Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Mom and Dad, THANK YOU (Inspired By All the Parents In D-Blog Land)

Dear Mom and Dad -

I don't think I ever said it before, but THANK- YOU so much for taking care of me; Debbie, and Donna.

God give you 6 kids and 3 girls with Type 1 Diabetes

I don't know how you did it.

How did you take care of us all those years ago, before the technology and research?
Before the open forum of communication on the net and the freedom of carb counting and insulin pumps?

Back in the days when urine testing required fizzy pills and glass tubes, a clumsy and and inaccurate way that was used to measure our sugars way back when...Until Blood Sugar machines the size & weight of a brick came about.
These antiquated "machines" took 5 minutes to calibrate and another 5 minutes to measure our glucose. They were far from portable, required metal lancets that hurt like a bitch, and God only knows how accurate they really were. They were also VERY expensive. You bought one with money that we didn't have so that we could gain control. Instead of thanking you, I bitched about it.
I wanted to be NORMAL & fought you tooth and nail. I'm so sorry.

I don't ever remember you crying when I was diagnosed. I know you did, but you kept your tears behind closed doors and in the dark. You always entered my hospital room with a smiling face and a bunch of new "Romona" books for me to read.

I just did the Diabetes math. I was 8 at my diagnoses, Donna & Debbie we're both 12.
Donna is 20 years older than me and Debbie was 14 years older.

So, if I've got the math down correctly, 1st came Donna at the age of 12. When she was 18, Debbie was diagnosed at the age of 12.

Which means you had 6 years before 1 Diabetic daughter became 2.

You had 10 years before 2 Diabetic daughters became 3.

Donna had married and moved out four years earlier by the time of my diagnoses.
Your daily diabetes family life was just getting easier when I joined the Club of D. 
 It must have been so hard for you to handle...And even harder for you to hear.

Mom and Dad, I'm so sorry that my diagnoses hurt you, and for what all our combined diabetes has put you both through.

You never let us feel sorry for ourselves. I never grew up with a hatred of diabetes. Though deep in my heart, I hated what it did to you. I think it really helped when dad sat me down long ago in my hospital room and said; "Kelly it is what it is, do what you have to." And I did... for the most part.
Daddy knew from experience, because he was a T1 as well.

Mom, you posted the ADA diet on our kitchen wall, right behind my seat at the kitchen table.
You measures portions fanatically, right down to the grape. You'd dole out 12 grapes for my snack. 
 I'd give them back and say in a venomous "Keep Em! Who can eat 12 grapes?!" But you were just doing your job and never wavered. I never experienced chicken with the skin on it until I was 21, and to this day, I've never had a class of OJ that was more than 1/4 of a cup.
I don't even drink juice anymore.

Dad, you body surfed and swam in the ocean every summer, and you shared your love of all water sports with me. Together we became part of the waves, while maintaining good numbers.
You rode your bike every morning, and when you passed by my bus stop Freshman year, I was embarrassed instead of proud. I'd give anything to see you peddle your bike one more time. I'm sorry.
You and mom took long walks every evening with the dog and you always said exercise was the key.

You were meticulous, bordering on the insane, about what you put in your body.

A militant soldier when it came to food. Only skim milk, fruit, and eating only whole grain bread before it became the rage. While I longed for "Wonder Bread," you put the kibosh white bread of any kind. I thought you were mean, but you were smart because you still let us enjoy ice cream.

Diabetes took so much from you both, most namely your daughter Debbie.
Daddy, you never recovered from her loss. Every time you spoke of her death, I heard sadness and anger all mixed together. It broke a part of you that all my jokes couldn't fix.

Mom, you cared for her (for all of us,) with such gusto that you're heart literally started to skip beats.
The scariest moment of my life was when you and Debbie were both in separate hospitals.
I came home from school to an answering machine full of voice mail that told me nothing and everything.
I knew one of you had gone to heaven and I was so scared it was you. I felt so guilty (yet relieved, because I still had a mom) when I heard it was her.

What got me thinking about what you both did for me?

All the parents of Diabetics kids whose blogs I read. I hear what they go through everyday and I immediately think of you both. They tell me what you wouldn't.

