I met Mary twice. Although one time was really more of a sighting. I was walking down the street in Manhattan when all of a sudden she appeared walking past me. I remember because, after all, it was Mary Tyler Moore.
The same Mary Tyler Moore I spent my lonely high school years with along with Rhoda on the groundbreaking TV sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore show. TV Mary was loved for her come-back-up-from-being-knocked-down, can-do spirit. The real Mary showed much of the same spirit, for decades a JDRF advocate for type 1 diabetes (T1D). At times people said, “Isn’t she too old?” But she widened the circle; she showed the world T1D wasn’t just a disease of children. (A lovely tribute by T1D mom Moira McCarthy).
Moore got T1D in her thirties. She lived with it for almost 50 years, along with complications like vision loss. Yet, I never heard her grumble.
The first time I met Mary was at a book signing she was doing at Barnes & Noble. I went. When I reached her to have her sign her book, I was awful cheeky. I handed her my own book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes. “Please,” I said, “allow me to share a gift with you. I hope you like it.” She was gracious. It was a moment.
Book signing for Growing Up Again
Gifting my book to Ms Moore
Life is moments. As you get older you realize how quickly they go. This week, after returning from 18 days in Israel, I have a funeral to go to today. A friend just lost her mother. Two nights ago my husband and I attended a memorial service for another friend’s mother who passed away. I heard a long time ago, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” If only we can remember in the everyday moments.
Since I’m sharing a flourishing approach to living with, and treating, diabetes, ‘ among the many articles I’ve read about Moore’s death, this spoke to me. The original lyrics to the theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore show (Love is all around) were – “How will you make it on your own?/This world is awfully big, and girl, this time you’re all alone” They were changed to reflect TV Mary’s persona of optimism – “Who can turn the world on with her smile?/Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?”
it also reflected Ms Moore herself. A history of two alcoholic parents, alcohol abuse herself, her son died young due to either an accident or suicide when handling a gun, she had two failed marriages, and a series of failed TV programs after she, Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou, Ted, Murray, Georgette and Sue Ann huddled as the lights went out at WJM Minneapolis for the last time. Mary was resilient and a fighter.
With love, Mary. Thanks for making us laugh and thanks for fighting for us. Long before celebrities exposed themselves you kept a steady light shining on this unseen, misunderstood disease. You will be missed.