Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I may have never met this girl before...but I knew her better than she'd ever know.

We walk by hundreds of people a day. Walk by them and don’t give them a thought. Their lives are a complicated woven web of facts and information, feelings and experiences. But once in awhile, we stop and notice someone. We look up from our hectic crazy life and SEE someone. And they touch your heart.

I had such an experience last Friday at a Wendy’s of all places.

After I had picked up J from camp, we were not able to return home for an hour as a realtor was showing our house to some clients.

So we went to the corner Wendy’s for a long chat about his experiences at camp. But before we even had a chance to sit down at our table…I saw her.

A beautiful young blond girl with the tell tale black blood sugar monitor case sitting beside her.

I knew it the instant I saw her. I knew what that case was. I knew that she was Type 1.

She was with her grandmother, and there was a sort of desperation in her Grandmothers voice as she fiddled with her cell phone and told the young girl that she would try another number.

“I’m pretty sure you should give yourself 2 units…but I want to be sure. I’ll try this number.”

The pretty young girl sat quietly gingerly eating fries as she patiently waited for her grandmother to get hold of her parents.

(Fair warning, I am a wicked eavesdropper...)

Once the grandmother got a parent she told them she was 62, and wanted to make sure the best course of action. The grandmother was frazzled…worried. The girl was cool as a cucumber. Patiently waiting.

There was a air about her...an air of maturity. She wasn't snobby by any means...it was just her calm demeanor told me she was wise beyond her years. I guessed she wasn't recently diagnosed. I have seen children carry themselves the same way before...in fact I had one of those children sitting right in front of me at the time.

Once information was transferred from parents to grandmother to girl...they ate and spoke. J checked his own blood sugar and left his black case on the table next to him. He hadn’t seen the girl.

We were two feet away from each other. I kept looking from her monitor to his. I tried really hard to focus on J. I had missed him so much this week and wanted to know of all his adventures…but there was another blood sugar monitor right there…I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

All I could think of was Jessica’s post.


I kept thinking it.


This little girl held a place in my heart, I knew nothing of her life…I didn’t even know her name…

But none the less…”Same.”

J and I had finished, and I just couldn’t walk away.

I walked up to her and said in probably the lamest way possible, “So you belong to the type 1 club too?”

The quiet girl smiled a wide grin, “Yes I do.”

She started talking a mile a minute. She saw our dog and wanted to know everything about him. I found out she was from Hawaii, visiting her grandmother. She was 11, diagnosed at 18 months old. She was on lantus and humalog…and was nervous to start a pump.

J told her it would change her life. That she would feel more in control of her own body. I watched him encouraging this girl, and I was so proud of him. He was confident with his pump. He truly wanted her to take the leap. He has lived before and after. It was a so surreal to watch him…he was so sure about what he was telling her.

“No pressure or anything,” he said, “just for me, it’s awesome.”

We said our goodbyes and walked away.

I’m sure I walked by 12 other people as we walked out of Wendy’s. Each living a complicated life…each with their own story to tell…but I didn’t give any of them a second look. My mind was still on the young girl. Her life wasn’t a mystery to me. I knew her the second I laid eyes on her.

She was the same.


  1. Ok, BAWLING here! Because I KNOW. Same. Yes, how important it is to feel that. That's why I love you all, my extended family! To everyone else, we are different. We are complicated. But to all of you - we are "same". There's nothing sweeter!
    Love to you!
    (I'm a wicked eavesdropper, too!)

  2. I am with you on the eavesdropping! I LOVE that "same" feeling! Thanks for putting me in tears! J. is amazing for telling her all about the pump!

  3. Awesome. An experience neither you or I bet that girl will soon (if ever) forget. It's nice to meet club members. :)

  4. the connection that we make with other type 1's is so strong it's scary sometimes. total strangers yet you feel sooooo understood.

  5. I love it! Not that someone else has T1 but the fact that it is so neat to "feel" that connection with someone you have never met. To look at that girl and think, "I know how your mom has felt all those nights she checks you at night and has had to give you juice or yogurt." I know. It's powerful. Very neat.

  6. Oh someone else in the club. It was wonderful of you to make a connection to her Meri. And to J too, making his mom so proud.
    All you D-Mommas out there.

  7. Wow--
    I went and read that "same" story on the other blog. . .what a moving image. . .

    I also imagine you a step away from just taking the phone from worried, stressed Grandma like a T1 Superhero and saying, "Don't worry, Grannie...I can handle it!"


  8. Haha MaRia...that's exactly where I thought the story was going!

    I love the instant connection I feel with all you D-friends too. It's amazing when someone else puts into words how you are feeling, and sometimes you didn't even have words for it yourself. Great to have that SAME feeling. (Our kids get it too...not often enough for us yet though.)

  9. Wow. I have only been in a situation like that I think once. I also couldn't stop staring but I didn't have the guts to go talk to the person. It's definitely a unique situation!

  10. Meri, you always make me laugh or cry and I am sitting here bawling right now. What a sweet experience and how cute is J telling her all about the pump?!
    I know I've told you before, but you are a great writer. I love reading your posts!

  11. you can learn alot by eavesdropping .

  12. Read this last night before bed and shed a few tears Meri. J is very sweet. I love how he made sure not make her feel any pressure to get a pump and just said it really worked for him..what a smart & sensitive guy. I know I will always feel a sense of immediate connection even to strangers I meet who have T1 - adult or child. Thanks for sharing this story..

  13. You're just trying to make me cry, right? It worked. - Mo

  14. I know that feeling - same. It happens every time I see the tell-tale green/blue/pink camo bag slung over the shoulder of a young child. My children (two of my four sons have T1D) feel it as well. "Look Mum! She has diabetes too." I am happy for my boys because they make a connection that makes them feel a little less different, but I cry a little bit inside because I KNOW. Same. Thank you Meri!

  15. That was beautiful Meri.

    I imagine that I would have felt that same pull, being drawn into their conversation and wanting to join them at their table and tell them, "we belong to the same club my friend, I understand."

    Same, I love it!

  16. SAME! I love that you decided to talk to the girl. I'm sure it meant as much to her as it did to you!

  17. Diabetes. It's a club.

    Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own diabetes, and even seeing some pump tubing hanging out of someone's pocket makes me think "same" and "I'm not alone."

    The best thing in life is to not be alone. :-)

    Beautifully written.

  18. That was beautiful Meri! Being new to this D world it means so much to me when we meet another D family. Good for you for reaching out and talking to her.

  19. Oh man.... tears are rolling. Thanks for sharing this Meri. Brian and I experienced a similar feeling when we saw a mini med pump on the girl walking in front of us at the zoo while we were on vacation. She was about 10 or 11. SAME!

  20. Same -- diabetes definitely gives us that intense, immediate connection. I LOVE how J talked to her!!! What a GREAT kid he is!!! Be proud!!!


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