Tributes to Catherine

I am overwhelmed by your outpouring of sympathy upon the death of my wife Catherine from complications of diabetes on March 20. Nothing that I ever wrote generated so many responses as my tribute to her, “In Memoriam.”

You sent more than 70 comments to that article and even more emails directly to me. Several of you sent greeting cards and bouquets of flowers.

I couldn’t respond to all of these messages. The new system here doesn’t yet allow anyone to post a response to individual comments. So here is my collective response to all of them.

Most of you never had the opportunity to meet and know Catherine. But several people who had come to our house and others whom we had visited wrote or called.

I especially appreciated kind words from those of you who had a bond with her. One of you wrote that you went to the same elementary school where Catherine taught for many years.

Another of you shared Catherine’s love of fabric and participation on the PatternReview group. Collecting fine fabric and sewing were some of Catherine’s biggest interests in her last years. She had an entire “sewing room” dedicated to her hobby. I encouraged that interest when I bought her a Bernina sewing machine in 1999 for her 62nd birthday.

Another reader emailed me directly with an especially moving tribute to Catherine. “Reading about her may save my own life as I have been lax lately in caring for my diabetes and weight,” she emailed me directly. “Reading this today saddened me and at the same time gave me a jump start that I am committing to take care of myself and live the fullest I can.”

O, how I would have liked to share these tributes with her! Not being able to share what we experienced each day has been the hardest for me.

Besides your condolences, what helps the most is keeping busy with my work. I am more determined than ever to do everything that I can to help all of us control our diabetes.

One of the most helpful messages came from a friend of mine, a retired pastor. “I hope you are feeling a sense of ease and peace around her passing,” he wrote. “I hope you will find much to be grateful for. It is not the events in our lives that we can change, but we have the choice of how to respond.”

Just two months before Catherine died, this friend made a special trip here from California because she had wanted to talk about her impending death. He gave her closure, she told me later.

Special thanks to all of you who joined me in making a contribution to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Catherine’s memory. She would have been grateful.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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