I’m weepy, sleepless, and compulsively checking Maya’s blood sugar during the night. I think I am in mourning for a child I never met. His name was Jesse and he died months ago, but I found out only yesterday. Jesse was 13 years old, and like my daughter, was diagnosed with type one diabetes at age three.
Two years ago, when Maya was diagnosed, I had one of those brief, random contacts that happen over the internet, with Jesse’s mother. On a sleepless night of checking blood sugars and worrying, I posted something on a diabetes website; she responded by offering the comfort and solidarity of her experience. I only even remembered this brief contact and read her article out of curiosity, because two years ago her last name made me smile. Alswager. All Swagger. She’s All Swagger, I thought to myself. Actually, she was very nice. And generous. And how can something like this happen to someone I “know”?
I spend so much of my life force trying to dominate blood sugars, trying to help Maya live a “normal” life, trying to take this disease in stride, trying to convince myself and everyone else it’s not so bad, that there is no need for fear. I disregard the fact that children DIE from type one diabetes. Beautiful, vibrant children who are well loved and apparently healthy. Until they’re not. Children just like Maya.
Rest in peace, Jesse.