Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It makes me put my hand over my heart

While standing for The National Anthem at one of Holden's basketball games last week I noticed that nearly every one was standing with their hand over thier heart.

It wasn't too many years ago that this wasn't such a common occurance. Yes, people stood in silence as our anthem was played, but usually there were only a few people with thier hands over their hearts. To be honest, I normally just stood with my hands at my sides.

On September 11, 2001 that all changed. When the planes hit the twin towers and thousands of people lost their lives we were reminded what is really important. We were reminded of how fleeting life can be. We were reminded how great our country really is. I think many of us had forgotten.

We just took for granted that we were safe. We thought we were untouchable. We had become comfortable as a world power.

I didn't know a single person killed on 9/11. Yet, I cried and I prayed for the families of those who had lost loved ones. It didn't matter that I didn't know anyone personally. What mattered is they were one of us and they were hurting.

Since 9/11 I have not stood for The National Anthem without putting my hand over my heart. I've even shed a few tears when I've heard the words: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.O say! does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

9/11 reminded me to put my hand over my heart and show respect for my flag and my country.

Recently I had let myself get lulled into diabetes complacency. Riley is OK. He's happy. He doesn't have any complications.

I hadn't really thought about a cure much lately. Yes, I still prayed for one every day. But, I think I had started thinking that if Riley does have diabetes for the rest of his life it will be OK.

Last week I went to a post and I read this story. My hand immediately flew to my heart.

Once again I cried and prayed for people I'll never know.

One of our own had been attacked. But, this time it wasn't by terrorists. This time it was by a disease, a disease that has taken up residence in my son's body, a disease that kills people every day.

How did I let myself forget that?

Do you know how many parents of newly diagnosed kids that I've told "it will get easier"? And, I'm not lying. It will get easier. But, it won't get any better.

It won't get any better until there is a cure. Sure there are bettter tools now and I'm sure there will be better tools in the future. But, the disease will still be there. The disease will still affect your kidneys, your heart, your nerves, your emotions.

I can't believe I had almost forgotten what is important. I can't believe I was ready to say Riley's OK no matter what.

Since I read that story I've written a few letters and I've joined a few message boards. I have a renewed sense of responsibility not only to my son but to anyone who deals with this disease every day.

It is up to us to spread awareness of this disease. But, we can't do that until we acknowledge how bad and how deadly it really is.

I will stand with my hand over my heart until a cure is found. I will not stop fighting. I will not stop praying. I will not stop raising money.

My son's life depends on it.


Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

What a wonderful post.

Shannon said...

This was so well written and every bit of it true.

Donna said...

Penny - I'm right there with you on the National Anthem thing. I always get tears in my eyes when I hear it now. I had a schoolmate from high school that was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11. Everytime I hear the Anthem, I see the picture in my mind of them hanging that huge flag over the hole at the Pentagon building & I remember him.

This was a great post.

k2 said...

Great post on all counts Penny.