and you have never seen a household banter like us. I have five brothers and sisters and there is only 7 1/2 years between all of us and dialogue is about as rapid as a machine gun.
So we left and stayed at mom’s house. We called my sister, the oldest, who was home, “dad bounced back, Steve is leaving tomorrow in the early AM….we are all going home.”
In the middle of the night the phone rang in my mom’s house. Dad was gone.
The next few days was a whirlwind and eventually I headed home. On the plane I started to think about life being life. We all go through it and dad always stated that death was a part of life. Dad was bigger than life. A very strong-minded man who taught me that if you believe in something, you do it all the way or not at all. “You can’t jump in the pool unless you expect to get fully wet.” It was hard to imagine him gone. He had a fabulous sense of humor, loved to sing, and was such a community leader in so many areas. And now he was gone.
The first time I cried was on my way home on the plane.
The day after I arrived home, Rob came to me with those words that will stay with me forever. With Kaitlyn it was Jill saying over the phone, “Tom, they think it’s diabetes.”
Rob walked into the den where I was watching TV, “Dad, I’m peeing a lot.”
“What’s a lot?”
“Four times an hour.”
So there it was. If you are a parent, you know the rest of the story.
One week; a wedding, a death, and a NEW, “new’ normal.
I have always stated that no one should go through the diagnosis of a child with diabetes. Now there was two in our household. I quickly found there were those with 3-4-5 of their kids with diabetes; so how bad do I really have it?
I remember looking in the mirror; “You have a decision to make.” And I made it. As I have stated a million times over the years, “No one has made more mistakes at this thing called diabetes, than me.”
But over twenty years since Kaitlyn was diagnosed and as we approach Rob’s 4th diaversary, I’m as committed to be as diligent as ever to accept that “diabetes just will not do.” For a cure, for better treatment, for better education until such time my kids get a break; not one second before.
I miss you Dad.
I will alway get fully wet……..you taught me that.
I am a diabetes dad.
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