And thus began the opening of the special Glee tribute with the words of this wonderful song from the Broadway Musical, Rent, to their beloved character, Finn, who died unexpectedly. Of course as everyone knows by now, all of this only became necessary because of the untimely death of Cory Monteith, the actor who played Finn, of a drug overdose on July 13th of this year.
The show was a two-tissue box tear-jerker. Only the hardest would not be moved to tears as each character had their moment paying tribute to their beloved colleague.
My years as an actor showed me many times that an incident on stage could be a reflection of a real life off-stage emotion. An actor leaving a show after being involved for a long time or a show closing after a run always allowed an actor real emotion to be portrayed on stage; so I understood a little bit more of the real emotions were for the cast of Glee.
I found it interesting how, on a few commercial breaks, actors would relate the show and/or the death of Cory Monteith to a related cause. I understand the illness of addiction but I was compelled to think of those who lost a battle and did not have the platform of grief supplied by a television show as was this case. Their death was no-less tragic and some could argue even more-so.
As the show continued on, I kept thinking of the real life people I know that have lost their battle with diabetes. Trust me when I tell you that my 21 plus years at this, I have known too many that deserve the line; In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?
All had full lives with much promise ahead. All were taken too soon. But there was no ‘Finn’ character that portrayed them in a show on television. There was no way to allow the world to grieve for them. There was no way for an actor to appear in a commercial break and let the world know how devastating diabetes is; and that we must do something about the devastation.
There was none of that, no.
Yesterday a wonderful diabetes advocate, Karmel Allison, stood next to the president of the United States during an incredible address. She is pregnant and by all indications (we have not been told officially but it surely looked like) she suffered a hypoglycemic reaction and almost passed out. Aided by our President, and a few others she was caught, did not fall, and was taken away to a place where she could recover.
Led by the media, ridicule followed. So did the jokes. So did the uneducated facts about diabetes. A teachable moment became a joke for, and to, many. The highlight of a woman’s life became a spotlight of misguided information for those who should know better. Once again the diabetes community was outraged.
Make no mistake about it; Ms. Allison was there because of her written word about diabetes….she is as much a hero as a hero can be. Bravo to her.
All the blue circles, all the education, and all the outrage is a moot point if we only are yelling for our own world to hear. We, as a collective community, need to have our voice heard by the world outside of the interior of our own walls. There needs to be voices heard that ‘cross-overs’ to the rest of the world-at-large. Only WE CAN MAKE that happen.
We should not wait for the death of a celebrity to proclaim to the world what we already know; we need to do it now. We need to do it for those who live with diabetes, and those who once had a voice; who can be heard no more.
We need to create our “Glee-moment” in a voice loud enough for people to take notice. Too many Jesses, Stacys, Debbies, Trents, and the so many more we know who deserve to have their voices heard so no one else will ever doubt the devastation of diabetes.
It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Remember a year in the life of friends
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
I am a diabetes dad.
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