Monday 5 March 2012

Perspective in sad times

This time last week, almost exactly to the hour, we received a call from Colchester General Hospital to say that Andrew's Mother, Janet, was about to pass away and that Andrew and his father should head up to the hospital.
She had only been admitted the day before and during his visits to her over those two days Andrew felt she wasn't really there.
She was sleeping a lot and not very lucid.
He went to the hospital with his father to say goodbye and then returned home, sad but not devastated.
Janet had been ill and her quality of life has deteriorated a great deal over the past few months.
She was 81 years old.


The following morning Andrew was online and read the news about Ryan Schumacher, the husband of our dear friend Meri in California.
And there it was: a huge amount of perspective on our own situation.
Meri was one of the first people whose blogs I read when Frank was first diagnosed and her stories offered a great deal of support to me, all at sea with the business of managing the beast that it Type 1 Diabetes.
She helped me to be a proud D-Mama and to let nothing stop me from doing my best every day.
She is never anything but positive and supportive.
Meri is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT people in my life as the parent of a child with Diabetes.
For anyone new to the wonder that is Meri (and I am aware that most people reading my blog know her already!) let me say a few things:

Meri and Ryan have four great sons.
Three of their boys have Type 1 Diabetes.
Three, not one, three.
All the fear and hard work and finger pricks and hypos and hypers that Andrew and I deal with are dealt with by Meri and Ryan three times over.
How the woman has the energy to blog used to amaze me but I do now understand the need for it; the release that comes from putting those words down on the page and the joy and peace when comments roll in and people respond telling you they feel the same way.
Meri is always there for every other parent in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC).
She gives support constantly and asks for it when she needs it too.

So, here it is:
last Tuesday, Ryan Schumacher, Meri's husband of 19 years, was diagnosed with six cancerous brain tumours as well as other tumours in his abdomen and legs.
He is 40 years old.
Talk about perspective.
Big time.

And as we plan Janet's funeral I am also thinking constantly about Meri and Ryan and the long and scary fight that lies ahead for them and their boys.
My Mum and Dad gave me some money for The Diabetes Society last week (they meant JDRF but can never get it right!).
I have sent it to the Schumachers.
It was the only thing to do.
I am telling this story here not to point out how great I am ( I am really not as what I want to do is jump on a plane to California and help somehow!!) but to ask any of you that might be reading to check out the Schumacher's story for themselves and if moved to do so, to contribute in any way you can.
It is very possibly the only thing to do.
Love to all.
It is a sad week but may we all find peace in our hearts.


  1. Oh, Jules.

    I was just thinking about you a few minutes ago, wondering how you were doing, and how Andrew's mother was doing. And somehow, I felt she'd died. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, though I like how you described it, "sad but not devastated." 81 is a good long life.

    I didn't know Meri. But I do know cancer. How incredibly devastating for her family. I'm off to read her story.

    Love to you.

  2. My thoughts are with your family during this time of loss. Loss of a parent, no matter the age, is a difficult journey.

    Your statements about Meri are so true and I am just about broken-hearted over the struggle ahead. You wrote a very sincere tribute about a fabulous lady. What would the DOC be without her? I think most of her 'friends' feel the same and that is why so many have reached out to share the Schuhmacher story. I love how you donated and urged others to do the same.

  3. Oh sweetie, you are too kind! How very wonderful of you, in so many ways. You have a heart of gold. We are all thinking and praying for Meri and Ryan and the boys. How we all wish we could hop in a plane and go to California. Love to you my friend.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is never easy, even when we see it coming.

    Ryan's diagnosis shook up so many of us. Meri has given so much of herself to the DOC. For those of us who wish we could be with them right now, donating and keeping them in our thoughts is a way to give back. So kind of you!

  5. What a great post for an amazing family. I think all of us D-Mamas (and the entire DOC) feel the same way about Meri and Ryan as you do. Thank you for posting this.

  6. Jules I am sorry I missed this post, I just read your new one also and am happy to hear that the carnival (er funeral) went well. Losing a parent is never easy, although I don't mention it often my father passed when I was in college, it has never fully been the same for me - almost the first true reality of some major part of my life ending, first moment for me to realize that in a moment life can truly be altered forever. I hope Andrew is doing well and I am sure you and your beautiful son are there to help him along in this time. Take care and enjoy your weekend. We are celebrating Isaac's bday on Sunday also, so as he blows out his candles I'll also think of my friend just a hop skip away enjoying her Birthday, too :)

  7. i am so sorry for your loss. i'm sending love to you and andrew and his father.

    and i feel the same about meri and her family as you do, of course.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about Janet's passing and that I've not been keeping up when you've been going through such a difficult time xxx
    Perspective indeed. I will head on over to Meri's blog now.