There was so much I wanted to say to David, but the tension from my ire was hurting my head and muddling my thoughts. The only thing that would come out of my mouth was, "I'm sorry, so truly sorry." I also told him that if he ever needed to talk to someone, he could call me anytime day or night.
I knew the best person he and my sister-in-law, Claudia, could talk to would be Mom. She would know exactly how they were feeling. After all, she was an experienced parent of a child with JRA. I was living proof of that fact. I was diagnosed at four months old, so by the time I was 21, Mom was well knowledgeable about the disease. She would be able to sympathize and educate David and Claudia.
Years passed quickly and the devastation faded, but not the anger. Mom was able to give David and Claudia the support and advice they needed until she passed away in 1991. The first few years the attention was mostly focused on them because Diane was still too young to ask questions or understand much about the disease, but one day Diane became old enough to ask questions about JRA.
She wanted to know, “What is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis?" "Why does it cause pain? And, "Why me?" I knew now I could best answer Diane's questions. I knew I could help her face her fears and the "Why me?" of JRA. I decided to answer her questions honestly and openly. I wanted her to know she had the power to not allow Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis to scare her, embitter her, or make her hate her physical appearance.
One night, when she slept over at my house during summer break, we stayed up until three o'clock in the morning talking. Diane told me sometimes she would find herself angry at God because He gave her JRA. I told her that what she felt toward God was normal because He does seem to be the easiest one to blame. I also admitted that I too had been angry with Him the day her daddy told me she was diagnosed with JRA. I told her that even though I had been so angry with Him, I knew it wasn't His fault for either of us having the disease.
I told her we always had to remember that God had blessed us with loving understanding parents, siblings, and each other. Instead of either us being mad at Him, we should be thankful for all we have and all we can do. For instance, I explained, we can go to the park and swing as high as anyone else on a swing; we can ride bicycles and we can dance - and quite well I reminded her.