Parents of children with diabetes are a different breed entirely.

They are strong, keeping a smile on their face when they take care of their kids, even when they feel like crying out in pain.
These parents have the strength to say "no" to their kids, even when every fiber of their soul wants to say yes to them.
Strong enough to take their kids blood in the middle of the night, insert infusion sets that make their babies cry, give-up gluten with a smile that never seems forced, and count carbs until it becomes second nature to everyone in the family.
Strong enough to allow their children to participate in their diabetes so they can "own it," own their own.

These moms and dads have the fortitude to let their diabetic children grow to become independent young adults. Even when they know that independence means that their kids will make conscience mistakes in order to fit in.

Diabetic parents hate the disease, but are strong enough to not let their kids hate it, because if they did, their children would never learn to accept and love themselves.

To every parent in D-blog land, THANK-YOU. I know when your kids are old enough, they will tell you themselves, and they will have meant from the bottom of their hearts.

To my parents, THANK YOU. I wouldn't be here today if you hadn't worked so hard to keep me healthy.

You taught me to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move forward. I hope I'm making you proud.

Love You Both!


Shannon said...

Wow. What a powerful post. Your parents are awesomely incredible. Three children with T1 and the death of one of them. I can't imagine. They are the strongest people I know. An excellent example to follow.

I love what they taught you. It made an impression on you and that is the least I hope for with my own son with the things I do for him.

Thank you for posting this. I'm having a good cry now :)

k2 said...

Shannon -
Your a great mom Shannon and I know that one day your son will thank-you.
My parents suffered and were not calm pople by nature. But with diabetes, they somehow managed to instill that life goes on and is good.
I'm glad to hear that the post touched you.
Every time I read a post from a parent whose had rough night, a frustrating day, or a scare because of the Big D, I think of my parents. Many a D-blog has made me cry.
Thank you all for letting me into your worlds.

Penny Ratzlaff said...


I am sitting at my computer at work trying to hide my tears from my co-workers.

Your post is beautiful.

You know, we parents do what we do because we love our kids. We do what we do because we want the best for our kids. We don't do what we do to show off or to get any accolades.

But, it's nice to hear that we are appreciated. I'm sure your parents will love to read your post.

Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

Anonymous said...

Powerful stuff, Kelly.

meanderings said...

Such a beautiful letter!

I often wonder about people like your parents as I read blogs by moms and dads of children with diabetes.

I'm sure your letter will inspire the new generation of moms and dads.

jules said...

you have an amazing family. i hope all kids with D have parents that are as understanding as ours. i've never talked to mine about how they felt when i was diagnosed. i just remember seeing the pain in their eyes but they've done nothing but support me and mold me into the person i am today. any parents of kids like us deserve huge hugs and thank yous everyday, but it often goes unsaid.
thank you.

k2 said...

Pen -
Sorry to make u cry at work.
Your words, and those of the other
d parents in blog-land inspired me today.

Jeff -
Glad YOU liked it. It means a lot.

Colleen -
I hope I make both generations feel thanked and appreciated.

My family was far from perfect, but amazing none the less.
I know that look of pain in our parents eyes, it breaks your heart.
From what I've read on your blog, your parents are pretty
"top drawer "as well! WE ARE LUCKY. BIG HUGS to all the "rents" in dblog world.

Shannon said...

Ha! I see you mentioned your parents were not calm people.

I'm always suspicious of calm parents. I suspect they're on some sort of medication, LOL.

k2 said...

Shannon -
No they were not on meds, but they probably should have been!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post Kelly.

Jillian said...

It sounds like our parents were cut from the same mold as far as diabetes goes. Hate was never a word they used to describe their feelings about this disease. We are very much, "well this is what we have to do" kind of family. Diabetes is what it is, and wasting too much time focusing on all the negative just gives it more power. At least we have each day, even if the day is lived with this disease. I can't even imagine having 3 children with diabetes, you're parents are amazing! Great post!

k2 said...

Scott -
Thanks - it means a lot!

Jillian -
Couldn't have said it better myself!
Thanks for your perspective, which I'm so able to relate 2!
GLad to hear that u liked it!


Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing this letter with us. Like the others, I'm in tears now too. What an incredible form of love!


