Monday, October 28, 2013

My bowl.

The other day I watched Blackfish.  It was a documentary on CNN about Killer Whales procured by Sea World, and the subsequent tales of sad living conditions and danger to all involved, whale and trainer.

I shivered through the entire show.  That kind of terrified electricity that runs up your spine when you see something haunting?  I felt that to the nth degree.  I cuddled up closer and closer to the corner of the couch until I was a ball.  My 15 year old walked in and said, “What’s wrong, Mom?” 

I pointed to the TV.

He finished watching with me, and left.  I knew that it affected me more than it affected him, which surprised me.  I’m a pretty level person.  I look at everything on TV with an understanding that what I’m watching is biased.  No matter sitcom or World Report, I always know that there are two sides to a story and someone behind the scenes with some kind of agenda. 

But this feeling I had while watching this documentary was pronounced.  Sure it may have something to do with my lifelong terror of the deep deep ocean, but it was something more.  I spent a couple days pondering it all.  Why did those whales haunt me so?

And finally it clicked.

I completely relate to those whales’ plight.  In fact, I feel like those whales.

I’m at a place where I feel like I’ve been plucked from my home.  The only home and family I ever knew, and have been thrown into a small tank just big enough for me to swim for the soul purpose of surviving. 

Breathing.  It feels like all my energy these days is put into just breathing.

I feel like I’m not where I belong.  I feel like there is an expansive universe out there that I’m missing out on, something bigger meant to be.  I seem to be living my life only to perform for others.  I know what is expected of me, and I’m doing it.  And when I see my boys smile, for a moment I forget my bowl, and I fly into the air.

But at the end of the day…I’m back in the bowl.

Going through the motions is the crux of my existence.

But as I pondered this more, I realized there is one distinct difference between the whales and me…

This bowl I’m in?  I’m keeping myself here.  I can jump out anytime. 

I can change my life at anytime. 

The only thing I’m a prisoner of is grief.  The sadness and hopelessness of my future is all on me.  I have the power to jump out of this rut. 

And I know I will.  It’s just that…now isn’t the time yet.

I must keep my world small to continue the healing process.  As much as I want to rush into new worlds and new experiences, I know that right now I’m exactly where I need to be.

Sometimes it’s necessary to go through life on autopilot so that our delicate ecosystems can rest, and heal from the tolls of heartache.  My life was kidnapped from me.  It’s only natural that my body needs to recover from the violent ripping apart of my future.

This little happiness coma is allowing much needed restoration to occur.

I’m going to back float it out until one day I’m strong enough to jump out of the pool.

When I do?

Watch out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I know some of you are jealous of my ultra glamorous life.  And rightfully so.

I have four really awesome boys.

They are fun, and handsome and everything a mama bear could want.

But we have our adventures like everyone else. 

You know, sometimes things happen out of nowhere that are no ones fault whatsoever.  Things that are totally out of our hands and are what smarter people than me have deemed “par for the course.”

One of those moments happened this morning. 

This kind of thing so ultra rare, a blog post like this should be worth millions.  I mean it’s THAT rare.  Stuff like this n.e.v.e.r happens around here.

This mother is so prepared for everything, that something like this happening just doesn’t happen.  Well, you know…maybe once in a blue moon.  Or maybe once every other leap year. 

Practically never ever.

(I’ll let you figure out for yourself which words above these words here, are truth or fantasy.)

Anyway, back to the story…

This morning I dropped the boys off to school and as 11-year-old B was jumping out of the car he said, “Oops.  I only have 1 unit of insulin left in my pump.”

Now if I believed in tough love I would have been all, “Well it’s your fault mister!  You’ll just have to do without all. day. long.  And think about what you’ve done!”

But I’m a softy.

Looking at the clock I saw I had 30 minutes until I absolutely had to be at work and thanks to our entire city being under construction, I was 20 minutes away from home.

 As veteran D Mom problem solving scenarios were flying through my swelly brain at light speed.  The first logical one was going home, filling a reservoir and sending it back with my 18 year old. 

“If I send a reservoir, can you go through the steps to prime it and get it done?  You can just attach it to the old set and after school I’ll insert a new one.”

((Blank stare))  He’s done it a few times along side me, but he’s unsure.

“I can try.”  He says.

Okay.  Better plan!

“Give yourself that one unit of insulin to cover the missed basal and give me your pump.  I’ll get it set up and your brother can bring it to you in less than an hour.”

The game was afoot! 

Now this next part has nothing to do with the end of the story.  The end of the story is M drives the pump to B.  He gets it and his sugars end up being brilliant all day long.  You don’t have to keep reading, it’s ok.  But I just need to get this off my chest.

The traffic.  You know that feeling when you’re in traffic and you need to be somewhere ASAP?  I’m assuming you do, because every other car on the road apparently felt the same way I did.  Which logic then dictates you’ve been there too and know exactly what I’m talking about.  Anyway, I was feeling that feeling, hard.

