The Main Lodge errupts with laughter and chaos.
Dinner is fabulous. But the air in the Lodge is different.
You can feel a change sweep the large, rustic room. It is a shift. A turn. The people in that beautiful, big space have all changed. Whether they realize it or not.
With dinner over, people are preparing to section off to various activities. There is a riotous group playing Cards Against Humanity (something I had never heard of before arriving at camp), their laughter infects the whole building. It’s wonderful. Othersare preparing to venture off to listen to a panel discussion.
I am leary of wandering too far from the Lodge. There is a documentary screening of Bike Beyond later in the evening. And I have been waiting for it. It is a film about twenty individuals, all with Type 1 Diabetes, who joined together and cycled across the United States. From New York to San Francisco. Incredible!
I don’t cycle anymore. Though I used to. I loved to ride my bike. So many places I went on those two wheels. I have a cousin the same age as Brother Three (see previous posts), and her bike was stolen from a park when she was about 8 years old. She was devasted. So I gave her my bike, before I left for university. That was two decades ago. And I never replaced it.
Anyways. The documentary gets a portion of its name from the organization responsible for bringing them all together: Beyond Type 1. There are a few reasons I am eager to see the film. Beyond Type 1 exposed me to my first positive interactions with other Type 1s. And through their Facebook page, I made my very first Type 1 friend. My first-ever Diabuddy. And that changed my life. That organization is responsible for a major shift in me. So much so, I have a tattoo of their logo on my arm…
It was a chance meeting that evolved in to an online friendship. We instantly hit it off, and so did our families. Soon it felt as though we had all always known each other. My friend’s pen pal (also Type 1) was going to participate in the film. She and her partner had been planning a trip to North America; they were going to surprise him at the finish line. Then pop up to Canada, where we could all meet in-person and visit Banting House Museum together. That was a most magical experience…
Going to Banting House was overwhelming. He is my grandmother’s cousin, so I took a picture of her with me to show them. To go there with my friend (my Diabuddy), her partner and my family was nothing short of amazing. Spending the day with them remains one of the greatest days of my life. No longer friends, we are now family. They are very dear to our hearts and I am forever grateful to Beyond Type 1 for bringing us together.
Anyways. My friend’s pen pal is in the film. I am desperate to catch a glimpse of her in it. I am also really looking forward to viewing the film surrounded by so many fellow Type 1s. Though it will be a couple hours until that happens…
So I venture outside, I’m hot and I want to see if there are any stars out there…and I find a Diabuddy of mine on the beach. We take the opportunity to enjoy the night sky. The stars are AH-mazing. We joke about asking them to turn off all the lights in the Lodge so we can see even more. I catch a shooting star and that prompts me to pull up an App on my phone to see if we can find anything else out there…it directs us to a couple of stellar constellations and a few planets. Another friend joins us (the one from Archery, the one I have affectionately dubbed Diabetes Brother One) and we childishly joke about looking for and finding Uranus.
Then a young couple appears on the beach. Diabetes Brother One drifts over and chats them up. My Diabuddy and I joke that we’ve been replaced. And ask if he will be introducing us to his new friends. We find out they are here to explore the camp. Because they are getting married here next year. The whole weekend this guy has reminded me of my brother, but never more so than when he suddenly turned in to the ultimate wedding planner. Offering decor ideas. There on the beach we explode with laughter. Then head inside…under the guidance of my Diabuddy turned wedding planner, who encourages the young couple to join us and see the inside of the Lodge.
We find everyone seated. A few last announcements before departing to those evening sessions. And a toast. My Diabuddies and I sit, with the young couple from the beach, and enjoy a toast with all of those wonderful Type 1 Warriors. It is an incredibly special moment.
I (im)patiently wait for the documentary. And it does not disappoint. What a truly special moment to share. Some of the bikers are there at camp. Incredible human beings. I am honoured to be in their company and witness their adventure. I try to snap a picture of my friend surprising her pen pal but it goes by in a blur. I linger, watching the credits as the room clears out, not wanting the moment to end.
But all ends are really new beginnings. Right!?!?!
I finally pull myself together and leave the Lodge. I head back to my cabin.
One last night. Away from home.
One last morning. To make memories.