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Subject line: Feet

Since I began living alone again, my mom has called almost every day—so often, in fact, that when I don’t hear from her I wonder why.

She likes to keep in touch. And she wants to know how the transition is unfolding, how I’m liking the new neighborhood, whether the money part is going okay.

But mostly she calls so often because she’s haunted. She can’t shake the fear that I’ll have a nighttime hypo I can’t wake up from, no one will know I need help, and I’ll end up dead in bed.

“Just checking to see if you’re on your feet,” she often says to my answering machine, usually after calling me at the office and not getting an answer for some reason or other. Her voice—a lilting Virginian singsong that’s always signaled “home” to me, even though I’ve never lived in Virginia—sounds just a little more cheerful than necessary. “Give me a call.”

It’s been not even two years for Mrs. Violet, just as it has for me. We’re still neophytes in several respects, including how to cope with the mercurial nature of this disease. But I don’t have trouble with hypo unawareness. And I follow the drills we all know: test before bed, eat snack if needed, test during the night now and then. I watch my basals (currently 0.15 overnight, what the hell?) and tweak as needed.

I take care of myself, I’m not afraid, and I’m not about to die in my sleep. (We all have to believe that, right?) That works for me. But for a parent? Harder, much harder, it seems. And Mrs. Violet is a person for whom the wolf is always at the door.

I think I’ll begin a practice of daily morning e-mail. Subject line: feet. Text: Good morning, I’m on them, I love you.

It’s the least I can do for the one person in my life whose voice sounds like home.

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