It’s a disease which can eventually lead to things like blindness and kidney failure, both of which I already have.
There is a connection there, just one of multiple connections.
My nephew has a father because of modern diabetes treatments. A magical pump, carried close to the body, able to deliver the life saving insulin a diabetic needs would have been unheard of fifty years ago.
Sometimes, at night when I can’t sleep, I think about other late nights when I would talk for hours with my grandmother. Sometimes she would talk to me about her little brother.
I think about that small boy and I wish I could have reached out to him, like I did to my own little brother when he was sick.
My mother never got to meet her uncle and I never had the chance to meet my great uncle. He was only four when he passed away from diabetes, back in a time when treatments were barely available or known.
It’s twenty years since I was a sick and scared young girl, but I was lucky to have been born after kidney dialysis and transplantation had been well developed. A matter of timing. I think about that little boy, so ill, and I feel a connection that stretches through time and space. I wish I could ease his suffering. All the bits of memory my grandma told me about that time and that boy.
I think of my four-year-old nephew and I watch him colour with his markers and jump on the bed when he’s supposed to be getting ready for bed. Then that other little boy pops back into my head.
I would like to write more about this, a piece about timing and connections of strange makings. I’m not sure this is entirely my story to tell…just one of many I can’t get out of my mind when I think about all that happened in my own young world, just exactly twenty years ago. It weighs heavily on me, somehow.
And so is writing about it not the answer?
***This was a result of insomnia, a late night Facebook post I wrote and thought it fit this challenge and the corresponding letter perfectly.