Last January, our dear friend jrtpup passed away and it really shocked our community. It is always hard to lose someone close to you and when it happens suddenly it can be really hard to find personal closure. At the time our community poured out our feelings and memories in a long discussion. A service was scheduled for this last Saturday (June 21st) and I wanted to personally be there at the service.


So I drove up Saturday to the service for jrtpup It was a long trip, but I'm really glad I went. I was joined by Donna Hill who is not only on the board of the Diabetes Hands Foundation but also a long time member. The service was attended by a very diverse group of friends and family, some who traveled pretty far to be there. jrtpup’s daughter Hillary and one of her sons were there as well as. The service was really quite touching. Many of us knew jrtpup as someone who reached out to us at TuDiabetes. She made us feel special, but who also made us feel like we were responsible for our position in life. Clearly, the community here at TuDiabetes was very important to her after she was diagnosed, but what was surprising is that the jrtpup that we all knew was this way all through her life. Many friends and family said the same things. She reached out to her adoptive parents support group, to her cancer support group, to her grief group and to all of us.  Donna read a wonderfully touch letter from Manny and the community here.   Perhaps someone from DHF can share it here.


One of the really nice things at the memorial service was a photo montage. I took a couple of pictures of them, there were a number of them of jrtpup through her life and it was really striking how recognizable she always was. It was clearly jrtpup I know my picture of me at younger ages, particularly as a child bear no resemblance to my current appearance. There were also a number of pictures of her friends from TuD. Pictures from when she went to the meet up in Philadelphia in 2012 (shown below).  Then when we were at AADE 2013, there was a really nice picture of Mila, Manny, jrtpup and me in front of the Diabetes Hands Foundation booth. And then there were pictures of when she met up with Manny in NY for a visit with jrtpup and her brother and sister in-law in 2013.


I’m glad I was able to be there. jrtpup was a good friend. We didn’t always appreciate how strong she was as a person, she battled many things in her life and she came through it with a grace. And with each obstacle she found healing, happiness and a purpose for life through here wide group of supportive friends in family. I’ll always remember the animated way that jrtpup would talk about her interactions with the community here. It gave her immense joy to feel like she was able to help someone. And that is perhaps the best lesson that I learned from jrtpup Having a chronic life threatening condition like diabetes can leave you mentally damaged, depressed, burned out and feeling like your life is without purpose. But when you reach out to others in the community and when you help others you can heal yourself and find a real purpose in life.


I’ll always miss jrtpup, but I know she will always be up there smiling down us.

Views: 163

Tags: Donna, Manny, jrtpup, memorial, memories

Comment by BadMoonT2 on June 24, 2014 at 10:11am

Thanks for posting this Brian. Every time I see her Avatar or her picture I realize how much I still miss her. She left a hole in the community that can never really be filled, the best we can do is to follow her example and try to help those who come here for help, advice and support.

Comment by Doris D on June 24, 2014 at 11:11am

Thanks for posting this Brian! she felt like a mother to me! glad u repersente loved her with all my heart

Comment by David (dns) on June 24, 2014 at 11:24am

Thanks for being there, Brian, on behalf of those of us who couldn't. And thanks for reporting so elegantly.

I learned more from jrtpup than I can clearly express, but if one single thing stands out, it's what you mentioned: the importance of helping others instead of brooding on your own situation, and the immense satisfaction that comes from it.

I will always miss her and the priceless gift of her friendship. And I will never be able to cease paying it forward.

Comment by Trudy on June 24, 2014 at 11:42am

jrtpup and I talked about diabetes, of course, but my best memories are of our "talking dogs". I spoke of my Golden Retrievers and she spoke of her beloved Jack Russel Terriers--our successes and failures in the dog sports, our dogs' health, their personalities, their escapades... The Jack Russell Terrier community do doubt misses Barbara as much as we here at TuDiabetes miss her.

Thanks Brian and Donna for representing Tudiabetes, and thanks to Manny for his letter. I am most interested in reading Manny's letter.

Comment by Corinna on June 24, 2014 at 12:20pm

Thanks for reporting back Brian.

I wasn't able to be there in-person, but I did take a moment on Saturday to remember the wonderful person Barbara was. Even now I miss her very much.

Comment by curlysarah on June 24, 2014 at 12:25pm

Brian,

Thank you so much for being there. She was on my mind this weekend more than usual. What a beautiful person she was. A true inspiration to me and a lot of us here at TuD.

Sarah

Comment by Emily Coles on June 24, 2014 at 12:50pm

Is till come across e-mails, PMs, texts... from pup all the time.  It makes me happy and sad at the same time.  She was a real go-to support for so many of us, even as she was going through her own unimaginable gauntlet.  Amazing woman!

Comment by Mike on June 24, 2014 at 1:29pm

I wish I could have been there, but am glad that you were able to make it and report back to us. Thanks, Brian.

Comment by Melitta on June 24, 2014 at 2:42pm

Thanks, Brian, for attending and for reporting back to us. Barbara was an amazing person, and a great role model for us all.

Comment by Manny Hernandez on June 24, 2014 at 6:08pm

Thanks for representing the TuD community there, alongside Donna. Here are the words I sent to Donna to please read on our behalf:

"This is from Manny Hernandez, President of Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF), and the guy who co-founded TuDiabetes.org along with his wife, Andreina...

Sure, Barbara was an active and selfless member and moderator within TuDiabetes. But we all know she was a lot more than a TuDiabetes member.

Barbara was a generous donor that supported DHF with all she could, also generously volunteering her time as chair during a couple of our fundraising campaigns. But Barbara was far more than a donor or a fundraiser for the cause of diabetes.

Barbara gave it her all whenever she encountered someone in need of help or support... she was there at all times for everyone that needed her. But we know Barb was more than a mom to others in need.

Barbara touched our lives in the diabetes community in ways that are hard to explain. While spending time with her and part of her beautiful family I was lucky to see a side of Barbara that I suspected there but that when you connect online you cannot see in person.

Today, I miss her dearly. I know she looks back on us and smiles... because she did her best, and left a big mark in our lives. One day we will reconnect, and when we do, I will bring more stories of lives touched and diabetes advocacy to share with her over a bottle of good red wine.

Love you, Pup!"

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Diabetes Hands Foundation Team

DHF TEAM

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, Editor, has LADA)

Emily Coles
(Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Development Manager, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


DHF VOLUNTEERS


Lead Administrator

Bradford (has type 1)


Administrators

Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)

Gary (has type 2)

David (dns) (type 2)

 

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