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.