Imagine, for a moment, that Diabetes was a chronic illness that couldn't be controlled. It's hard for any Diabetic to imagine it because we have, in our own personal power, the ability to sustain & live successfully with a chronic illness. We have the choice. We all are pretty certain that Diabetes will be the cause of death. The thing that will eventually wear our bodies down until it just can't take it anymore. But, with proper care, we can live long, full & wonderful lives. For that, we are lucky. We may not be lucky to have a chronic illness, no. But, we are lucky to have this particular one, as opposed to many other chronic illnesses. Many other chronic illnesses that take that choice away.
Notice I say 'illness' and not 'disease'. That is also my choice.
Now, back to imagining. Imagine living a life that, deep down, you know will be destroyed by chronic illness. How would you live? How would your attitude be? Would you be able to smile? Would you be able to laugh? Would you be able to maintain hope? Would you dream? Would you be able to be an amazing person in spite of the hand life dealt you? I'm not gonna lie, it would be a struggle for me. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second would be a struggle.
Recently, we lost my best friend's daughter to Cystic Fibrosis. She was 17. She was my 'Love Bug'. I'm crying as I write this, a week later, because this beautiful, young woman was everything I would hope to be like given the same situation. She was someone who inspired me when I started to feel depressed about my own chronic illness. She was someone who everyone should aspire to be like, whether child, teen or adult. Yes. I believe that.
She was amazing. Not amazing because I know her. Not amazing because she's the child of my best friend of 26 years. Not amazing because I love her. Amazing because of everything she was and amazing because of how she chose to live her life. She was brave, hopeful, charming, bright, funny, full of love and full of smiles. Even though she was afraid, as everyone would be, she handled her life with a grace and beauty that was indescribable.
A grace & beauty that is rare. A grace & beauty that everyone should be lucky enough to embrace. A grace & beauty that I wish more teens her age had. That I wish more people had. A grace & beauty that made this world, yours & mine, a better place.
I am a hopeful person. I am someone who believes in miracles. I am someone who wants good to win over bad. I am someone who wants life to be fair. I am someone who protects & loves with every fiber of my being. I am someone who doesn't want to see the people she loves shattered.
And...yet...I couldn't protect. I couldn't protect this beautiful young woman and I couldn't protect her beautiful mother. I refused to believe this would happen and I refused to give up hope.
My heart is broken....but imagine, if you will, the heart of my dearest friend.
There is nothing else I choose to share because Love Bug didn't want sympathy. She didn't want anyone to see her as someone with an illness. She just wanted to be seen as someone. That's it. A teenager, a young lady, a person. She also wanted her privacy and I shall respect that.
Please visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. Volunteer, donate, support, take part in finding a cure for this devastating disease.
Because no parent should ever have to outlive their child.