God love the people who support us

My very best friend and diabetes ally died on Tuesday of a pulmonary embolism. Everyone is thankful to me because they believe that I helped take care of him when he was sick, I helped him in understanding/exploring his bipolar disorder, and because I assisted him on getting medications 3 months before his death (it took 5 years of trying, LOL). But, no one understands how much he helped me. He understood diabetes better than any friend or family member that I ever had because he was interested and took the time to understand, and because he suffered, himself, with chronic illness that went undiagnosed for a very long time. He understood deeply, I believe, what it means to have no one understand the complexity and the struggle involved with managing chronic illness. He understood, deeply, the challenge of the human condition.

Water,

You were the best friend I ever had, Taras Procko, and a tall, cool drink of water. Thank you for telling me, again and again, that I was the toughest son of a ■■■■■ that you ever met when I was feeling particularly disabled. Thank you for pushing me to drive again, when I was ready, and driving me to every DMV within a one hour radius to get my license reinstated. Thank you for telling me that I could beat up any of the boys on the block and that they were all scared of me (and, I think, secretly threatening them behind the scenes, until no one bullied me). Everyone relied on your judgement, empathy, and humor, so much more than you ever understood.

You accomplished a lot. So much more than anybody who ridiculed you ever could. You were dealt a difficult hand. You were the toughest dude I ever met.

When you were sick, I put out fires. When I was sick, you put out fires. I don’t know what I will do without you.

Love,
The Honey Badger

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I’m so sorry for your loss. Sounds like an excellent friendship, you brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing to and for both of you!!!

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I saw a lot of angels at the funeral today. But, all the devils come out tonight. All the people who weren’t around. All the ones he supported, but didn’t trust. All the ones who called him for help, but weren’t around when he needed help. His anti-support group meets tonight in the backyard, around the fire, like the demons they were. They’ll be drunk, so they’ll be vulnerable. I haven’t decided if I will come out of the house. I have only been instructed to call the fire department if anything goes hideously wrong. If anything goes wrong, I’m coming out of the house with his handgun and running them off, like the cowards they were. I know that would please his mother.

I’m so sorry for your loss!

Last night, 10pm:

The demons asked his mother if a couple of them could go over and light a fire in the backyard, in commemoration of her son, that night after the funeral. Devils being what devils are, his mother fed me a hearty meal and asked me to drive over with a plate of sandwiches, just to put eyes on the place. Reluctantly, I did. I spotted the 30 person keg party from the street and drove slowly away to gather my thoughts.

I thought of three years ago - the last time my friend and I got pulled over, driving back late from the city. The officer had approached the car, cocky. He had just begun his shift and was pleased with his odds of issuing something expensive to this particular make and model. The white car with black tinted windows sparkled of nothing noteworthy to the (diabetic) honey badger riding shotgun. But, the badger did recall it once being parked so quickly on a curb near its den, that the badger bounced out of its seat when it impacted abruptly. A black man in his twenties, walking alongside, looked back startled and with a quick gasp, ducked down and scurried several sideways steps as if avoiding expectant gunfire. The driver laughed and exclaimed, “Someone doesn’t trust their friends!”

The honey badger was startled by the authoritative tone of the officer, “License and Registration?” Silence. The officer walked back to his car and returned. “How much have you had to drink tonight?” The driver slowly tilted his head forward, allowing his glasses to slide slightly down his nose. His upward, unwavering glance assaulted the officer with eye contact. “I haven’t had a drink in 12 years,” he said in tone twice as decided and cocky as anything the officer could offer. Instantaneously and almost apologetically, the officer forfeited the license and returned to his car. The badger felt the return of a delightful Friday wind in its fur as the car rapidly, and rightfully, accelerated back to its position on the road.

I felt a burning, but quivering rage from where I sat in my car, eyeing the keg party. I saw myself gripping the wheel of the car. I punched at the numbers on my phone and dialed my friends mother. I spoke frantically and confusedly, unable to claw thoughts out of words. I jumped from emotion to emotion, unable to find one that fit properly, each one heavily corrupted by fury and sadness. She spoke decidedly, using only the exact number of words that I could understand. The demons would be told. Words gradually accumulated meaning, although still vague and intangible. Meaning began to solidify into emotion.

