On December 7, 1941, my mother, and the couple she rented a room from, were listening to the radio.
Mom said in her memoir, ‘We heard that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and we would be going to war. Needless to say, it had a very sobering effect. Our minds raced trying to figure out the many changes our lives would take.’
The Japanese hadn’t just blown up ships in Pearl Harbor, but essentially the lives of everyone in every city and town and burg in the country. Life would never be the same again, ever. Tears were shed as she and others thought about those at Pearl Harbor and as they anticipated the changes to come.
A Pearl Harbor moment again 57 years later
I had never faced anything truly catastrophic in my life until Monday, December 7, 1998. As I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office with my two daughters waiting for the nurse, Sarah, to check my 10-year old’s fasting blood sugar, I cherished my last moments of purposeful blissful ignorance. I pushed the possibility of diabetes out of my mind for just a few more minutes.
I’d had a phone call the Friday afternoon before that Katie’s non-fasting blood sugar was elevated. I was told to bring her in Monday for a fasting blood sugar. I got off the phone and cried and prayed that it was a mistake. I let Katie eat whatever she wanted that weekend, knowing in the back of my mind that life would likely change on Monday.
My Pearl Harbor moment
Like the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, this news had a sobering effect on me. My mind raced trying to figure out how life would change and what Katie’s future would hold. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried some tears while talking to Sarah.
I pulled myself together enough to leave the doctor’s office with instructions of what to do next. Katie could see I’d been crying. She said later that she knew it must be serious if I was crying. She even wondered if she was dying, but she didn’t ask.
Why we need to know our family history
Life change forever for all our family, just like everyone’s lives changed in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. My mom and her friends and family got tough and overcame their fears so they could face their new lives. They proved themselves worthy of being called The Greatest Generation.
I cried off and on but I got tough, too, on that Pearl Harbor Day in 1998. I was blessed to be the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of resilient and determined people. I’d seen their toughness lived out and heard stories of those who’d already passed; and I followed suit. And so did Katie.
Life goes on
First I learned to manage Katie’s diabetes and then she did. Type 1 diabetes is autoimmune disease that requires insulin every day. The body no longer makes insulin. There is no pill to fix it and no cure yet. Blood sugar has to be checked several times a day and carbohydrate intake has to be monitored. Illness and exercise and stress can make the blood sugar crazy. It takes constant vigilance to live with type 1 diabetes.
Hence our lives were changed forever.
Every year on Pearl Harbor Day, I remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how it changed everyone’s lives forever in 194. And I remember my child’s life, and mine, being changed forever in 1998.
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