I was talking with a newly diagnosed Mom today. I was trying to help her through a rough moment in her day and give her a little comfort in knowing that yes this diabetic life is far from easy...but it most definitely will get "easier" as the days go by. As I was talking with her, it kind of occured to me that it really is sort of like a grieving process we all have to go through. Diagnosis day comes as a shock...it's like a slap in the face. It's a reality check that forces us to realize that we are not necessarily the ones in control. Things happen when we least expect them...curveballs are thrown our way and we have to decide how we will handle them. No matter what is thrown our way though, we always have choices.
When Emma was diagnosed, I thought and felt like it was the end of the world. I was in denial...I thought the doctors and nurses were all wrong. I thought that they had made a horrible mistake and I was actually figuring out ways in my head to prove to them how wrong they were. I was terrified, in shock, and left with zero confidence in my abilities as a Mom. My whole perspective changed...I looked at my own child and wondered how in the world I was going to be able to take care of her.
As time went on though, I found comfort in the routine. I grabbed ahold of each little victory and clung to them for dear life. I was gaining shreds of my confidence back. I knew that I would never ever get back to the point I was at before though. It was impossible now because things were different...and that version of myself would not have been able to manage this new life. I found myself angry a lot of the time. I was angry at the disease. I was angry at God for letting this happen to my little girl. I was angry at the horrid circumstances being dumped on our plate. It was unfair. I was jealous. I often wondered why us? Why could it not have happened to some other family instead? Why did it have to be my sweet perfect girl? It got to the point really where I could physically feel the anger and the hate taking over my spirit. I rarely smiled...I didn't enjoy life...I didn't laugh...I barely talked to anyone outside of my family. I lived that way for about a year honestly. I let the hate build up inside of me until it almost consumed me whole. Then one day I sat down at the computer and wrote a letter to diabetes. I poured my heart out in that letter. I let the hate go. It was a turning point for me really. I could feel the poisoned hateful angry buildup leaving and it made me feel lighter. When all was said and done, I sat there with the tracks of my tears drying on my cheeks and a smile on my face staring at the computer. It was the first time I had smiled in so long and it was the first time I actually felt happy since that first day.
I had begun to accept that this was in fact our life. It was never going to change. I was always going to have to live this way. I would never get a good night's sleep again. I would have to stick multiple needles into my daugter's body every single day. I would have to think outside of the box and get creative with figuring out how to make her childhood as normal as possible. I was seeing the light again. I got involved in fundraising and advocating for type 1 diabetics. I told our story. I reached out to people with the hope of giving and receiving comfort from them. I was feeling the bond from other D-Moms. I finally felt like we belonged. I was taking the time to enjoy the little things in life...the little moments that pass us by so quickly. I was laughing again...smiling again...and it felt good.
Here we are 3 1/2 years later and I would say that I have most definitely gone through the grieving process. I've mourned the loss of our former lives. I've made peace with the fact that we will never have things that way again, unless a cure is found. Yes, I do still have days where I struggle. I still have days where I hate diabetes and what it has done to us. I am still scared. I still worry. It still breaks my heart to hear of new members joining our diabetic family. I cry honest and heartfelt tears when I hear of another loss.
I do know though that we are all in this together. We are there to help each other. We are there to welcome a new family with open arms and whisper in their ear that it WILL be ok and tell them that they CAN do this. We are there to lean on one another...to help one another...to pick each other up when we have fallen to our knees in despair...to wrap our arms around each others shoulders and keep walking down this path. We are all at different points in our grieving process. We are all in this together. I for one am overwhelmed and beyond greatful for all of the support you have given me. I would be lost without every single one of you.