I had a chance recently to see the original movie version of Steel Magnolias, again. You know, the movie about a main character (played by Julia Roberts) dying from a low blood sugar reaction. It has been years since I’ve seen the film and if you asked me three weeks ago what the film was about, I would tell you that very same thing.
Now if you read that opening line and stated anything to yourself but, “that is not what happened”, and/or “that is not what it is about; you might want to see the film again and look ‘past the diabetes’. It might be that at the time I saw it, diabetes was so new, so raw; and it might be that diabetes is all I saw……too bad, because the movie is so much more and it has little to do with diabetes.
(Now if you are planning to see the film, the following is full of spoiler alerts so you should go rent it, watch it, and come back.)
Number one: Julia Roberts dies from a rejected kidney and not a glycemic reaction, how did I miss that when I saw it years ago? Number two: the writers could have picked any reason under the sun how Julia Roberts’ character dies; diabetes is just a small sub-plot of the film–how did I miss THAT when I first saw it? Number three: I learned that diabetes in my life can make me, upon hearing the word, see what I want to see and hear what I want to hear……and that may not always be a good thing. Clouded/biased judgment needs to be clarified.
Recently someone wrote something stupid on someone’s FB page——the immediate outpouring of support for this person was incredible. I mention that because THAT is what this movie was about. Steel Magnolias is about the absolute, caring, I-got-your-back, I-will-tell-you-what-you-need,-not-what-you-want-to-hear, and unconditional love among a group of friends. No matter what. That is the take away message of this film. Being there for each other, no matter what.
In addition to the incredible talent on the screen (too many brilliant moments to begin listing), the movie is worth the watch because the message is loud and clear. With close family and good friends, there is nothing that we cannot get through, even if that means learning to cope with what life gives us, rather than accepting it.
Diabetes can be present and it does not, necessarily, always have to be ABOUT diabetes. Sometimes we need to look a little bit further to get ‘beyond’ the diabetes…..even in just a film. Even in life.
I am a diabetes dad.
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