Another life lost to diabetes. I wish I could bring him back to you.

 life lost to diabetes blue candle for Niko

In the diabetes online community, the appearance of a blue candle suggests that someone has lost their life to diabetes.  Its a time of sorrow.  It’s a time to hug our loved ones a little closer. It’s a time to test a little more often and then we move on.

Last week I received a message that made my heart stop.

I headed over to a friend’s Facebook page.

I saw the blue candle.

I couldn’t breathe.

I read her post.

The tears began to flow.

Through the tears I sent a message to my friend.  She confirmed my worst fears with her words “I just want him back.”

“Oh, I wish I could bring him back for you!”

That’s what I replied through the tears.  

I was numb.  

This time the loss to diabetes was close to home.

The blue candle was no longer for a stranger who had lost their life to diabetes.  This candle was for a child that I had watched grow through our online communications.

This was happening to a friend who had been there for me through highs and lows of  16 years with diabetes.  I wished I could bring her son back to her.  The pain was too much for me, I couldn’t begin to imagine how she was feeling. It hurt too much to try.

No mother should bury their child. We shouldn’t have to mourn for those who have yet to have fully enjoyed their lives. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. It makes our hearts ache.

When we hear of a child’s life lost to diabetes, no matter what their age, we hurt but we push it away. It happens to other people.  It is horrible but it happens to other people.  But what about when it doesn’t? What about when it hits your family?

When diabetes takes someone in your family

blue candle life lost to diabetes

Last week the life lost to diabetes was in my close diabetes family and the pain is still fresh.

15 +years ago, I became connected to the internet.  I reached out to find “parents of children with diabetes”.  I found an information email list, or so I thought.  What I really found was a family.

I found people, some that I would meet, some that I would talk to on the phone, and some that I would never know beyond the keystrokes on a keyboard.

All of them would become family.  These were the people that would be by my side through the good times and the bad.  They would understand diabetes –its peaks and valleys but they would also understand me.  These friends would be there for me at all hours from around the globe.  They were Friends for Life. They were family.

Over the years, some of those connections have been neglected.  Our children have grown.  Some of  the children have become parents themselves.  We watched each other’s lives on Facebook and occasionally wished each other well.

Other connections remain strong. We reach out regularly.  We still see each other. We have kept in contact and fondly look back at where we have been.

No matter whether we are close or drifted apart when tragedy strikes, we are all one big family again. One family united by pain.  One family sobbing with each other.  One family holding each other in virtual hugs with real tears.

Tragedy isn’t supposed to hit us. Not a direct hit. Not taking a child that we “knew” and watched grow but it has.  And it hurts like no other.

The pain will always be there

life lost to diabetes Diabetes Advocacy

I know that the pain will fade for some of us.  It will dull a little for my friend but that missing piece will never be replaced.  I am lucky.  In 16 years, my son has stayed quite healthy.  In all of this time, I have only known of one person–whom I had met, spoken with, and been friends with, who had died because of diabetes. Now there are two.

I don’t want there to be any more.  We need a cure.  We need better access to treatments.  We need more awareness. We need more…

We will continue to work harder. We will bike more. We will walk more. We will advocate louder.

Our hope will remain.

We came together because of diabetes.  We stayed together because of an incredible friendship that knows no borders.  I pray that one day we will celebrate life without diabetes.  Until then, hug your loved one a little closer today.  Send prayers and strength to the families who have lost someone during our fight. I am grateful to each of you who have become such an important part of my life.

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12 thoughts on “Another life lost to diabetes. I wish I could bring him back to you.”

  1. That was a beautiful sentiment and one felt by us all in the D community, every time I see that blue candle I get a sick feeling and hate what it means, the cure cannot come to soon.

  2. Pinki and Nicky Whitehouse are both in my thoughts and prayers. Knowing friends have been through (are going through) the unimaginable just breaks my heart.

  3. There is a lump in my throat! I am so sorry.. I pray for a cure. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May God give you strength at this difficult time.
    From one type1 Diabetes mother to another

  4. Very well stated Barb. I too met Pinki 16yrs ago, the early years of diabetes, before “Friends for Life” conferences or Facebook. Merely an email chat list, but a lifeline. I knew I could be up at 2am and there would be someone to answer questions or commiserate with on how tired we were. Pinki is part of that family, and so was Niko. I hate D but I love the friendships it has brought me. But o hate that it takes away members of my family. ??

  5. I am very sorry for the loss of the child, it’s terrible.

    Inasmuch as I want to get rid of my T2D, I don’t believe that cure is ever possible. JMHO

  6. I’m so sorry. I’m at an age where I’ve met many people who have passed away from many diseases. The death of a child though is very difficult. “First, we mourn. Then, we work for change.” Get Pumping Insulin and Sugar Surfing into your library system. Regularly, din the powers that be to fund a national pharmacare programme. Talk about better ways to manage t1d. When I hear how young people in NL were never told how to correct a high bg on MDI, it makes me furious. If I didn’t have a pump, I think with just a cgms, I could manage my t1d’s bg with injections. I also get furious when CDEs say that cgms are inaccurate. Well, yeah, but it’s better than looking at the t1d and trying to figure out whether he’s high or low or testing 24 times a day. Anyway, kindest regards and my condolences to the family.

    1. Dianna, I am not sure who you were speaking with but our level of education here in NL was par or above many other areas. My son was dx 16 years ago and we were taught carb counting, put on MDI immediately and were able to correct. I agree however that better (and more affordable) access to CGMs would benefit everyone with type 1 diabetes. Thank you for your condolences. I will pass them along.

  7. Beautiful post. I feel so blessed to be a part of the same online community, the same family. And my heart hurts too, for our dear friend Pinki. I’m not sure that I believe in a cure any more at this point. But I hope for better technology that will take away the dangers of this disease so that no more lives are lost.

    1. I hear you Jen. I have never held my breath for a cure. I too am hoping that new technologies will be accessible and improve the lives of everyone. <3

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