Awareness of the Need for Support

When my neighbor's husband died suddenly a couple of weeks ago her driveway filled with cars.  The florist truck was on autopilot to her address.  People arrived carrying trays of food.  Her mailbox was full of cards.

As I pulled in my driveway this morning after school drop-off, she was leaving her house alone, headed for a day of work.

When my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes during Christmas week 2002, we were surrounded by support.  By the time we'd returned home from the hospital,  Santa and his helpers had filled our living room with toys.  There were cards and phone calls from afar.  Relatives and local friends brought us food and kept us company as we adjusted to this new and challenging way of life.

When my daughter called from the nurses office because she was low, again, last Friday, nobody was around to offer a hug.

My neighbor's grief has not gone away because three weeks have passed.  Similarly, our family's need for support has not gone away because nearly thirteen years have passed.  Both have become less visible, and less urgent.  But we'd be much better off not traveling this road alone.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Grateful that raising awareness is not up to me alone, I intend to narrow my focus down to just a few avenues of awareness-raising.  One area I've struggled with over the years is being open with even our closest friends about what living with this disease is really, really like.

Therefore, my personal goal for this November is to be just a little bit more candid about the frustrating, scary, and painful parts of having a child with diabetes.  Maybe just once when I meet up with a friend and she asks how I am, I'll go ahead and share that I was up half the night treating low blood sugars.  Or maybe I'll one-up a story of a cantankerous teenager with a description of what happened when I attempted to engage my child with a 300+ blood sugar in conversation yesterday afternoon.  Maybe, given the opportunity, I'll even share that there are aspects of having a kid with diabetes which terrify me.

Friends and family are no longer at our door offering hugs and asking how they can help.  The major crisis has long passed.  We appear to be doing just fine: good grades, extracurricular activities, nice friends, weekend adventures.  But it's my goal this month to raise awareness among those who care most about us that it's not all rainbows and unicorns.  That we still need their support.

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