Relax, we got this!!
Those were the last four words I said to Barbara, that I think she understood. On the Tuesday evening January 21, 2014 before that awful Thursday, Barbara messaged me and started listing all the things that needed done last week and this. She was pretty sure she would be in the hospital and wanted someone to know her opinion of all the things that would need to be done. Most of it was telling this person in chat this or that. She was rambling to be sure repeating things over and over and in a pause, I asked her to go lay down. My parting words were that she had brought us a long way, now she needed to Relax, because we got this.
A bit of bluster to be sure, the truth is no one could possibly cover what Barbara had in her mind for the future of TUD. She was on the move, thinking about things, wishing to accomplish projects, checking on people, wrapping up this or that, all done so something else could start. Most of what she said was not really making sense, she was so weak by then, so I asked that she let it go and I assured her, whatever came up we had it. Shortly after that assurance I typed those words she retired and the chain reaction of events that ended on the morning of Tuesday January 28th began.
It was different from the way I first met Barbara. She asked one evening out of the blue if I had any good deer recipes. No I responded. I really dislike deer, shocked was her expression. She had visited Indiana and knew we have a large and growing deer population. I believe she thought every man in Indiana must sit with a shot gun hanging out the window of their house waiting for a deer to come by. She was truly surprised that I did not like deer. I assured her I had tried it and frankly it was just not my taste. That started a correspondence that included her favorite deer recipes, and offers to send me excess deer meat she had in her freezer, just so I could really be sure I did not like deer.
I will admit I deleted the recipes for things like lamb and deer meatloaf, barbeque deer steak and the crock pot venison roast. No I said I do not like deer. That mattered little to Barbara. Waste not want not was her motto and by golly I was not going to waste the deer in my back yard. I finally had to reassure her I lived in a subdivision and yes they did frown on hanging a deer carcass from the light pole to drain the blood. Well how about the garage se asked. No I don’t like deer meat, I am not shooting a deer and guns and angry neighbors scare me. She was bound and determined to change my mind.
Then of course came spaghetti squash. Truly making squash into spaghetti like strands sounded awful to me. But like deer she could not give it up. It seemed like every time I came on here she had some sort of idea about how to fix something I would not eat in a million years short of someone threatening my children. But truthfully that was Barbara. She was the sort of person who could bug me about deer or squash and it was ok. For instance once, she asked how many carbohydrates I had eaten that past week. I don’t know I replied. Well she wanted to know so I made up a number I believe 2,000 or something like that. She reported she had eaten 67. How I asked? Well she didn’t eat Ice Cream every day like me apparently she said. I laughed to myself, when I imagined Barbara counting and recording every gram of carb and fiber for 7 days determined to get less than 70 total carbohydrates. She was determined to get her carb intake as close to zero as she could.
Therefore, I suppose I deserved the reaction I got when in her final two weeks when she knew she was so ill, and she would ask what I would do if I were her? I said get a DQ peanut butter parfait or 10 or 50. Her retort? She didn’t need any ice cream this is a setback not an end. I was and am struck by her confidence, and lack of alarm I would have started running around seeing everyone and doing everything I could. But not Barbara she saw the future and she had things to do.
I suppose that led to the second thing I think of in her final few days. She asked me often if I thought she had made our community better, helped people, and improved the lives of diabetics. Of course I would say. But did I really think that? Yes I would reassure her.
In those final days she talked to me about how this community and reminded me of how special it was to her because when her husband passed, TUD was there for her. She found a place and as much love as she put in she got more back. This community, these people were not a job or a labor to Barbara. They were her largest family. She wanted reassurance that it would carry on and that she had done a good job. Yes of course I would say. But still she was worried, she wondered what we would do about this or that.
That is when it happened, I reassured her, Barbara go get some rest, relax, we have this I would say. Well now we do and frankly I miss her so much, because we and especially I could use her push. Yes indeed we have this now what will we do with it? It is a big responsibility for all of us. It is not time to relax, but goodness knows we do truly have this now. What will we do with it, is the question?