The memorial service was very nice; I was pretty much crying for the whole thing. Her children put together a slide show of pictures of their mom to be shown before and during the service. I volunteered to run this slideshow from the balcony of the church. I think the tears were in my eyes as soon as the somber organ music began, signifying the start of the service, but I really lost it when it was time for the personal comments on Gloria. The first two people to speak, vaguely alluded to the idea of ongoing health problems, but no specific reference to diabetes. The third person, the parish nurse for our congregation, got right to the point, as far as I was concerned. She said that Gloria suffered from almost every complication diabetes could cause. She spoke of her lifelong struggles with the disease and how well she dealt with them. I was sitting in church full of anger and frustration at Diabetes, at Life, even at God too. Tears stinging my cheeks and blinding my eyes I could not get the thought that this woman’s life was cut short by my disease. It was so unfair. I had never really equated diabetes to death before; now it was staring me right in the face.
Every person talked about her smile. The smile she always had & the inspiration she was to so many people in so many ways.
As I was walking out of the service, I was feeling more than a little bit self-conscious because of how upset I was (I mean I didn’t really know her that well & I was not family; what right did I have to be so upset?) I made my way over the parish nurse to tell what a great job she had done. She told me she was glad she had seen me because ever since Gloria’s death she had been worried about me. The weeping began again. She told me that she had been worried about how this would affect me. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.
“Melissa, I want you to know that you are going to be okay. You have done so well with your diabetes. She had all sorts of other problems. She had diabetes before, home blood testing, before insulin pumps…for 50 years. You are going to make it.”
She touched on the fear that I had not really spoken of to anyone: the fear for my own life. Even though I felt in part selfish for my relief at hearing I would be okay, doubt that this was true, anger at the ‘betes and great sadness about this world’s loss, overall she made me feel better. She told me things that I already knew but needed to hear. For that I am grateful.