There’s this scene from one of my favorite movies, “Elizabethtown,” where the newly widowed Susan Sarandon’s character is trying to fix the engine of her car by herself, and she looks straight into the eyes of, well, the car engine, I guess, and says defiantly “You will not defeat me!” And she says this with such conviction and grace, you know she isn’t talking about fixing a car.
I struggled for a long time to separate my son’s disease from my sister’s. Jenny didn’t wake up the morning of March 29th. It was just terrifying to hear the words “Your son has Type 1 diabetes” on New Year’s Eve 2009, a little less than one year into his life. How would I ever know that the same thing wouldn’t happen to Brayden?
You can either work with this disease or say how much you hate it and get stuck in life’s sick version of a chinese finger trap and find yourself on the losing end no matter how hard you fight.
I just can’t do it. My son is too magical, too amazing. So tonight when he hid his head in his pillows when he saw me coming towards him with bedtime syringe #2 and put his bottom up in the air because he prefers those injections to leg or arm, I didn’t even flinch. I gently rubbed his back as Daddy tried to tell him a funny joke to distract him as I plunged the 7th needle of the day into his flesh. I did not feel sad, nor did I apologize to my son for hurting him.
I do not “duck fiabetes” nor hate or curse at the bruises all over his bottom and legs from the needles or the fact that by bedtime, I want to go to sleep, not stay awake until midnight, sometimes 3, sometimes all night so that I know my child is safe. It’s a place I’ve had to work really, really hard to get to in my mind.
Wanna hear something weird? The clock on my bedroom wall in my parent’s house where I was living on March 29th, 2004, stopped at 2:49am. My sister’s watch stopped at the very same time. I keep them both in a box. Not sure what exactly to do with them, other than you can come to one conclusion or another why I keep the hands untouched on both. We never told the exact time or day we lost her, but I knew. I knew the morning my alarm clock went off and IZ’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was playing and I laid in bed with tears coming down my face, unsure of why until 2 days later when my mom called me at 11:30pm. My heart knew way before anyone.
My heart still has bad days. Mostly days when I’m around sisters. Seems like those darn pairs of things are just about everywhere, aren’t they? Because the truth of the matter is, I don’t have one, and I used to, and that just plain sucks.
But my spirit? You just can’t touch it. My mind may have gotten scared, and my heart may have been shattered on March 29th, 2004 along with December 31, 2009, but my spirit does not hate, it’s not afraid nor is it broken…because it’s just not possible. I can feel pain and I can be scared, but nothing, not death nor disease or anything will take away what keeps me going inside.
I KNOW there’s more to all this than meets the eye, and NO I don’t know what that is, but I feel it. I see it in the hands of clocks that sit in a box in my attic. I trust that my son’s pain with every injection isn’t without a purpose, and that he choose this life and in this life and beyond there is a reason for all this.
The heart and the mind can get beat up, torn apart, jumbled and turned insideout and then back again, but no spirit can be destroyed no matter what. No by diabetes, brain tumors, bad days or even death. The spirit is an amazing thing that can cross all those lines and more. But it can’t if you hate. It can’t if you are miserable. And it certainly can’t if you’re not willing to try to let it show you just how magical and amazing life can truly be.
You will not defeat me.