Support Group

I was at a support group meeting a few years back.  I was living in Boca Raton, Fl, at the time.  I was doing good.  On an upswing in life.  I had been attending this meeting every month for the last few years and had a “reputation” of someone to follow or learn from.  

A mother of a newly diagnosed 11 year old girl came to the the meeting.  You could see the desperation in her face.  Looking back, she was seeking validation that it was going to be ok.  When she “shared” she began talking about all the great things her daughter had done and how the diabetes had not slowed her down.  

Then I fucked up.  It was my turn to share and I needed to keep my reputation up and I was seeing the denial the mother was showing and I used a word that catapulted her from Denial to Anger.  I used the word disability.  I talked about how having T1D was a dis-ability.  I knew first hand.  I played hockey and soccer at a fairly high level throughout college.  At times, I was at a disadvantage.  Didn’t mean I couldn’t play. But….it was harder for me with diabetes than if not.

Having diabetes is a handicap.  OOOPS! I used another word that literally had her out of her seat.  I played on the golf team too.  Any of you who play golf know that everyone has a handicap.  

Ok.  I was now under full attack.  By the way, where was the daughter?  Why wasn’t she at the meeting?  Too young?  Over protected?  I don’t know…

Why I am writing about this?  It was a long time ago.  Well…..I’ve been on this Beyond Type 1 site for a few weeks posting a couple posts and reading the posts of others.  And I am awakening to the fact that it really doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong, if you are struggling or you are unicorn whisperer, what matters most is finding a way to validate where you are at right now.  To make it ok because this is a long trek…

The mother didn’t want to be pushed that night to see the reality of her daughter’s dis-ease.  She wanted to be supported.  At the time I thought that enlightening her to the truth of the matter was support.  This is not always the case.  Sometimes you just need to be listened to and understood.  

For me, the reality is that this condition has been a real battle.  It has mostly got in my way and altered my perception of life.  I’m 57 years old and I didn’t plan on being here this long.  Now what?  Well…..If nothing else….today I would like to think that instead of triggering that mom with a reality that she did not need to address at the time…I would have validated her for being there and being an excellent “co-pilot” in her daughters “flight.”   

If it wasn’t for my mom I wouldn’t have made it this far………

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