It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post, and acknowledge the loss of one of our own this week.
13 year old Eilish was taken from us by Type 1 diabetes. Her parents were active members of the Children With Diabetes community, and nurtured her since she was three years old living with diabetes. Eilish, like so many of us with diabetes, was compliant, and had good control. Yet, as we all know, diabetes doesn’t always play by the rules. From what has been shared, our understanding is that Eilish was taken from us by DIB syndrome, likely due to a severe low blood sugar level during the night while she slept.
I didn’t know Eilish. I have never met her parents, or her sister Ella. It’s likely I will never know them. Yet, every one of us in and surrounding the DOC, regardless of what type diabetes we have or if we even have diabetes at all, are feeling this loss. There has been no shortage of bloggers sharing similar sentiments today (list alphabetized by blogger, because I’m a librarian, and that’s how I roll)…
Amy (@DiabetesMine) – Diabetes: The Possibilities
Cara (@cerichards21) – Just Because…
Kelly (@diabetesalic) – Crying For Them
Kerri (@sixuntilme) – Dealing with the Fear of Diabetes
Lisa (@pyxiestik) – Tempting the Fates
Michael (@MHoskins2179) – It Could Be Any Of Us
Sarah (@Sugabetic) – Heavy Hearts
Sherry (@jennaspetmonkey) – Before Another Child Is Lost
Holly (@Arnold_and_Me) over at Arnold and Me reminded me today via a Tweet that there is a time for everything. It’s good, healthy, and necessary for us to take time to mourn Eilish, remember her, and show compassion for her family. There is a time for us to be angry, which is also why I have delayed writing this post. I wanted to spit out so much venom at diabetes that this post would not have been suitable for print had I wrote it earlier.
The New Living Translation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reads:
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Depending on where you are right now, you may identify more with some parts of that passage than others. Being a person who strives to be optimistic, I find myself trying to move toward better things, and emotions that I am more comfortable with. Despite where you place your faith and beliefs, I believe that Eilish is in a better place now. A place where she doesn’t have to be burdened by finger pricking, getting tangled up in insulin pump tubing, or any of the other anchors of diabetes, and she can now experience a dawn phenomenon like no other we can imagine.
So through this tragedy, I see hope. I see people in the DOC who are more aware of the risks of diabetes than they were yesterday. I see people who want to learn more about the research that goes into developing better treatments and one day a cure for diabetes. I am humbled by friends who have found a way to give back to the diabetes community through fundraising, charity walks, and galas. I’m excited to see everyone even more fueled now to get the word out and increase awareness on World Diabetes Day on November 14. I am encouraged to see my friends who are leaning on each other, helping each other to laugh and find joy, not letting each other get bogged down in tragedy.
That is the spirit of the DOC, and the spirit of everyone who lives with and has been touched by this disease. We may get bruised, but together we can’t be beaten. That is why I know that one day we will find a cure, because we are like the frog in the crane’s mouth…we never give up.