A T1D Perspective on the Día de los Muertos Celebration

I’m new to San Antonio, Texas and have thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the culture. On November 1st and 2nd they celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which also kicks off Diabetes Awareness Month. As I researched and witnessed firsthand this beautiful ceremony a few emotions surfaced. My Type 1 diabetes diagnosis almost 38 years ago was literally a death sentence. For most of my life I’ve worn this weight alone, but my mindset has shifted with the current pandemic and political state of affairs/nightmares.

Death crosses my mind often and especially on the rare occasion I mask up to visit the grocery store or a dear friend’s home. Is this trip or social engagement worth risking my life? Some days the anxiety is crippling and I stay home, but other times think – I’m going to die one day so why not take this moment to celebrate life grocery shopping or sipping wine with friends. Does anyone else have these thoughts?

When the pandemic really started to scare me I lost it on a Facebook LIVE post. My close friends immediately came to the rescue with calls, texts, messages and offers to do whatever I needed in order for me to stay home. This experience reminded me we are never promised tomorrow and put a lot of things in perspective.

When I discovered the DOC, the social engagement taught me SO much about life with diabetes I had never even considered. When I heard about diaversaries I laughed because I thought this was ridiculous, but said what the hell and joined the festivities. Why not celebrate? Why fester and live with an angry heart? I knew this negative energy was honestly killing me so now I fully embrace celebrating my Diaversary and thank the Universe for another year on this beautiful planet.

This year I lost way too many important people in my life – dear friends whom I could not celebrate in person with close friends and loved ones. Lighting this candle is my way of honoring the following souls who lost their life in 2020.

  • Arlene – Asked the tough questions, not just because she was a justice, but because she truly cared about how I was doing.
  • Marvin – Lit up the room, never met a stranger and exited the conversation with “rock and roll”.
  • “Cuba” Kathy – Schooled me on her childhood in Cuba and wasn’t shy about her love of being an American citizen.
  • Jessica – A young mother, dear friend, and kind soul who was taken too soon. #f*ckcancer
  • Art – Life of the party, diehard Sooner fan and man who always gave me a hard time, but welcomed me into his home.

I’m truly blessed to have known these wonderful people.

I encourage you to pull out your journal or just take a moment to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us.

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