Testing, Testing...1,2,3

Dealing with the tests life throws your way.

Michelle Alswager BioBy Michelle Alswager

April 2012 — We all feel we've been given our fair share of tests. Third grade and you forgot to study your cursive "y." Sixth grade and you really want to win that spelling bee. Eleventh grade and you take the ACT and score a 26. Ugh, right?

I happen to think life is a test. I've grown up enough in the last two years to look around and realize that I am not the only person who has lost someone important. I mean, come on. Life is a ticking time bomb, really, isn't it? We all skate through life singing la-la-la...we get married, we see our babies come into the world, we watch them run through sprinklers. We never think of that dreaded aspect of life — loss.

Today I think of my friend Bryan. You see, I graduated high school with Bryan in a small city in Wisconsin called Janesville. You need not remember that. I barely do. Twenty years later, I ran into Bryan at our high school reunion. When I say I ran into him, it's not to say I remembered him. I just met this cool guy with a goatee and lots of tattoos. He was happy. He had a growing family in SoCal. Cool, dude, I like you.

We became friends on Facebook. I vividly remember in November seeing pictures of him holding up his new son. I remember grinning for this guy I went to high school with and didn't remember, but now we're Facebook friends so it's all cool, yo. When Jesse died on 2/3/10 (right now we're embarking on our two year anniversary, but who's counting), I remember getting a solemn message from Byran and his wife that said, "Amy and I are so sorry to read this, let us know what we can do." Two people I really only knew from Facebook sending their love across the miles. Compassion, because they had four children.

I didn't read it at the time. I was absorbed in my grief. After all, it was Wednesday. And Wednesday would never be the same as far as I could imagine. It would always be the day my son was ripped from me. A week to the day after Jesse died, I read Bryan's tragic and all-too familiar Facebook status update announcing that his beautiful wife, Amy, had been killed in a car accident, leaving him alone to care for a family on his own. His fate was mine. And I grieved. For him. Had she not just posted her grief for me? Was I not just seeing the ticking time bomb in action?

Bryan is not part of our d-world. And yet, he is. He has become a staple in talking to those of us who have experienced loss these last couple of years. He's family. He cares about who we are and what we do. So it is no surprise that I will be seeing him in San Diego when I embark on the ADA Tour de Cure as part of the KSON Radio team (formerly from my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin). Oh sure, we will compare tattoos (he is anxious to see my mile-23 Ride to Cure Diabetes tattoo), but there will also be reflection and love for life (and, I won't lie, tequila and serious post-ride Bloody Marys).

Because, as Peter Gabriel said in his song "I Grieve" — Life carries on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...that's my point.

Read more of Michelle Alswager's columns here


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: July 12, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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