The holiday season is a time to be with family and put work and school on a temporary standstill. Gifts are given, meals are shared, and quality time is spent. It’s a wonderful time of year.
Although my family lives (literally) down the street from my place, my in-laws reside 6,000 miles away as my husband is Lithuanian. I’ve spent the holidays in their neck of the woods before—it was a very white Christmas. The ground glittered with a fresh blanket of snow and the air smelled of delicious pastries. It was a Christmas straight out of a children’s book.
My husband has always known how to help me in my times of need: the altered vision with my highs, the late-night lows, and the exhaustion the next morning. I always wondered how he knew exactly what to do.
I’ve found that my in-laws and I share a common bond. Type 1 diabetes. My brother-in-law was initiated to the club at the age of five. He’s a smart kid—he mastered in biophysics for crying out loud. Although my career path in writing and his don’t necessarily intersect, we share common ground and compare notes when it comes to our health. We even compare blood sugars when I visit.
My brother-in-law is happy with his pump where I consider myself a “free diabetic” who relies on the old-school shot system. I feel less confined where he feels more controlled. He also takes an interest in learning about our ailment just like I do. In fact, he’s even very active with the type 1 community in his city. For me, it’s both fascinating and refreshing to have a family member in a different continent to relate to.
Throughout many regions of the world, we might think that there is nothing we can relate to. But at the end of the day, we’re all human. The relationship I have with my in-laws shows me that type 1 diabetes exists everywhere. Despite our differences with many other cultures—this is a bond we all share. The little things are so insignificant when you put it all into this perspective. The anger, fear, and sadness felt throughout the world is something that blocks us from coming together to solve many common issues.
My hope one day is to see the world come together and defeat the real enemies—disease and poverty. Imagine what we could do if we’d combine our know-how? This is another lesson I’ve learned from diabetes—and my brother-in-law. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. And togetherness is truly what the holidays are all about.