I was trying to remember when I first heard about diabetes – before it attacked our family that is. I can actually go all the way back to elementary school in Kentucky (the Stone Age), about 3rd grade I think. I had a friend, who must have been very important at the time – but for some reason I can only remember her first name now – Lydia. Lydia had to eat sugar free snacks, which tasted terrible! I can remember thinking her mom was strange because she would stand and watch us play with this sad little smile on her face. I think Lydia must have moved away because I have no memory of her in 4th grade or beyond.
Isn’t the human brain an enigma? I mean, why can I remember the terrible taste of the sugarless cookies and sugar-free Jello; and the way her mother seemed so sad and strange to me, and yet I can’t remember her last name or when she moved away. I remember that Lydia had shiny black hair and very pale skin; and I remember that she was very thin, very pretty and very nice.
Looking back, the thing that sticks with me above all else is the fact that I now completely understand that look on her mom’s face. She was happy and sad all at the same time as she watched her daughter play; only the parent of a child with a chronic illness can understand that feeling.
I think about Lydia a lot now. I wonder what became of her. I would love to be able to sit down with her today, in our 40+ year old bodies, and share our journeys. I would also like to tell her that I now love red sugar-free jello, but I’m still not a fan of sugarless cookies.