I was scrolling through my Facebook the other day and I love the inspirational quotes that people share. Some are good and others are just perfect. The one I'm sharing with you today really struck a cord with me. Here it is:
It then goes on to say the following:
There is a big difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy is when you can relate emotionally to what someone is going through. Sympathy is just when you care about what someone is going through. Both are good, but when you're going through your hardest seasons there is nothing like having someone who can empathize with you!
I read this and a light bulb came on. For as much as I want to empathize with my daughters (and all diabetics) in what they go through; truth is...I HAVE NO IDEA! I know EVERY THING about the care of diabetes but I don't know the emotional side. I don't know what it's like to feel high, have ketones, be in the middle of a test at school or trying to make a lay up at a basketball game. I do know, a little, what it feels to be low as I have had some low blood sugars (usually in the morning hours when I'm running around like crazy and forget to eat). But I don't know what it feels like to be battling lows constantly...for hours...while in your sleep or even trying to go through a normal school day. I don't know what it feels like to be THAT kid with diabetes. To hear the stupid diabetes jokes. To be singled out during a volleyball game because of a medical alert bracelet. I don't know what it's like to see my food placed in front of me but have to stop, check my blood sugar, bolus AND then eat. To worry about NOT waking up in the morning...
When my 12 year old was crying the other night and telling me she feels alone and different...I told her I was sorry...I absolutely have no idea what you are going through...I wish I could take it all away. That was one of the toughest 4 words I have ever said to her...I HAVE NO IDEA. I'm the mom...I'm supposed to have the answers and yet I have no idea.
The words on the sign above kinda makes me sad that I truly can't pick them back up. How many times have you, as a caregiver, tried to pump up your favorite diabetic with words of encouragement and understanding only to be met with an eye roll or an "ugh"? But then they end up talking, texting, facetiming another diabetic and then suddenly their world is right again. And it is...because they found someone who knows EXACTLY how it feels. So I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to empathize with my girls. But I will be the best damn sympathizer for them as I can be.