• Kirstin

The Space between Forever and A Few Years Ago

Earlier this week, I forgot how long my dad has been dead, which is ironic, because today is the 13th anniversary of his death.

I took my son to his endocrinology appointment, which I try to avoid because it reminds me that he really does have diabetes, the same disease that took my dad from us before he had a grey hair on his head. (Typically, my husband handles these appointments, but schedules dictated that I take this one.) These visits are emotional for me on a regular day, but this week’s check-up was particularly charged with DDD 13 on the horizon and this visit was with the head of endo, not our typical, teen boy-friendly nurse practitioner. We had seen him before, and I don’t remember being impressed.

Spoiler alert: The visit was great. Owen’s numbers are as good as they’ve ever been. The endo was wonderful (why did I not like him before?!) and told Owen multiple times how “tremendously” he’s doing, and rather than make any tweaks, he said, “My job is to stay out of your way.” At the end, Owen even volunteered to participate in a research study on teenagers with diabetes.

My father never shied away from saying how proud of us he was and how much he loved us. As we were leaving the appointment, I thought, “If Dad were alive, he would make Owen feel like a rockstar for his A1C. He would marvel at how hard Brendan fights with the insurance and medical supply companies to make sure Owen gets what he needs. He would remind me how far I’ve come from almost passing out giving Owen his first injection.”

Except, in my thoughts, I truly believed my father KNEW what Owen’s A1C was when he was first admitted. He had WITNESSED some of the pharmacy trips and hours spent on the phone with insurance. He was THERE for that first injection to know I had to do it sitting on the floor.

The math doesn’t work out, though, as my dad had been dead for almost 5 years before Owen was diagnosed. I think this dissonance is a combination of feeling like Owen has lived with diabetes forever and feeling like my dad only died a few years ago.

Both feel real, but neither is true. The mind is a funky animal.

One of the many ways I’ve benefited from coaching is that it helps me check myself. It has given me the language and perspective to put my thoughts and feelings on trial so I can get out of my own way.

I wish my father were alive so I could share my coaching work with him. He would have loved geeking out with me on the tools I’ve learned, and while I never would have coached him (much like it was too hard for him to fill his own children’s cavities), maybe he would have been intrigued enough to find his own coach.

Coaching also teaches you how to reframe. My dad has been dead 13 years now, and he is such a significant presence in my life (present tense intentional) that it’s almost like he never left. For that, I am so grateful.

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