The city has an entire section of roadway under construction; so three lanes must merge into one lane and go 2 miles an hour until allowed to again spread into two lanes again. 

Everybody knows what is going to happen ahead.  Everybody KNOWS.  But there are the few that think their lives are more harried than everybody else’s, and they go into the lane that is obviously closing RIGHT ahead, just to get four cars ahead of everybody else.  You know these people.  They don’t make eye contact.  They pretend they didn’t know the lane was closing.  But it’s been a month people.  We know you know.

And as I sat in my lane doing all the right things, I was forced to accommodate these leaches who suck out my happiness to take off an extra minute from their commute.  And the worst part of it all: I almost always catch up to these offenders a couple lights ahead.  All of their A-holishness is for not.  We are at the same place.  Turns out they never even gain a minute, they gain seconds.

Pile onto this the fact that the construction company people set up for their roadwork at exactly 8:00am, when we are trying to get our kids to school, and get to work.  They have to know that the majority of the city population starts work at 9am.  If they waited just one hour lives would be changed, people might actually like the city again, and this D Mom’s head wouldn’t explode every livelong day.

I looked at the faces of the people cutting in and almost hitting other cars, and I tried to understand their lives.  I tried to make up stories that made their actions ok.  I tried to pretend they have children with medical issues too.  Or they can’t be late or they’ll be fired.  Or something. 

But then I looked at myself in the mirror, and there I was, following all the rules…and still…nothing is easy.

Even though I’m always prepared!  (Sarcasm font.  Where is the sarcasm font button?)

I’m doing the best I can.  I’m trying to be a good person.  I’m trying.

But even though everything in front of me says chaos, (see: traffic metaphor,) I can’t shake the feeling that one day the sea will part and there in front of me will be redemption.

I don’t know how it’s possible.  In fact if I think about it, all I can think of are reasons for it not to be possible.  It’s hard not to doubt good things lie ahead.

I heard a quote recently that struck that handy “truth chord” I have in my soul, and that quote was “Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith.”

So I’ll keep following rules, and trying my best, and maybe even try to be a little more prepared, spiritually and diabetically, and I’ll let the fates take care of the rest.

Because (as I say over and over again,) I can’t do better than my best.

And that my friends, is apparently what passes for a blog post these days from moi. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Ryan called her Sha-mae-mae. 

When I first found her I pronounced her name, Shay-me. 

When I spoke to her on the phone the first time it was the first question I asked her.  “How the heck do you pronounce your name??”

It was Shamae.  Like, Sha-may.

At a young age, she was one of the original D Mom bloggers.  When I wrote my first post and sent it out into the interwebz, my Sister in Law was eager to read it.  As she Googled around looking for my first post lost in obscurity, she ran across Shamae’s blog.

“Do you know there are others?” She asked.

“Others???  Others like me?”

Sure enough when my sister in law pointed out Shamae’s blog it was akin to finding the Promised Land for me.  Her sidebar lit up with a list of other D Mom bloggers.  I was so thrilled I read every one.  Commenting on every one.  Bursting with excitement with EVERY ONE.

Shamae will always be my life preserver.  She threw her heart to me and I held onto it with dear life.  Finding others like me in the sea of craziness online just seemed too good to be true.

We spoke on the phone.  We texted.  We got together a group of D Mom bloggers and met for Sunday night chats. 

And after the chats faded away, we still kept in touch.  Even though Shamae took a long blogging hiatus, Facebook served its divine purpose of keeping those far away close to our hearts. 

When Ryan passed she called right away.  She spent weeks gathering supplies from the entire state of Idaho to send to our family.  Four huge boxes FULL of life for my boys. 

She was an angel.

She was my dear friend.

She was 30 years old.

And in an instant, she is gone.

I know enough to know she is in a glorious place.  I know enough to know she has a renewed perspective that makes all of this ok.

But I also know enough to know her family is aching right now.  I don’t know how husbands deal with losses like this.  I can’t even say I know how wives do...but I know how I did/am.  And my heart is imploding thinking about the hurt that is happening in that home right now.

It brings me back to where I was a year ago.  It’s all still very raw. 

And that’s all I have to say about that.  I can’t bear to say more about those feelings.

Shamae, thank you.  Thank you for your kind heart, and your resilient spirit.  Thank you for all the laughs, and joy you brought into my life.  But most of all, thank you for not being afraid to live authentically.  You lived your life and your faith out loud, and for that you will forever be a bright example to me.

May the angels comfort your family.  And may your family know that your existence was not only to bring three miracles into the world, but also to create an online world that changed the lives of many women.

Mine included.

After Ryan passed away, Shamae wrote this poem for me.  She also sent me the link to the song below. I hope it will give her family some solace during this difficult time:

Dear Meri,
The tears in your eyes I know you can’t hide,
In front of our family, I've seen how you've tried.
You want to be strong, but the ache is too great.
When I passed on, I watched your heart break.

