‘Arden’s Day’ is two months old!
Sixty days ago I barged into your inbox and began describing Arden’s diabetes to you. My arrival was intentionally unexpected, uninvited and uncomfortable. Just like diabetes was for us.
We tend not to think about the bad until it comes. We don’t rock the boat... some think of it as not tempting fate, others just hoping the bad doesn’t find them. The “bad” is random and without conscience. It isn’t karma or poor judgement that brings it to your door... It’s just luck, the bad kind.
If I open my address book and scroll... I’ll see the names of friends, family and some people I’ve met along the way. I’ll also see autism, diabetes, cancer, infertility, depression and the premature passing of a wonderful woman. As debilitating as these afflictions are, their most crippling aspect may be the isolation they bring with them. Cells stop dividing correctly, a baby isn’t born the way you expected or an organ starts to fail. Suddenly your life is startlingly different, forever changed. It was already near impossible to stay in touch with friends and family as you grew older. But now when you do get a chance to see each other, an awkwardness exists that was never there before.
It’s no ones fault. People want to know how you are but don’t want to pry and you want to be treated normally but still need to know they care. Soon politeness takes hold, platitudes erupt and that special something you had begins to erode. This quiet avoidance is a disservice to you both, the bond you’ve built and the situation you find yourselves in.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Speaking honestly and openly will make the bad seem just a little better. Not sugar-coating your thoughts is perhaps the greatest respect you can offer a person in a situation like ours. Transparency is the key, understanding is the goal and if you don’t understand... just ask.
I’m not asking you to feel bad for us or guilty or sad. I’m asking you to be moved. I’m not telling you these things to garner pity, I don’t want or require it. I’m telling you so you’ll help, not just monetarily but also by understanding. I’m asking you to teach your children not to feel awkward when they meet Arden or another child with a reality that’s different then theirs. This isn’t accomplished in a few minutes by reading a blog or with a lecture, it’s accomplished slowly, by example.
I’m doing this to help people and yes hopefully with a cure but just as well through enlightenment. I don’t want Arden to know a day where she’s thought of as anything but Arden. Long after the JDRF’s Walk to Find a Cure is finished, Arden’s Day will still be here. I am going to continue to talk... to friends and family, to Senators and Congressmen. I’m going to keep talking until everyone knows. Knows that transparency leads to understanding, that frankness while uncomfortable is paramount and that honest discourse is the only way we move forward.
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