I was sitting on my porch rocking in my chair when I turned and saw diabetes beside me.
I thought it would be uglier than it was.
It had tired eyes like me. You could see the history all over its face. It was looking far out into the distance, as if trying to look past what was in front of it. Its stare was steady and patient…you could see it’s been through a lot.
It looked more like me than I care to admit.
It took me a less than a minute to realize my hate was misplaced.
So many years of cursing diabetes. So many years of wishing I didn’t know what it was. And here I was looking it in the face and I realizing I never really knew it at all.
It was innocent like me. It didn’t push its way into our lives. It wasn’t a monster like cancer that inches its way in and grows like infectious weeds. My sons’ immune systems made its very existence so. Our relationship was the result of autoimmune misfiring, and as such, my anger has been wasted lo this many year.
Diabetes did not choose us. Diabetes didn’t knock down the walls of our fragile naïve existence…it too is a pawn in this autoimmune game.
I realized I’ve been battling not the enemy, but another victim in all of this. Yes, all the drama and work that comes with diabetes is exhausting and heartbreaking to say the least. But the truth is, my sons’ bodies fought against themselves…attacked themselves…and as a result, diabetes was thrown into our lives just as much as we were thrown into its.
I can see that it's not there to destroy us; it's only doing what must be done. No insulin means no metabolizing sugars. It couldn’t bring back those insulin producing cells once they've died.
And it became clear that it was time I came to terms with the fact that neither could I. If only tears and sheer willpower could do such things. If only true love and sacrifice could provide such miracles.
But for whatever reason, it just isn’t so. And as much as I wanted to hate diabetes in that moment, I knew I did not.
I hated that it had to happen…that it did happen. But there is no going back in time. Diabetes was my constant companion whether I wanted it there or not. Fighting that figure sitting next to me seemed fruitless at best.
In fact I did something in that moment that for the life of me, I never thought I’d do.
I reached out my hand.
And Diabetes took it, without hesitation.
And the peace was indescribable. Because after all of these years, I understood that my anger really was about it all happening in the first place. Now that its happened…now that diabetes has come, it makes sense to let it in…and sit with it for awhile.
Like the old friend it is.
Because really, we're in this together.
It’s obvious that all these years of anger over something that I can’t control has been completely fruitless. Instead of viewing all this as a battle…maybe it should be seen as…just life? Just the way it is? Our story?
I feel like for the past fifteen years I’ve been throwing punches at the wind, tiring myself, and building up anger and exhaustion that just doesn’t need to be.
This whole time, all I had to do was look up, and accept the old friend that was sitting next to me. It’s here for the long haul, and I think it’s high time I offered it some lemonade.
Cheers diabetes. I get it now.
I’m going to work with you, rather than against you.
Maybe then, we’ll all get a little more sleep.
And if we’re lucky…a little more peace too.