I've been sitting here staring at a blank screen. Wondering where I even begin to tell you this story.
This story I don't really want to tell. Because that makes it too real. And I don't want any part of this tale to be real.
I've deleted it twice now because no words seem quite right.
I guess I'll start at the beginning. Before diabetes. Before the DOC. Before Sweetpea. Before marriage.
If you've been reading for a while, you may know that J and I met online. 9 years ago. We talked through emails for a weeks - months - before actually meeting in person. When we DID meet IRL for the first time, it was like meeting an old friend. Not a stranger. We knew each other. Our connection had been made and in many ways was stronger and deeper than it ever would have been had we met in a "traditional" way.
So I shouldn't be surprised - now - when some of my very best, my very closest friends are ones I've never met in person.
I have a group of Mamas that I cherish. Most of us have never met IRL. It doesn't matter. We have been through good times and bad together. We have laughed and cried and yelled and laughed some more.
We are different. We live all over the country. We use different supplies, different pumps, different ways of managing D. We have different religions and even different beliefs. It STILL doesn't matter.
We have a bond that is strong as steel. Forged through shared experiences, shared emotions, shared grief and pain and shared love for our kids. Through the "same" that D brings in our lives. Through knowing that someone has your back - no matter what.
Video chats, IM's, PM's, emails, texts, phone calls, comments... pretty much every kind of social media you can think of... we are there for each other. No matter what.
Meri is one of those friends.
Fast forward to Labor Day weekend.
If you read my last post, you know that my husband, J, had a heart attack in the early morning hours of September 2nd.
These Mamas were the one of the first calls I made. And they were there. Misty was there to watch Sweets for me. The others were there to pray. To call. To text. To love.
Once J's artery was unclogged and stented up, he was taken to ICU. Around 7 am, his meds started kicking in and he fell asleep. So I went home to catch a nap and so I could be there when Sweets woke up that morning.
I was back at the hospital around noon. There's not much to do in ICU. So I passed the time texting and updating and responding to sweet posts on Facebook while J drifted in and out of sleepy consciousness.
And then, MY heart skipped a beat. The air felt as though it was sucked out of the room.
My dear friend Meri's sweet husband had passed away after a long, difficult battle with cancer.
I'd been holding it together until then. But in that moment.... Sitting next to MY husband in his ICU hospital bed... Hooked up to countless tubes, Watching his heart rate and the pacer kick in as his heart needed support... it was too much. It was too real. And I completely lost my composure.
That's the good thing about ICU... no one looks twice at you if you're crying.
I cried for Meri. For Ryan. For their boys. And I cried for us. For the fear I had that something would or could happen to my sweet husband.
I spent the remainder of that day trying desperately to hold it together. Unsure who I was crying for. Hurting for my friend. Afraid for my husband. Grieving for the incredible loss one family was suffering. Praising God that J was doing well.
And throughout the day... the sound of lullabies. Signaling the birth of a baby. One after another after another. New life.
An incredible day of contrasts. Grief, pain, sorrow, thankfulness, relief, fear, love, and the miracle of a new babies entering the world.
I still feel a bit shell shocked. I still shake my head and think, "What just happened?". I'm still scared. Still thankful.
And I'm still mourning for and with my friend.
Just like with diabetes, I wish so badly I could take the hurt and pain and fear away from her and her boys. But I can't.
All I can do is be there. Even if it's virtually. And support her.
This is the best way I know how....
Life is expensive. Just living is expensive. Kids are expensive. FOUR kids is cray cray expensive. Diabetes is expensive. THREE KIDS WITH DIABETES is expensive. Cancer is expensive. Treatments and therapies and drugs and office visits... it adds up. and up. and up.
Meri's looking for a job (so if you're looking for an incredible writer -- yeah, snatch her up QUICK!). Her first priority is taking care of her boys.
She's incredible. Have I mentioned that? Her strength and faith and love never cease to amaze me. Any company, any person would be insane not to hire in two seconds flat.
But you know what it's like... Times are tough. So even if you have incredible faith... it's scary when your four children are relying on you to take care of them. It's scary when you are suddenly the breadwinner of the family. When it's your job to provide. When the bills just keep coming and coming and coming. And when you are still grieving a tremendous loss.
I believe strongly in paying it forward. I believe that God wants us to help one another and that He truly means what He said in Matthew 25:40: "Whatsoever you do for the least of my people, you also do unto me".
We, the family and friends of the Schuhmacher's, are joining together to raise money to help with expenses that come with all they have faced and are facing. If you are able to donate - in ANY amount - please click this link and pay it forward.
If I've learned anything in the past few weeks it's that you just never know when it's going to be YOU.
And when it is, none of us would make it through without the support of our family, friends, and the kindness of strangers doing whatever they can to share some love.