Amy Tenderich

My A1C had crept up to 7.2, quite a jump from where it had been. My endo looked at me with real empathy and asked, “What’s going on?” As much I’d promised myself not to go there, my eyes welled up with tears.

It’s been seven months now since my best friend was murdered, under shocking circumstances. Sorry, what murder is not shocking?

The gaping hole in my life is still, well… gaping.

My mind plays tricks on me, that she’s still out there somewhere, and will one day soon come walking in the door, or call or text me – this would-be sister of mine. I wince when her name pops up on Facebook.

She was a staple in my life for the last 25 years, an extraordinary soul who lived just a mile and half away for all the years our kids were growing up. She was like a second mom to my daughters, and me less so (more like a kind but inept aunt) to her two sons. My husband loved her dearly as well.

For the first few weeks in August, the numbness and shock made it hard to function. Now slowly with time, it becomes not “better,” but less horrible. That sense of dread upon waking every morning is duller now than it was at first.

And yet small milestones send me into a tailspin about leaving her behind: when the hoopla around her huge memorial service (350 in attendance) died down, when the warm summer gave way to the chill of a new season, and now, with some family dynamics changing… Now I fully understand how the grieving lament that “life goes on” – ordinary daily life just keeps churning forward, and you want to scream, “NOT WITHOUT MY LOVED ONE!”

So my A1C has crept up, you say? I’ve gained 6 pounds since the holidays (a lot for me!) and am struggling to find the motivation to combat that? At least I’m still here… still living… still somehow pushing through all that needs to be done. 

And while some things are hard to care about anymore, I’ve found a new sense of when it comes to little pleasures in life: I’m trying to wear everything in my closet – especially those exceptional pieces that were always tucked away for a special occasion, or overlooked because they didn’t coordinate perfectly with my usual garb. Likewise, I’m pulling out all those beauty products that were packed away, because you know, I’m not getting any younger and I might get hit by a bus tomorrow – or be murdered in cold blood by someone who should have been looking after me.

I’m having more weekday lunches with friends and acquaintances than ever before, and trying to cut back on professional travel so that I have more time for family. A weekend in LA with my now-freshman in college? Of course! An afternoon at the museum of modern art with my 17-year-old? Yes, I’ll make time for that! An excursion to Ocean Beach with my 14-year-old to collect sand dollars? Yes, yes! Let the laptop lie where it may.

SHE would have made time for all this and more. Because that’s how she was – someone who knew how to work hard, play hard, and always prioritize quality of life.

Coincidentally, the theme of our 2016 DiabetesMine Innovation Summit this past Fall was Prioritizing Quality of Life – and that’s the only thing that got me through it, thinking about dedicating my hard work to improving people’s lives, which came so naturally to her.

She was the only one who could look at me sideways and say, “You’re beeping again!” when my CGM or pump would alarm at the most inopportune moments, and we’d both burst out laughing. It was never a judgment or even vexing curiosity from her side.

And when I had my D-travel meltdown on one of our most recent family trips to Vegas, she knew just what to do: stay cool, simply ask what can be done to help, and when we finally got it all sorted out, offer me a lovely glass of wine and a chance to dive right back into “vacation mode” without peppering me with questions.

She was someone who got so much joy out of all the little things: a pair of festive earrings, a new recipe, a glass of Skinny Girl after a long day of work…

I’m eternally grateful that my children got to grow up in the glow of her joy. She was, as mentioned, like a sister to me and a second mom to my girls – someone who taught us all, just by being herself, that (QTE Arthur Rubenstein).

So here we stand, at seven months and counting, just doing our best to “keep it together.” My endo seemed to understand that. And frankly, if she didn’t, it would be time for a new endo. Because, My Friends, life truly is too short to forgo compassion.

Live well. Love life. Thank you for being here.