Here we are in the future, according to the old movie Back to the Future 2. Marty McFly has made it to 2015 in real time. And while many had a good chuckle on what has really come to fruition and what has not since that movie was made, I realized that for me time stopped on February 3, 2010 when my 13 year old son, Jesse, suddenly passed away due to type 1 diabetes. So instead of being a 19 year old young man today, he is still 13, alive only in our minds and our hearts. I wonder frequently who my son would be today – who I would be today – if he were still here.
So today I’m thinking about Jesse and what he would think of this “now,” the futuristic type 1 diabetes landscape, and where he fits in. And since I get to dream, I plan to dream big for him because that’s what moms do. He’s at a small out-of-state college with a huge music scene. I spend time skyping with him, asking him when he is coming home to visit, and telling him he violated the contract he signed at the age of five, promising that he would never move more than five miles away from me. He rolls his eyes. He tells me I post way too much on Facebook and asks why can’t I get a handle on Instagram and as long as we are on the social media topic, he tells me I am WAY too old to be snapchatting. I remind him that I am the coolest mom EVER, and I like to pretend to vomit rainbows and draw beards on pictures of myself and send them to him. (If you do not know what this is, ask a teenager.)
Jesse and I talk about the band that he formed – Enchilada Snowmen – and he tells me they lost their drummer so he is switching from playing guitar to drummer for a while (because he is just THAT awesome and musically versatile.) Since we are chatting music I tell him about meeting Nick Jonas at the Beyond Type 1 launch party in San Francisco. Of course, he doesn’t care nor is he impressed because he already knows Nick since Nick snowboards and so does Jesse. They’ve already done a few snowboarding Riding On Insulin camps together. And (obviously) Jesse is an elite coach for Riding On Insulin since he is now an adult and he just got back from Mt. Hood coaches’ camp with his best friend and mentor, Sean Busby. Jesse tells me Sean and he had a heated conversation as they were racing down the mountain because Sean refuses to let him become a “park rat” and tries to convince him to go on another backcountry expedition with him. As he tells me this, he swipes his long brown hair away from his brown eyes and says, “pfssssshhhhh, whatever.” He is totally crushing on Cassie Davis, a co-coach snowboarding super babe with type 1. (Again, this is my fantasy future, and I’m giving him a good one!)
Jesse asks me how my job is going at BRAVA magazine because I don’t work at Riding On Insulin in this future. Instead I have continued on as marketing director at the magazine. He is still super excited about my Ironman finish this year because somehow I have to believe that the universe was still going to make me do that! I reflect back in this future on how exciting it was to have all three of my kids at my swim start, hugging me, telling me I could do it, telling me they love me and are proud of me. And I get to envision Jesse, just this once, at the finish line telling me he knew I could do it.
Would he be wearing an Omnipod? A T-Slim? Would he have finally given in to wearing a CGM even though he considered it just another tool that makes him look like the control panel of an airliner? I’m very happy to have the Share app on my phone, monitoring Jesse’s blood sugar trends while he is off at college. He would fight it, but he would finally giggle, relent, and put on that Dexcom CGM. But, no diabetes alert dog for this kid, no way. Diabetes for him could not be so noticeable, as it would interfere with the babes.
And when I read my own story – his story – it comes down to this: Jesse’s life, like these small paragraphs about who I believe he would be as a man today – is that diabetes, in his mind, is just a small part of him. And I am so proud of that.
Now as I turn back to reality, I feel happy to have seen Jesse, if only as a vision, as future Jesse. And if I know anything for certain about Jesse, I know he would end this fantasy with, “Mom…, stop talking about diabetes.”