published 17 September 2011
Making the rounds tucking the boys in Isaac held up his watch while setting the alarm he says, “Mom, did you know every 30 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes? So I’m setting my alarm and every 30 seconds I’m going to say ‘Welcome to my world’ ”.
And that’s how he fell asleep. Every 30 seconds a series of beeps followed by “welcome to my world” until a soft whisper slipped past his lips as he drifted off to sleep.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that every 7 seconds someone dies from diabetes. I know he’s aware of that possibility. It breaks my heart that that hangs over his head. It’s enough for him to internalize that every 30 seconds someone joins him in the world of diabetes. He doesn’t need to dwell on or morn any more devastation at the young and tender age of 8.
This morning still wrapped in sheets I lay in bed not ready to get up. It was Saturday, after all. I scrolled through the early tweets of the day putting off the inevitable. One in particular piercing my heart to the very core. Another young girl passed away during the night in her sleep from an undetected low. But she wasn’t just another child, she was another daughter (son), another sister (brother), another grandchild, another friend, another life.
It’s my biggest fear next to him developing complications in the long run. To awake and realize the unthinkable, the unmentionable.
I’m terrified that I’ll miss a low during the night. Which is the source of many sleepless nights. Monitoring, adjusting, checking, waiting, rechecking, worrying, researching. There are nights where I pour over diabetic blogs, medical websites or ingest the pages of books eating away hours of the night trying to understand, trying to overcome fear. Knowledge is power I believe. But most of all trying to beat this thing.
I’ve never been one to do guilt. Until now. I can’t even begin to tell you of the immensely overwhelming guilt I feel when I arouse from slumber thinking, “I feel too rested!” I jolt up glaring at the time realizing I slept through all of my alarms! Running to the kitchen to grab his meter to see if my husband checked him and turned off my alarms so that I could glean a little more sleep from the night. He is sweet like that.
And if we both slept through the alarm then the panic, the guilt, the terror washes over me dragging me out to depths that no parent should ever have to experience. Heading straight to his bedside while holding my breath with sinking thoughts of ‘what if’. With a small sigh of relief I stroke the hair from his forehead and kiss him. Returning to my bedroom that sinking feeling of ‘what if’ weighing me down with guilt only a parent could but shouldn’t have to understand.
My heart aches for the parents who loose their children to the on going battle of diabetes. My heart aches for the children who live with it every moment of every day.
My heart aches as I watch my son so valiantly stare diabetes in the face day in and day out. It ached as he welcomed each newly diagnosed individual to his world until he fell asleep. With each of his welcomes my heart too echoed a heart breaking “Welcome to my world.”
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