I slammed the tires into the curb in front of my best friends house. My gait through the crunchy snow sounded like packing tape being ripped off an old box, again and again. I followed what was left of my footsteps from 7 days ago, although the length of my stride had doubled now. I saw the black paper-cut silhouettes of five demons stand out against the firelight and I strained to identify one that was just passing, close, without acknowledging me. It was drunk and unconcerned, head held high to project confidence. It was hoping to pass unencumbered. “Is that the best you could do for your friend, Sean? Throw a keg party?” I growled my homily and hoped it saw my teeth, but continued vivaciously towards the remaining mass of congregated silhouettes that had been slower to see my approach. When they saw me they further slowed their retreat.

Several silhouettes became one as they neared. They became one mass in the shadows, far from the light. They began their ritualistic catcall of insults and ceased their retreat. Their words hadn’t the power of sobriety, just the weak lyric nature of intemperance. Their hostile chorus floated in front of, behind me. Swaying forms smelled of weakness that solidified the last of uncertain emotions. Blood lust. The light flickered from the fire and shown a 12 pack of Coors Light, cradled in somethings hands. I knocked it from the hands and heard a hiss and saw a slight swaying of the figure in the dark. “Keep moving, demon,” I said with the authority of a god. I could not see the others in the dark, but I heard no movement. The light flickered again and I saw the sheen of cans on the ground. I kicked one and it flew impressively towards the road, then another, then another. Silence. Then, contact. Something had a hold of my head and I swung my fists manically. Contact. Something from behind screeched something not of this earth and had me from behind. It yelled, “You killed him,” and I swung with the confidence of a clean conscious. Something yelled its name and it swung me wildly around. My head flopped about without support. I landed on my back. I saw, and recognized a look of upset on one of its faces. I focused just long enough to recognize its face and memorize its look of horror. One of the creatures had fled and they were calling to it. My glasses were gone and I struggled to see movement in the dark. Something feebly handed me, one of my med tags that had been ripped off, and then it too ran away. I walked blindly, awkwardly, but triumphant, toward the road where the creatures had lept into a car. One yelled fragile insults. Another approached and had acquired a dark three dimensional form. “What are you?” I demanded and it squeaked back its nickname so piteously that when it approached, I did not react. It hugged me apologetically, “I’m sorry,” it said and then stood still, waiting for a hug in return. I gave it an indifferent hug and it patted me on the head. When it asked for a second hug, I turned furiously and walked away. Next I noticed the demons were gone.

Demons: 1,200 VS. Honey Badger: 1

I’m so sorry for your loss! It is great to have a true friend who even without diabetes, takes the time to really understand it and helps you out. I don’t know what I would do without my best friend who does the same for me. Sending my thoughts!!

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His struggles were more than mine.

Hi, @mohe0001. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was quite obviously very special to you.

He was a friend to diabetics everywhere. His mother grew up in a family where 7 out of 9 kids were type 1 diabetics. He always defended the diabetics when the non-diabetic siblings ganged up on them and judged them regarding the management of their health.

He once housed and cared for a newly diagnosed diabetic who was an EMT that I used to work with. He watched out for him through an eventual amputation and until shortly before that diabetic died. My community has suffered a substantial loss. There aren’t many people of that caliber who can do difficult caregiving.

He knew how to operate all of my devices and was the only person who regularly checked my Dexcom. He knew my dosages. He could recognize when I wasn’t right and would always bring me a snack. He regularly cooked me home cooked meals and made sure I wasn’t hungary. He told me I was the best diabetic he had ever met and that I was good at being a diabetic. I knew that if I was ever hospitalized, that he would get me out and let me recoop at his house. He challenged me to talk about my illness and explain it. He joked about my illness and we would laugh and laugh.

I feel very afraid about my ability to care for myself without him. I feel like I wont be able to accomplish the things that I otherwise could, as a diabetic and as a person. He was the best ‘street medic,’ I ever knew and did fantastic impressions of my mother.

This scene always reminds me of him.

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Well he does sound like a very special person. Thank you for sharing more about him. It’s easy to notice people in our lives that are thoughtless and inconsiderate and complicate our lives, and to take those that care for us for granted. This man sounds like someone who was a constant reminder that there are good people in the world. My husband had another reminder recently - someone dented his car at the airport and left a note when it would have been so easy to drive away. It’s nice to hear stories of the good ones.

The demons have, apparently, found this post and they don’t like it. Hehehehe. Poor demons. Demons like to stick to the shadows. Taras and I used to dance to this song.