When blue candles are posted on social media profiles, the hearts of us in the diabetes community stop. Blue candles for people with diabetes are symbols used to mourn someone who has lost their fight. Sadly we seem to see these images pop up too often across the online community.
I don’t tell my son when someone has passed away because of diabetes. I rarely light blue candles on my Facebook profile. There are too many stories of children dying in their sleep, being misdiagnosed, or rationing their insulin to lethal extremes. I don’t write about half of the stories that I hear. I can’t.
I read about these children–whether they are fourteen or forty, they are still someone’s child. My heart breaks for the parents and the families. I hug my boys a little closer. I pray a little harder for a cure.
I know that children die crossing the street, riding in cars and playing in swimming pools. As parents, we do our very best to protect them. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. We put them in car seats and demand that they were seat belts. We teach them water safety and we warn them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. All in all we do our very best to guide them and pray that they will be okay.
As parents of children with diabetes, we do all of that “normal” stuff and then we do a little more. We work to help them to recognize highs and lows. Blood checks and CGM monitoring is done as often as we can. We keep tight control to prevent complications. There is also the fear of going too far and having to wake to a child who has passed away because of a low.
These fears are real. They do not keep me up all night but they do wake me up at 2am to check on my child. They do not stop me from letting my son enjoy his life but it does make me check his pockets for glucose and his cell phone when he goes out.
As a parent, I cannot protect either of my children 24/7 for the rest of their lives. I wish I could. As much as I love watching them grow, think and spread their wings, part of me craves for the days past when I held them tight and could keep them safe in my arms.
As my son ages, I still remind him to bolus. I pray he is alert enough to handle his late night lows. As a parent, I will continue to worry. I will pray for those families who have had blue candles lit for their loved ones with diabetes. Each day we will all hope for a cure so that one day there will no longer be a need for blue candles for people with diabetes who have passed on. They can just be something pretty lit up in the living room and not a reminder of a life lost to diabetes.
Download the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugars so that you know what to look out for.