epiphany / iᴵpif ǝ ni/ n. pl – nies 1. a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something 2. an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking.
A shining forth
In the summer writing classes I teach at a local university, I talk to the students of there being two epiphanies in storytelling. There is the one most people think of when you ask, which comes at the climax of the story when the characters must decide how to deal with whatever force is working against them. This is the point where we, the audience, are most riveted, as the suspense surrounding the character’s fate is at its most intense.
The second epiphany, which the author James Joyce pointed out and actually comes much earlier in the story, is the moment in which, through sensual detail, the deepest yearning of the main character becomes apparent. It is, to relate it in non-storybook terms, that moment when we suddenly realize that things aren’t exactly as they appeared and we’re brought to a change of heart.
It comes not without some effort, though. You mull and turn it over, you allude to it, catch a glimpse of it at the edge of your mind’s eye. Then you see it and the object falls into focus, and with it comes a deeper understanding. Of work, of one another. Of happiness. How we live and who we are. A catalogue, were it written, according to Joyce, of our most delicate and evanescent moments.
Diabetes can be like that, I think. The outlines are a little bit fuzzy, the colors washed-out, too many of the puzzle pieces are missing to form a wholly complete, perfect picture. The aha! moments, when they arrive, help us mostly to be better caregivers, but sometimes they come and you realize just how alone you are; but even those times are good, too, as you know beyond a shadow of doubt that doing better is up to you.
Because writers are meant to record, I offer here just a short list of D-epiphanies I’ve experienced in terms of treating Lia’s diabetes in this first year and a half. Some you may recognize from previous posts. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
- Doctors are there to keep patients alive. Anything more than that’s up to you.
- Passion is great. But don’t confuse passion with need. Before turning your attention to curing the disease, spend time learning to treat it.
- Shots hurt. That’s why they’re called shots, dummy. It’s stupid to think that anyone can ever get used to them.
- Most adults, no matter how many times you tell them a thing, hear what they want to hear.
- Food can be our enemy.
- Sometimes the road less envied produces the more spectacular journey.
- Community. Community. Community.
- How you do everything is how you do anything.
- It is the experience of our hands that we learn from.
- There is no bad mood that putting on your pajamas and taking a walk can’t fix.