Twenty-eight years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It’s a moment in time that is so jumbled up with other things – my grandfather had been in a horrible car accident a few months prior to my diagnosis, my older cousin died in a car accident just after my diagnosis – there are memories of people in my family crying and there were so many reasons. Vague memories of being in Rhode Island Hospital for two weeks, the kid with the spider bite, and practicing injections on an orange serve as markers on the timeline of my diagnosis, but clear memories don’t exist.
Diabetes has always been there. It doesn’t get easier with time, but it does become more routine and less mentally intrusive. Either that, or I’ve just become used to the intrusion.
I remember September 11, 2001 very clearly. I was working in a bank in Newport, RI right near the naval base. It was my first job after college, and the first plane hit the WTC as I was driving over the Newport Bridge to work. My coworkers told me about the first plane when I arrived at the bank. The security guard at the bank told us when the second plane hit. I remember calling my father because I didn’t know what else to do, and he told me it was going to be okay. His voice was calm. Despite his inability to actually influence the events that were unfolding across the country, his words were reassuring and made me feel safe.
I feel very lucky that I didn’t experience personal loss on that day. My heart goes out to those who did.
The nation is in mourning and I mourn with my country. Simultaneously, I mark the anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis. I always think about people whose birthdays are on September 11th, or whose wedding anniversaries are September 11th. I think about the people who lost so much on September 11, 2001. It’s a day where I feel conflicted thinking about diabetes, but it’s impossible not to apply personal bias to life.
I think it’s a day to close the damn computer. To not read every news article and overwhelmingly sad bit of news being shared. It feels like a day to be present, to remember to live.