Valentine’s Day this year marked a very special, but weird day for me. It was not only my first romantic 14th of February, celebrated in the way the holiday is intended to be, but it was also my 4 year diaversary. I’m trying to get Day of Diabetes Diagnosis (DODD) happenning, because i’m a big fan of acronyms & aliteration, but it doesn’t seem to be taking off… My diagnosis was pretty dramatic, there were ambulances & daughters not at home or answering their phones, blood tests coming back over 70mmol, nurses saying i was lucky to be alive, not believing how i was able to walk and not be in a coma. Lucky was a word thrown around a lot that night. And I can tell you one thing, I certainly didn’t feel lucky. My Mom did though. She knew she came close to losing me that night. So when she insisted on doing something to mark my 4 year anniversary, I obliged for her. I let her make a big deal of it for me, because I knew it was a big deal for her. Diabetes is a family disease, and that night changed her life too. So we had frozen yoghurt & coffee during the day, and I had a lovely romantic evening with my boyfriend. But when I got home, it hit me. I was reflecting and sad and grieving. And I was so grateful she had insisted on doing something. I’m very sentimental, and i’ve been through a lot of change & upheaval lately including moving house, so I had no old letters or family members to relive the memories with. As wonderful as my boyfriend is, he wasn’t there that night. Or the majority of the journey. I was desperate for something comforting & familiar. I just wanted to feel the love & support of my friends, hear that some people understood what an important day it was for me, in amongst all the love & joy. So i decided to put out a fb status asking for some spare love & hugs. And as usual, the DOC provides! I was overwhelmed with lovely, supportive messages. And they really helped.
But, I think it scared some people. Not in a really dramatic way, but just in a “quick, don’t let Rachel wallow” way. And it made me think for a few days about marking your DODD & acknowledging grief. Letting it into your life & honouring how you feel. I was told to look forwards, and not to live in the past. But I don’t think visiting the past is living in it. And I strongly believe that visiting the past, and accepting it, is a really healthy thing which allows us to move forward. Yes, I was really upset. Upset that I had to share this romantic day with some bad memories. Upset that it snuck up on me and ruined the evening. Upset that it reminded me of how different my life was back then, pre-diabetes. But it’s a part of my life, and i’m ok with that. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate or resent it (most of the time). I make the best I can out of it. This is the hand i was dealt, and I fully accept that no-ones life is perfect, we all just have to make it work for us. And I did just that that night. I cried in my bed while my boyfriend cuddled the crap out of me. I rehashed every memory about that night, i showed him pictures, making use of the only sentimental things I could get my hands on! And I felt so much better. I’ve heard that crying with someone is healing, and I felt very healed that night. The evening ended up being perfect. Very romantic, and full of love. But i didn’t turn a blind eye to my DODD, or dishonour how I felt. I let the grief in, but i didn’t cling on to it – I shared it around. Mom had some, my boyfriend had some, and my facebook friends did too.
I like to think that by reflecting on my DODD, feeling a bit sad, asking for some support, I’m not dwelling. I’m not living in the past. I’m looking forward, I’m just not going to let my past weigh me down wherever I am going.