Please don’t cry, don’t shed a tear.
You can’t understand; the path is not clear.
You see the part where I have passed on;
but try not to worry ‘cause it won’t be long,
till your eyes are opened and you’ll finally see—
I’m happy in Heaven with more family.

Christmas is coming and I know you are scared,
because this is a holiday we always have shared.
I miss you too and in my heart there’s an ache.
 ‘cause I won’t be around to make this year great.

But you’ll be surrounded by our family and friends;
they love you dearly and are there to lend
a hand to hold or to share a smile.
They’ll give you compassion and stay for a while.

Meri, I want you to know that I’ll also be there,
this holiday season we still get to share.
Although I know your eyes can’t see,
I'll be sitting beside you with our family.

Mistletoe above, I’ve move my lips to your cheek,
I’ll give you the kiss you longingly seek.
My hand on your hand, I’ll give it a squeeze
you’ll feel my love while you decorate our tree.
 Meri, please don’t cry, don’t shed a tear,
‘cause I’ll get to be with you for Christmas this year.
Love always, Ryan

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Free to be you and me.

Oh hi.

I’m Meri.

Sometimes I write things and I’m sure they are brilliant and then a couple days later I wonder if I blew the entire post out of my…


When I wrote “Sitting with diabetes,” I meant it.  I’m at peace with the fact that diabetes has come into our lives.  We can’t turn back time, (unless someone’s figured that out, because I have a house, a car and 3 pumps to pawn so as to get on board with that one,) we can’t make it go away, (unless we pretend…which I’m SUPER good at BTW,) and we can’t control something we have no control over. 

Diabetes is here.

Diabetes on board.  We might as well have yellow caution signs in our car windows with little suction cups.  Because it’s our reality.

But here’s the thing.  Even though I accept this lot in life, it doesn’t mean I don’t have times when I’m really overwhelmed, or really angry.  

I have my moments.

For example, I don’t know…last weekend?  I had “a moment” that lasted a good four days.  And after so many years I can tell you, that is normal.  (I used the other N word.  This one's ok.  Also, I realize I’m the Jekyll and Hyde of the blogosphere.  That’s ok too.  Having three boys with T1 does that to a person.)

So to be clear, my feelings about Diabetes runs the gamut on any given day.  And from what I see in other groups that house parents of children with diabetes, and even people with diabetes themselves, this is par for the course. 

So why do we feel so safe attacking others for how they feel online?


There are many reasons:

1.  We don’t know these people in real life.

2.  It is in most cases impossible to discern inflection when reading the written word.

3.  Cultural differences don’t help in interpreting intent.  Some cultures speak softer than others, while others say things straight from the hip.

4.  We don’t like the way something was worded and take it as a personal attack on ourselves, others, and our entire community.

5.  We don’t agree.  And we are right.  And they are going to know we are right.

6.  We’ve let similar statuses fly under the radar, but this one…this one is the last straw!

7.  We don’t realize the person on the other end of the status is a real person, who obviously is in need of human connection, understanding and/or validation.

I don’t care what you tell yourself, everyone has feelings.  Even people who seem strong and self assured, have feelings.  There is vulnerability in all of us.  Being gentle is always the best answer.

Not everyone is good at writing out his or her feelings.  If someone writes, “Diabetes is no big deal!  Look at how bad it could be!”  Instead of attacking them for obviously not having ANY idea how dangerous and how hard this disease is…maybe we should say, “I’m so glad you are enjoying this place where diabetes is playing nice!”  Or maybe, “I hope I feel that way some day.”  (As some people commented on my "Sitting with Diabetes" post.  I have really nice, tactful friends.)

Jumping to the worst conclusions never helped anything.  Attacking another family for their really good, or really bad day never helped anything either.  We have to remember that these families are living the same Diabetic Life we are.  They are going through phases of grief, phases of acceptance, and phases of victories and defeat.  The ups and downs are the thread that holds us together.  The ups and downs are why we sought to connect with “others” online in the first place.

This world/Internet needs more love and supportiveness. 

Leave judgment, and rudeness to the outsiders. 

And if a discussion must take place, if someone has crossed the line.  We should take it to a private place…that’s what private chat boxes are for.  And we should try to use gentle language.  If we speak from the heart and try not to talk about what “they did” but rather how it made us feel, the entire tone of the conversation will change. 

Attacking someone and judging him or her will only lead to defensiveness.  And in my slight 40 year existence I have learned there is nothing that can be accomplished when someone gets on the defensive. 

I’m not a therapist.  I don’t know everything, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I see the destructive conversations happening left and right, all of which can be softened with an increased measure of empathy and forgiveness.

A wise someone once said, “You reap what you sow.”

A little kindness makes all the difference.  I’ve seen my life change because of it. 

Just because you know me, and my story, you give kindness to me freely.  I believe if we knew these people who bug us, and their story, we’d be inclined to treat them a little differently too.

That’s what I think anyway.  It’s ok if you don’t agree with me.  But if that’s the case, be gentle, ok?