So, seven days, seven things to write about what I’ve discovered is one annoying, rude, sometimes laughable, non-discriminatory disease; and what do I have to show for this most opportunistic effort? Well, plenty.
First, to those who do this every day of the week, I commend you. Because I’m a writer I had some inkling of how difficult it might be to write every day about your lives and diabetes, but I underestimated your compassion, your drive and the regard you must have for this community to share your stories day in and day out. You are really superheroes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Second, I may bitch and moan and sob, like plenty of others out here in the blogging community, about diabetes and the effect it has on our family, but there is nothing like putting all that into perspective by taking a stroll around the block in someone else’s narrative shoes. Truly illuminating.
Third, it doesn’t take long when you spend time together sharing so much about something so personal as type 1 diabetes to realize there are shades of differences in to what degree it’s accepted, differences in the treatment, in the worry and sometimes the hopelessness of it all, and through these subtle — and some not so subtle — nuances you learn a certain tolerance for others and because of your own experience you are reminded time and time again of that most notable of kindergarten teachings: treat others the way you want to be treated.
Fourth, there is incredible strength in numbers. History is full of examples (see Blogger). One day someone will write that type 1 diabetes, though afflicting only a small percent of the population (but rising), was cured because those living with the disease believed so strongly in fighting for it.
Fifth, they say it takes a village to raise a child and while that may or may not be the case, what certainly stands up to any debate is the unparalleled courage it takes for a child with diabetes to grow into a healthy, caring, contributing adult. To those adults of this community, we look to you to set the example. Thank you for not letting us down.
Sixth, there is a way of life attributed to Ernest Hemingway’s characters and style of writing that comes to mind whenever I think of Lia, her d-peers and their parents, adults T1s and everyone else so deftly managing their diabetes: Grace under pressure. Poise. Grit. Guts. Whatever you’d like to call it. It is, for me, the quality that best sums up the nature of those I’ve read of and about these last seven days. You are old men in the sea in my book, and I mean that as a compliment.
Now for lucky number seven, and it is lucky — and fortunate — because without it diabetes would just be an incurable, life-threatening disease void of possibility and hope. It is the steadfast belief that better is not just a word that people who don’t understand diabetes use to show how much they care but an unquestionable certainty, defined not by numbers, technologies, or even by a cure, but in the wisdom, dream and the purpose by which we live our lives, without pain, without fear, without envy.
From the poet, Alexander Pope, who brought us the line, Hope springs eternal:
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly, and rudely great:
That is those who live with diabetes: finding respect in their neighbors, sharing fresh perspectives, learning through tolerance that strength is as much about one another as it is about ourselves, and discovering that courage and grace may carry us through the valley, but it is hope that moves the mountain.
What a wonderful world after all.