Today would have been my mother’s 66th birthday. I say “would have” because she died 3 years ago of ovarian cancer. In some ways it seems like yesterday. I’m sure those of you who have lost someone understand that feeling.

Mothers are funny things; funny-haha and funny-interesting. Who doesn’t have a complex relationship with her mom? As an adult, I developed a great relationship with my mother which is not to say that she didn’t drive me insane at times. Again, whose mother doesn’t drive her crazy at times?

I look at the group with mothers of diabetic children and read their posts with envy. My mother was not one of those mothers. It’s hard for me to say or even understand why. When I was diagnosed in 1976, I remember my first question of my mom as we left the doctor’s office for the hospital was, “Does this mean I’m going to die?” How awful that must have been for a terrified mom who didn’t deal well with illness. My dad was the one who got up in the middle of the night when we were sick. Seeing vomit merely induced vomiting in my mom. Having inherited this overly sensitive gag reflex, in adulthood I understand. As a child and as a young adult, I did not.

As a teen and young adult, I simply muddled through on my own. After all, I was smart and could manage on my own, right? As I’ve struggled in the past couple of years to actually cope (versus simply living badly) with having this thing called diabetes, I can’t help but wonder in a non-accusatory way, why weren’t the adults in my life more involved? Why did I feel like diabetes was mine alone to bear? Why was I unable to ask for help and support? Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t blame anyone; after all, I like the person I have grown to be. Certainly, having diabetes has somehow shaped me.

I’ve begun reaching out to friends and family, inviting them to take the me-with-diabetes for a test drive. The overwhelming response from my family has been surprise that I welcomed their interest. Having always been fiercely independent and private, they simply thought I didn’t need or want outward support. My fault, but I know that now. In many ways, it’s easier for me to deal with these things because my mom is no longer here. She would feel the guilt the rest of my family feels, but to the nth degree. And I would feel guilty because she felt guilty; and the circle would remain unbroken.

As an adult, my mom was my go-to gal. She played for my choirs. Even with complete hearing loss in one ear, her other ear was better than two on most people. She was my biggest supporter and a walking musical encyclopedia as I followed her career path. Just writing these words, I am struck wondering why she wasn’t that person in relationship to my diabetes…The answer, of course, is that we both changed, grew and our paths just didn’t cross until later. I will always wonder if I had come to this point in my acceptance of diabetes sooner, if I had invited her in, explained to her, would she have gone through that door?

She would have tried.

I lost my dad to live cancer in Jan. 2005. He too had diabetes (type 2), though he was able to control his BG’s through diet mostly.

I still miss him sorely to this day…

Kimberly, Happy Belated Birthday to your mom. You DO write beautifully! I hope you don’t mind a long post adding my thoughts.

I can’t help but think that it may be through your mother’s trying (in absentia) that you have recently come to different terms with your diabetes. As you said, you wouldn’t be the same person without diabetes, and you certainly wouldn’t be the same person without your mom’s careful tending. I believe that sometimes the hardest part about parenting is knowing when to let a child explore on her own. My husband thinks that my parents were remiss in their approach to raising a diabetic (they “let” me do it all on my own), but I think that they gifted me the independence that today I am so proud of. Of course, that can still be irritating. When I wanted to show them my pump and everything about it, my mom feigned indifference and my dad announced that he thought I would charge admission to watch my site changes if I could. However, when I think about who they are, I realize that they are just protecting themselves. My mom was the one who insisted that I did not just need salt tablets and bed rest when she took me to the doctor shortly before I was dx’d, and my dad was the one who couldn’t hold back the tears when he rushed from work to the hospital and got the news. They both pushed me to go on that 8th grade summer trip to Spain less than a year later, even though they knew it was stretching their finances and my ability to go it alone. If they did not teach me to eat a proper “diabetic diet”, they taught me that I could do whatever I was willing to put effort into, and today that includes being a healthy diabetic! Would I do things differently if my child were diabetic? No doubt, yes! However, I’m not sure that it would be better in the end.

My guess is that your mom was always at the window, and has always known that the invitation to come in would come. She also knew that some things must wait. I’ll bet that she can now enter easily with the knowledge that you understand.

How is school going? And does pumping fit in easily? As usual, I keep putting off the number crunching! Still, I am loving it, and will get it right in time!


Do you want to see the other side of the spectrum?

I am not diabetic, but my son who is now 22 yrs old is type 1.

My mom (who is now 82 yrs old) never was involved in anything I did and it was obvious I was her least favorite. I grew up in a very negative home. With that being said, I happily left my hometown and had two handsome boys. My oldest was dxd at the age of 9 yrs old. The biggest shock of my life. I was determined to NEVER be like my mother and I did everything to be there for my son to make sure he lives a long, healthy as possible life. We went through very hard times as no matter how hard we tried his A1C’s were always high. Turned out he is not the norm A1C read…complicated to explain, but it will never be a good A1C. Anyway, we had a doctor accusing him of all sorts of stuff. I had to put a 24 hr monitor on him and everything. Ok, going off the track…
To shorten this, what I am trying to say is that I have done everything to support him, but when he turned into a young adult & started driving, I lost all control and he doesn’t care about his control of his diabetes like I tried to teach him. I would die for him, I would take this disease for him, but he felt that I was overbearing, and it was no big deal. All I wanted for him was to care about his well being for his life, his future and he just does enough to get by. It was hard to know when to pull back and let him learn on his own and when to help. But I feel bad for you and couldn’t imagine going at it on your own because he had some very hard times even with me there with him. I feel so bad for you. It hurts me to know you must have been so lonely at times. I myself used to go outside (so he wouldn’t see me) and blurt out crying because I couldn’t stand to see what my child had to go through. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t appreciate that he has a mother that cares so much about him and he takes it for granted and still doesn’t care about his diabetes and what he is doing to his body by not caring. So did I do more harm than good by caring too much? That is the question.