I would have held you closer if i knew you weren't going to stay ..........

It was1984 on my first day of kindergarten when I met a bright vivacious tall girl with the most beautiful long hair id ever seen, her name was Karen.

3 years later we were in primary school and Karen was away sick for a couple of weeks, no one knew why, soon enough she returned, and her mother Rose spoke to the class explaining that Karen had Type 1 Diabetes and that from now on she would be testing her blood regularly and injecting herself with insulin at school.

From that day on Diabetes became something that was in my life, through our primary school years, our high school years and into our young adult hood when we became house mates. 

As lifelong friends, we embarked on many adventures all in which she so graciously managed the challenges of her disease. Through hard times, all the highs and lows she took it all in her stride.

 

To this day I do not once recall a time she complained. In fact, despite all her struggles it was Karen that kept me in check throughout our wild years, she was my strength, strong and fearless and ALWAYS there to pick up my broken pieces.

As life moved faster, we were off chasing our dreams and I became pregnant with my first son Jet. On the night of November 23rd 2007 while driving me home after a friend’s wedding Karen told me of her dreams to settle down and become a mother too. Excited to think of our journeys together to come I kissed her goodbye and jumped out the car.

This was the last time I saw my dear friend as that night at the young age of 27 Karen passed away in her sleep, T1D took my best friend.

 

The following weeks, months and years were difficult to face, and I thought of my friend often. 6 years later to my shock the symptoms of the high sugars I remembered her having came flooding back to me as I noticed them in my 3-year-old son, that night he was diagnosed with T1D. 

 

All I could think about was Karen, how this could be happening, how could it be coincidence? Was I being punished? Could I have done more for her? The thoughts didn't stop for a long time.

As time has passed and I have been caring for my own T1D child for many years I can truly say I wish I knew more about what my friend was silently going through for all those years. I wish I understood better, the seriousness of what was happening to her body and the pain I now know she felt inside. I would have been more supportive; I wish I had been more protective of her when others would judge. I didn't know what you were really going through and for that Im sorry, so for this I make a promise to cultivate compassionate love and kindness to all the children and families ‘Just Like Us’ and I tribute it to you my friend.

Dear Karen, 

I promise to keep my boy safe & do my very best to stay true to my promise & support many children and families living with T1D. You should be by my side again as you always were when I had a plan  Thank you for 23 years of cherished friendship and the unconditional love & support you gave me which helped shape the woman I am today. I will carry the strength and bravery you showed me and honour your memory in all that I do.

I love you,

Love Sarah

xx