We have just come back from a weekend away with Mike's family, celebrating both his parents turning seventy. They did this in style, by running all five grandchildren ragged on the tennis court, seventy, pah!
When we managed to get them sitting still for a minute, we did a little reflecting, as you do at these sort of events, and Mike's Mum told me about how she felt when Mike was first diagnosed. In a nutshell, she blamed herself, she still does. What did she do wrong? What could she have done differently? Did she let him eat too many biscuits as a child? That may sound like a silly question to ask yourself, but from what I hear, he did eat a LOT of biscuits. There are a lot of 'what if's' and a nagging belief that there must be a way that this could have been prevented, some way in which she could have protected her child. No matter what we said, nothing could convince her that this was entirely out of her hands.
To make matters worse, a relative reacted to the news of Mike's diagnosis, by telling his Mum that 'No-one will take him on now...' inferring that Mike would never marry or have a long term partner. I can't imagine how that must have made her feel. Anyone who knows Mike will know how ridiculous that is, had I not snatched him up plenty of others would have happened along, and if he was more self-assured, he'd have had a queue.
Now she worries about all the grandchildren, which one will get it? She worries that they eat too much sugar, though compared to most children their age they eat hardly any, and as Mike pointed out, that would be a more likely cause of developing type 2 diabetes than type 1. It makes no difference, it's a worry and worries sit like a tumour, hopefully remaining benign, but always present and full of potential.
It's the 'out of control' feeling that makes it so hard, the irreversibleness of it, as a parent you can't say 'there there', put a plaster on it and make it better. What Mike's Mum does do, is make the best ever, diabetic friendly, Christmas pudding, among a lot of other things, and I am talking BEST EVER. That, I think, is the closest you can get to a 'there there' and a plaster, and it works for us.