Thursday, March 17, 2011
I apologize for not posting anything for a couple of weeks. Life happened and things have been crazy. Ironically, the day of my last post, (the irony is in the content of that post) a good friend of mine suffered a silent heart attack and passed quietly from all of our lives. It was such a shock to me. We've been friends for years, and had fought the same battle against Type 1 diabetes.
She was the one who talked me into seeing a wonderful diabetic specialist in Idaho Falls years ago. Since she just lived down the street from me at the time, we began traveling back and forth together, teaming up to wage war against the dreaded illness that threatened to take over our lives. We refused to let it, and we proved it by forming a local diabetic support group for all of those brave souls who were fighting a similar battle in our county.
We were also called upon to run booths at the health fairs sponsored by our local hospital for several years. And I've lost count of how many newly diagnosed diabetics we visited in our quest to offer hope and courage to those who felt like their lives had been turned upside down.
In short, this good friend and I shared a bond that ran fairly deep. We understood how "fun" the tight-rope of diabetes could be on occasion. We laughed over things no one else understood as we defied the odds on a regular basis.
Eventually this good friend of mine moved 30 miles away, but we still teamed up for various things like our support group meetings, the health fairs, etc. We kept in touch through phone calls, Christmas cards, and ran into each other on occasion at the varying stores in town.
I didn't realize when I ran into her a couple of months ago, it would be my final chance to visit with her in mortal mode. When the phone call came the day of her heart attack, I was unprepared to say goodbye. And a few days later when her body was unhooked from life support, it was like a bomb had gone off in my life.
I was asked to give the opening prayer at her funeral, and I struggled to pull things together to do so. For days it seemed like all I did was cry. With the passage of time it gets easier to breathe, but this has been a loss that has cut deep.
The past few days I've watched in a daze as Japan reels from the mayhem of a horrible disaster. I see the images of destruction and I sit in shock, wondering how these brave survivors will ever rebuild. But in my heart, I know they will. In time, these industrious people will rise above this tremendous challenge and they will learn to go on, despite the pain they will carry inside. So much has been lost, and yet with each new day, hope lives on.
That is what most of us try to do when challenges overwhelm. Eventually, we start picking up the pieces in an attempt to put things back together. We dig out from under the tidal wave of grief to go on. I've been challenged to get back into writing, and it's helping. Writing has always been a comforting balm for me--it was part of what helped me survive my father's suicide years ago.
The other day I wrote a poem I'll probably never let anyone see, but it helped to release some of the heartache. I will find other ways to dig out and one day I will smile again and actually mean it. Until then, I will take life one day at a time as I continue to carry the torch Denise has passed on to me.