A lot of living
Hey, does anybody know of a good memoir of living with diabetes? Either type?
I loved the third tip, which reads, in part, "A lot of living goes on in the course of dying." This is very true.
I think I learned this way back when I was in high school when my aunt Orlene, my mother's older sister, died of lung cancer. I don't know whether my mom said it to Orlene or whether Orlene said to mom, or whether my mixed up memory just attributes it to them, but one of them said that you LIVE until you die. You live with cancer for a long time before it kills you. You only actually die in that last moment when you die.
Orlene was a bright and loving woman. She did not smoke. She died around 1980 or 1981, or maybe 1982. She set aside a lovely ring to give to me at my high school graduation. I wear it on my left hand now. Orlene never had diabetes, since the cancer killed her while she was in her 40s. The death of Dana Reeve, with a similar quick fight, brought back a lot of memories about her and her illness for me this year. We miss Orlene. I wonder what marvelous things she would have done by now.
My mother's second husband also died of lung cancer. We miss Cliff.
My husband's mother died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in June 2005. She was diagnosed in the spring of 2003. She had bulbar onset ALS and it affected both her speech, her swallowing, and her cognition. We got to spend a lot of time with her, as she spent her last years. And yes, there is a lot of living to do in the process of dying. Or, perhaps, in the process of living with a terminal illness. We both got to be there as she breathed her last. We miss Karen.
And even if you're a health perfectionist, a marathoner who eats a raw organic vegan diet, everyone who is born and lives will die. Even if you took perfect care of your diabetes, you will not avoid death. I hope to avoid pain. I hope to avoid disability. I hope to extend useful, joyful life, for myself, and for others, right up until the moment that I die, no matter what the cause.
So, whether your diagnosis is diabetes or something more horrible, I urge you to do all the living you can, right up until you die. That's a lot of living. Don't miss a minute of it.