First off, I think I need to offer up a big apology to Reyna for posting pictures of half-naked men on her Facebook wall. I was trying to offer up a little eye-candy, but I think I verged into the annoying. Sorry!
Every now and then, I find myself in different stages of a cycle. I'm guessing other d-moms go through this cycle too, with some variation. You know the one where you see all those things that diabetes has stolen from your child's life, from your family, from you. The peace-of-mind, the ease and carefree-ness of day-to-day life. And then, at another point in the cycle, you see all the moments you wouldn't have had if it hadn't been for the entrance of diabetes. The instantaneous same-connection that you get with other families who deal with diabetes. For me, I've found myself focusing on those sweet moments that I get. You know the ones where you sneak into your d-child's room in the middle of the night to poke a tiny finger and squeeze out an itty-bitty drop of blood. You hope that your child's sleep won't be disturbed, but every now and then, they wake up just enough to whisper, "I love you, mom" as you sneak back out of the room. Those stolen moments and the stolen kisses and cuddles that I get with Lily are ones that wouldn't have happened if it weren't for diabetes. It's stolen a great deal from the carefree-ness that could have been, it's made me worry more. It's made the low points that much lower. But....it also makes those high points, those sweet little moments, glitter like diamonds and twinkle like the brightest stars in the sky. Those are the moments I live for and for those moments alone, I will accept diabetes into our lives and continue on with a happy heart.
That being said, I have a different kind of thief who has been weighing on my mind lately. One I'm particularly terrified of because I know that the chances are in its favor for it eventually striking my family. In fact, it's already struck us twice. My paternal grandmother and my maternal grandmother. In 1999, not long before I graduated from our local community college, I visited my paternal grandmother as she lay taking her last breathes. She'd been in a nursing home for a handful of years. My Grandma Avis grew up in the Ozarks and as she grew older and Alzheimer's crept into her brain, she reverted back to what she knew growing up. She started starving herself. If there was any pepper on her food, she thought it was bugs. If you gave her a bowl of Rice Krispies, she thought they were maggots. It was heartbreaking to see. If you've followed my blog for the last couple of months, you've probably seen the picture of my maternal grandma, Grandma Lilly, just after the Fourth of July. Grandma Lilly is in a nursing home, unable to walk, unable to talk. Alzheimer's has stolen her speech and her mobility.
Last night, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, we happened to see our neighbor's dog, Jackie, racing across our yard. Jackie is a feisty little white-with-black-spots dog. She barks a lot, but she's actually really friendly. Leo adores animals. So I took him out to help chase Jackie down. Jackie's owners, Sue and Alan, are elderly. They've had quite a life. They have two teenage grand-daughters that they've raised since the girls were small. Their daughter was the victim of a homicide by her husband. The girls' father is serving a life-sentence without the possibility of parole. That's as much as I know of the situation and I don't dare ask for more. It's extremely painful for them to talk about, for good reason, and honestly, I can't see how knowing anymore details would be of any benefit to me. The girls, thankfully, are nearly grown. They've had some rough spots and life has not been easy for them or their grandparents. As neighbors, we've been friendly with them to an extent, but....not as much as I feel we should have been. We've known for some time that Alan hasn't been doing well. He's been forgetful and disoriented. Yesterday, as we were helping chase the dog down and returning her to Sue, she confided that she's finally had to place Alan in a nursing home. It was heartbreaking to hear and I feel so inadequate right now even talking about it. I wish there was something more I could do and I'm searching my mind, trying to find a way to reach out and offer comfort to my neighbor. As I sat there, watching Leo pet Jackie and listening to Sue's broken voice as she talked about what Alzheimer's has stolen from her. Her best friend is no longer there. The person she married, her mate in raising children and grandchildren, in making a home, has been stolen from her.
I can see the "good" in what diabetes has done to my family, to me and to Lily. But this is a different kind of thief. Alzheimer's and what it does can't be twisted into something positive. It steals and leaves nothing but a shell of a person behind. It takes a lifetime of memories away. I can't figure out how to bring something good out of it. I could bake a cake or cookies, send over a casserole....but it's just not enough. If anyone has any ideas on how to make something good of this for my neighbor, please let me know what they are. I'm at a loss and I really would like to do something, anything to help ease some of her pain and grief. If nothing else, please keep her and her family in your prayers.
Confession for the night.....I HATE the squeeze! You all know what I'm talking about. When you poke a finger and squeeze and squeeze, trying to get the blood out. I hate it! I would rather be poked fifteen times in each finger than to have one finger squeezed like that. It hurts!