Donna said...

This was very nice, Kelly. I love to read about parents like yours. They did a great job. You were very blessed.

Jasmine said...

How wonderful they chose to act instead of react. Beautiful story.

Cara said...

I love this post. It's so beautiful. I fully intend on showing it to my mother, who I know went through a lot with me and my diabetes.
Thanks for the comment over on my blog. I haven't been posting lately due to going through some stuff right now. I have been really busy and stressed and trying to deal. But I promise I will be back. Thanks for all your comments. They mean so much!

k2 said...

Kristin -
I'm glad u got a lot out of my letter, it means a great deal to me.
Donna -
Your right, I was so blessed.

Jasmine -
They reacted to others situations, but "ACTED" right on point in terms of our diabetes.

Cara -
I'm glad u liked it and I hope your mother does to!
I'm glad your OK. Hang in there regarding the stress and the stuff, and can't wait to read some new mosts from you!

Thank You all for your kind comments regarding the post.
They mean a great deal to me.

Diane J Standiford said...

How wonderful that you wrote this. I feel so bad for children who never get to thank their parents and the many parents who never hear those words. Sniff sniff, kudos to your imperfect parents whose lives were very hard, yet they did not let it make them hard.
I'm so happy we have blogs now and people can connect to lessen their load. sniff sniff You are a kid I'd love to have,

Naomi said...

Jeez, Kelly, as if the past 24 hours hasn't been emotional enough already, I click onto your blog and start crying again!!! Thanks alot!

No, really -- thank you. It is a beautiful letter. I am always amazed and inspired by all of you who deal with diabetes in your own bodies (this is the viewpoint from someone who is looking in from the outside). Bitch and moan all you want -- but then you just get up and do what you have to do every day. It's alot to deal with and you have my everlasting support & respect.

k2 said...

Diane -
Thanks so much for the kind words. Yes, blogging is a wonderful tool on so many levels. Saying and hearing Thank-You makes all the difference in life.

No sniffles kiddo, we are all flawed - diseased or not, and we do what we have to everyday in order to make it to the next.
FYI I'm always up to be someone's adopted kid ;) I guess in my heart, I love being the baby!

Naomi -
There's no crying in baseball, but there is in real life. It means more than u know that you parents of t1's got so much out of the my letter, afterall - you are the folks who let me in on part of my parents world that they wouldn't let me see.

My father died 8 years ago next October, but in my hart I know he was looking over my shoulder as I typed.

I have yet to print out the letter and show it to my mom - she's not a fan of computers. Every time I hear from one of the parents in d-blogville I get more & more courage to print out a copy and show it to her.

teh4 said...

What a powerful and moving story - your parents are incredible people and are obviously a wonderful source of strength and support for you.

Warm Regards,

Tara Holahan

Anonymous said...

WAO!!!!I just picture myself in those words. i have a 9 yars old girl,diagnosticated when she was 6and it has benn very hard> Iam mother of 4 gils and I can imagine another one with D. But you have all the reason we are strong enough to keep going even when we want to cry. thank for all your words. We are from Puerto Rico.

Scott Strange said...


My parents only had one CWD, but I feel the same thing. Guilt for what I've put them thru and I've only recently started to realize that is a burden any true parent would bear and that it is not our fault. Still, the guilt is a powerful emotion to overcome.

Love ya babe

Anonymous said...

I am a mom of a 4 year old daughter diagnosed with T1 in 2009, and my older daughter is positive for antibodies. Thank you for posting this and helping me to understand all the work I do is not in vain. Hugs always :)

Anonymous said...

I am a 36 yr old mom to a 6 yr old diabetic. Thank you for thanking me. I know one day he will, but it brings tears to my eyes to read it from you.

Anonymous said...

Kelly, Thank you for beautifully putting into words feeling that so many of us want to say to our parents as our eyes open to what they must of gone though themselves.

We can never thank them enough, and I am sure they felt the same isolation that we did. The DOC has impacted them as much as ourself, and I am thankful for that as well. I learn just as much for the parents point of view as I do from colleagues who walk the line with me. Same disease, different perspective.

On behalf of those who share our journey...thank you again for sharing your soul.

Trip Stoner