Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Wearing Of The Green Bracelets, Coming Home Again & Feeling Like A Butterfly ~

My badge of honor
Green Bracelet: A badge of Honor worn an the wrist that a person with diabetes receives when attending a Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference.
Orange Bracelet: A badge of honor worn on the wrist that a person whose loved one has diabetes receives when attending a Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference 
Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference: Coming home again to Diabetes Land. A place where everyone speaks the language of diabetes, carbs counts come with every meal, laughter flows freely, as do tears and friends, both new and old, become friends for life.
So once again I found myself sitting alone on the wicker and rattan furniture in Orlando International Airport, sitting across from the Ruby Tuesdays and people watching and crying - but this time my tears were mixture of both happy and sad. 
For the first time in almost 7 days I was by myself and sans others wearing green and orange bracelets. 
Not that I didn’t look for them, because I totally did, but I seemed to be the only Friend For Lifer in that exact area at that exact time. So I grabbed my moleskin and started writing a list, which quickly turned into more than that. 
  1. Spent the last 7 days with people who speak the language of diabetes and get "IT"
  2. Never once had to  explain things like why I HAD to eat ASAP and knowing that my pump is continually beeping and talking with others so it doesn't feel alone is also sorta cool
  3. Instant D bonding is pretty amazing
  4. Being in the majority (green bracelets) is something I’ve never really experienced on extended level except for Camp Firefly (which is no longer in existence,) and being in the green bracelet majority ROCKS 
  5. My meter battery died =  people I’d met/hadn’t met yet offering me their spare batteries via the facebook and twitter and that right there was pretty amazing. I felt taken care of and loved and cared for and you know what? I was 
  6. Speaking of diabetes and batteries, I never realized how much I needed to recharge my own internal batteries until I actually attended CWD Friends for life  
  7. Coming home. For the last nine months my concept of home has changed greatly and I’ve felt like a displaced person of sorts. A woman without a place to go home to. No actual familial place to go back home to during the holidays because I no longer had parents... and the family home I knew and loved no longer existed - it had literally been sold and torn down after my mom died. The concept of "home" as a place to go home and A  place to regroup was no longer an option.  And up until Friends for Life, I was a person without a home base and a somewhat fractured biological family,  all of us still reeling from the loss of our much loved matriarch.  And I’ve felt tired and overwhelmed and... lost. Yes lost. But as soon as I walked in the hotel I felt like I was home again. 
  I immediately ran into my friend Alexa Fantastic (not her real name, but it should be) and we hugged one another tight. I hadn’t seen her for two years and she’d grown up quite nicely. She grabbed my luggage and literally dragged it over to where her mom and aunt were eating in the Lobby bar and all three of them immediately made me sit down and eat sliders and have drinks and we talked and laughed for a good two hours. 
And that right there pretty much explains the whole weekend.
The next morning at the "Sticker Table" I ran into Jason Pike, who saw my name badge and introduced himself to me. I'd never met Jason before, but I knew him because he's commented on my blog and others - And he's awesome! We hugged and talked and the D bonding and friendship was instant! 

At Children With Diabetes - Friends For Life, People came together and friendships formed and or are made stronger and that’s just so beautiful. 

The adult type 1 sessions were amazing. Those of us who’d lived with diabetes for what seemed like forever could “let it all out” and then some. And by just sharing and listening we were able to feel better - About all sorts of things in our life, not just our life with diabetes.
At one point in the session it was my turn to cry. Not that we took actual turns to cry, but you know what I mean. 

Afterwards, my new t1 friend Sean came up to me after the session and put his hand on my shoulder and said: So are you having a good morning? and I said: I am. 

And we both smiled because we both knew that we needed THIS

And by THIS I mean we needed a place where we could wear our green bracelets, learn, laugh and help one another. Where we could help the little ones wearing the green bracelets as well as the big ones.  A place where we could let IT all out, even if we thought we didn’t need to. 
DOC - We are family.... I got all my D-peeps and me! 
photo courtesy of Kerri

A place where we were given a better understanding and appreciation of those wearing the orange bracelets and all the struggles that comes with wearing an orange bracelet. 
And as the week came to a close I realized something: Home is where the heart is, and by heart I mean home is where the green bracelet is. 
The past nine months of been cocoon of sorts. A cocoon of loss and change and all that comes with losing the last parent you have. 

And while I learned how very strong I am, I also learned how incredibly tired I was.
But I’m slowly but surely busting my way through the cocoon and am reemerging as a different person -  And for the first time in a very long while, I feel lighter and happier. 

I feel like spreading my wings and soaring to new heights because I know I can. 

