I haven’t been blogging much lately. I have been busy, but that’s not really the reason. I tend to blog when my emotions are running amok. And I guess my emotions have been in check all summer. Despite some CRAZY highs all summer, diabetes has been playing fairly nicely at our house recently.
But for the past 3 days my emotions are on over-drive and I just have to write. And I have to be honest here and tell you that I don’t really have the right to be emotional about this one. And it’s not even about diabetes, directly anyway. I mean, a woman whom I don’t really know, except virtually, and have never met or had a conversation with, who lives thousands of miles away, lost her husband to cancer on Monday.
Doesn’t seem like it should affect me at all really.
Except that it does.
That woman and I are connected in a way that I can only share with a handful (okay, maybe a few more than a handful) of people, none of whom are my family members or friends.
That woman’s name is Meri Schuhmacher and she is kind of my hero, although she doesn’t know it, and if she knew how I felt about her, and how I stalk her blog, she would thank God that she lived thousands of mile away and then she would probably call the police!
I have talked about Meri to my friends, family and coworkers ad nauseam. And I have written about her and linked to her blog, multiple times in my own posts. I referenced her indirectly in “Did I Ever Tell You You’re My Hero?”. Gave her blog a shout-out in “I Have No Friends”, and shamelessly pimped her blog out not once, but twice, in “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Son”.
Her blog was one of the first ones I found after Medium was diagnosed. And honestly, immediately after stumbling upon it, I wanted to forget I ever found it. I had just fallen into the deep, dark pit of despair (DDPOD for short) and she was my worst nightmare come true. Not one, not two, but THREE boys with type 1 diabetes. I have three boys. The thought of my other two boys developing T1D was more than I could handle. I closed the lid of the laptop faster than a teenager getting caught looking at porn after I read her story.
But I came back, time and time again. Not in the “horrible train wreck that you can’t look away from” way, but in the, “this is the most humble, positive, real, genuine woman” kind of way. I felt a pull to her and her words. She comforted me in a way that people I have known my whole life couldn’t. It was a kind of “she so knows what I am going through” sisterhood that is rare and unique, but vital to anyone who goes through something like a child’s life-threatening diagnosis. I have relied on her words time and time again over the past 8 months, and she doesn’t even really know who I am. In fact, hundreds of others rely on her wit and wisdom to help navigate the diabetic waters. She is like the Matriarch of the DOC (diabetes online community). She has blazed the path of raising diabetic kids. She’s not the first to do it, but probably the first to be so transparent and accessible to the rest of the world.
About a month after Medium was diagnosed, Meri posted that her husband’s cancer had returned in the form of metastasized melanoma. Over the next six months I watched (or rather, read) her face cancer and life with three type 1 kids in a raw, honest, humorous, loving and faithful way. Despite the dismal statistics of her husband’s diagnosis, Meri championed on as only Meri can. She would blog to the world about her fear and her moments of despair, and then turn right around and announce that she and her family were choosing hope, that there was no other option than to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
It was truly amazing to witness her fortitude and her surrendering to God’s will in such a dark time.
For the past three days, I have been struggling with my anger on behalf of my friend (it’s weird how I call her my friend when we don’t really know each other, but that is how she makes you feel, like she is your friend).
Unlike so many other couples, she and Ryan were actually in love with each other and best friends. Why couldn’t cancer take someone else’s husband, someone who didn’t really love their husband?
Meri was already dealt the crappy hand of having THREE kids with a life-threatening chronic disease with no cure. Why couldn’t cancer go pick on someone else who didn’t have such a full plate?
Meri chose hope and remained positive, put her faith in God and believed in a miracle. And for what? So cancer could rob her of precious years left with her beloved and rip her family apart?
And what about the boys? Four boys are left without a father. Meri has to somehow help her children grieve and hold them when they are falling apart. But she has to grieve, too. And what happens when she needs to fall apart? And let’s not forget about diabetes. I can’t imagine how crazy the boys’ blood sugars are right now with all of the stress.
I feel guilty that my husband is healthy and that I fight with him. I feel guilty that I only have one child with T1D. I feel guilty that I don’t have to face this life alone.
I have read hundreds of Facebook and blog comments written to Meri over the last three days. And they all say the same thing. How sorry everyone is. How they wish they could take the pain away. How there are no words.
Yes there are words.
IT’S NOT FAIR!, THIS IS WRONG!, THIS SUCKS! are a few G-rated ones that come to mind.
Watching this happen to this family has made me question my faith. I don’t know why this has happened to them. I know that life goes on, and people eventually pull themselves up by the bootstraps and carry on.
But for right now, I can’t stop thinking about them. And I can’t stop being angry.
And if you can and you feel it in your heart to help financially support Meri and her boys, as Ryan was their sole source of income, please do so through this link.
This is why we love you Danielle. You empathize with us and love deeply. You’re a fighter. You come out swinging. I’d pick you to be on my team, mess and all, any day. I’m proud to call you friend. By the way, it’s ok to question your faith. It doesn’t make you bad, it makes you human. Why do bad things happen to good people? I really don’t understand it either. All I know is God loves me. When everyone around me fails or leaves, He never will. And today that’s enough. Love you girl.