It's definitely a night for reflecting. Tomorrow we will be participating in our 4th Walk for a cure. It hurts my heart to hear that number...4....4 times we have done this...and are still doing it...and there's still not a cure. 4 times of doing our best to raise money, educate, advocate, and participate. I decided long ago that I would do everything in my power to not let this disease win. I just don't have it in me to sit idly by and not do something. I have to stand up...I have to shout it out loud...I have to make our voices heard...and I have to walk. I remember our first Walk. It was my husband's birthday and he had to work...so it was just Emma and I walking with my father in law, brother in law, his wife, and my nephew. We didn't have any t-shirts or teams...it was just us....walking out in the sunshine...surrounded by a sea of people who live the same life we do. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't think it would turn out to be anything overly special honestly. I didn't think that it was really about anything other than raising money and awareness. Little did I know that it would affect me the way that it did though. I remember walking and choking back tears. This was who we were now....this was our life...we were part of this amazing group of people...we were one.
Here we are 4 years later, and it still astounds me how emotional I get. I walk beside my girl....my extra sweet insulin-challenged girl...and I see how she is growing up before my very eyes. She is not that little 4 year old girl anymore...crying over injections...angry over having to stop for a BG check. She is not that little 4 year old girl with bouncy little pigtails and chubby little cheeks. She is 8 now....my 8 year old daughter...and she is wise beyond her years. She now wears an insulin pump. She can work the buttons on that thing to bolus herself faster than anybody. She knows her body better...she is becoming more and more in tune with it and I can now rely on her more to tell me when she is low...when she's not feeling well...when something feels off. She still sometimes has those pigtails...but they now have pink streaks in them. She no longer has those chubby 4 year old cheeks anymore....but the dimples are still there...the dimples she gets from her Daddy. She is growing up right in front of me....and she is owning this life...she is owning this disease...she is still matching me step for step and keeping pace with me on this journey.
The Walk is symbolic of that journey for me...maybe for others too...we walk...in the rain, the sunshine, the wind, and the cold. We walk in teams....but really we are all walking as one. We walk over roads, sidewalks, and dirt paths filled with puddles. We walk arm in arm, smiling through tears, sharing our stories, making friends, and giving comfort. We walk because we must. We walk because we can. We walk for those that are no longer here to walk anymore. We walk for those that were taken from this path too soon. We walk for our families, our friends, and for strangers we have never met...and yet are still bonded to in the midst of it all. We walk for them all.
I will pick up my feet and put them down...step by step...on and on tomorrow...until we reach that finish line...that symbolic finish line. I will be walking for all of you...my D-Mom and D-Dad friends. I will be walking for my T1 friends and for Emma's T1 friends. I will be walking for that Mom who lost her child in the night to this awful disease. I will be walking for her. I will be walking for the Grandparents who wish that they could take this away from their grandchildren every single day. I will be walking for those that are struggling with every aspect of this disease...teenagers pretending like they don't have it because they don't want to be different. I will be walking for those babies that will never remember a life before diabetes. I will be walking for the often forgotten and misrepresented grown up T1's...all of our T1 kiddos will grow up to join their group someday. I will be walking for all of these people and more. I will be walking for my daughter....my extra sweet insulin-challenged daughter...my baby girl...my heart, my soul, my reason for breathing, the love of my life, forever and always....I will be walking for her....and I will continue to walk until I have no more breath in me to take another step...and my heart no longer beats. I will walk for her...always.