I feel like a butterfly - A green bracelet wearing butterfly - And I KNOW that I’m not the only one who feels this way. There’s a kaleidoscope of green and orange bracelet wearing butterflies out there who feel much the same way - Lighter and stronger and happier - And that my friends is a beautiful thing. 

And much like my green bracelet and all it represents,  I will keep these new feelings close to my heart and wear them well.  And I will continue come home  - Again and again and recharge my life batteries whenever needed. 

And knowing that I have a place to come home and recharge makes all the difference indeed~

CWD Green & Orange bracelet wearing butterflies~


semperwife said...

Kelly... I cried when I read your post. I loved bumping into you at Starbucks and instantly crossing the miles from first meeting into instant friendship. We had known each other through Facebook but that moment when we realized that we were "friends" turned into an impact moment for me. The laughter, the smile, the warmth in the heart and even the surprised look from the gentleman who also deserved a green bracelet... all stored away in a special memory bank of my impact moments. You are now more than just a friendly person on the computer, you are my friend. You are one of my amazing, green bracelet wearing, beautiful, inspiring friends who help me (the orange bracelet team) feel hope that my family will always have their friends for life.. their old ones and their new ones.

FatCatAnna said...

I know exactly how you are feeling! I went to my 1st CWD in Toronto last summer (the Canadian one is only 3 days - not long enough) - and despite working as a volunteer - I still got the same feelings - proud to wear my bracelet of honor (I wish I had kept the bracelet - only have my volunteer badge still - that the kids helped decorate for me).
"Beep, beep - oh - you're doing a bolus for that yummy dessert - alright .... now when will we hear those words again ?"

Unknown said...

Yes. It was like coming home. I loved randomly running into you around this corner and the pool, on the dance floor, sitting in a session.

Thank you for being the butterfly you are. Sharing your journey is one reason I am hopeful about what the future holds for my girl!

FatCatAnna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cara said...

I so wish I could have been there. I'm going to try next year. Cross your fingers for me. :)

k2 said...

Ok, reading this from my work computer & realizing the cwdffl hyperlink didn't take- and of course I can't fix it on my work computer - but I can " fix it" via a comment;)

Jacquie said...

Amen, sister. Meeting you was totally a highlight of the week, and I completely felt like I'd known you for years. Bob and I were talking last night about how rad you are. And just a note: in the picture of all the T1 adults, I have my ankles crossed because you had just said something about proper it was for ladies to sit that way . . . and then no one else crossed their ankles!


Nicté said...

I really want to attend the event next year. More so after reading your post.
The only place I have ever felt part of this kind of group was at a TEDxDelMar where everything revolved around diabetes investigation but it was just a day and it ended up making me super super teary to leave the people I met behind.

I have made it my goal to save up for my next vacations to be over there!
I hope I get to have the same kind of experience you had and perhaps even met you!

Bennet said...

I think it is Alexa Fantastic. Just sayin....

Celine said...

Kelly I have been reading about FFL all week all over the DOC. Your post, more than any other, makes me want to go next year. I'm too busy living my life to realize how alone I must feel sometimes in a world where I am the only T1. To spend a few days surrounded by my peeps would be amazing.

I'm glad you had such a soul-healing time there.

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

Coming home, for sure!
And being able to spot others with the green and orange bracelets just made being all over the hotel like being in someone's home because we were all connected through those colors.
I love that I can 'hear' you now when I read your posts!
South Jersey, baby!!! ;)

Christina said...

Great post - Im certainly teary eyed for you. My family wasn't able to attend this year or the last two years. We had been in 07,08 and 09 so we are blessed with having experienced the awesomeness that is FFL. Hoping to attend ffl13.
This year there is so much talk of the green bracelet group. I am not a green bracelet wearer - I am orange. Two of my kids are green. I would trade bracelets with them if I could - mostly to take D from them but also because I have a slight envy of the closeness of the green bracelet club. As an orange I can only TRY to understand - I will never completely be able to feel what y'all feel (good, bad or ugly). No Im not wishing to develop D - I am very blessed to have a functioning pancreas but if I could feel and see the world through my kids eyes I would know more of how to support them. Having met so many adult pwd has certainly helped me see my kids world and we are all better for it. Thank you for such a great post.

jenny said...

I'm your bathroom sunscreen buddy. It was meet you. You are a great writer. And you weren't the only green bracelet at the airport. I found 2 one touch strips on the ground haha.

shannon said...

wonderful words, kelly! i was thrilled to be in the minority of the orange bracelets because i know it made my kid so happy to be in the majority of the green!

here's to more FFL in the future! :)

Karen said...

Beautiful post, k2. And I've been homesick for FFL since the minute I left.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Love this, K2!