I try to keep my blog light and upbeat, but don’t want to ignore the pandemic and the effect it is having on those of us with diabetes.

I recently lost my good friend, Jim Thomas, to COVID. Jim and I met a decade ago via the Internet. He lived in Dallas, TX at the time, but later moved to Jacksonville, FL after spending a year in the Philippines. I considered Jim to be a good friend, though we never met in person. We spoke by phone on a fairly regular basis even while he was in the Philippines. His hobby was photography; he was a great photographer and shared many of his photos with me. We laughed, joked and also shared our misfortunes and heartaches with one another.

Jim was a diabetic like me. About 6 months before he contracted COVID, he was hospitalized for several weeks for uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure. His landlord found him unresponsive on the floor of his apartment when she went to check on why his rent was late. Luckily, he recovered and rebuilt his health and strength, but then along came COVID.

We spoke for a while during the pandemic, urging each other to mask up, take precautions and be safe. One day my phone rang and I could see it was Jim. I was busy and made a mental note to get back to him when I could. Several days went by before I remembered to call him back; he did not pick up. I left a message for him on his voicemail. I did not hear back from him within a few days, so I called and left another message. I began to get a bit concerned; I kept leaving messages until the phone was disconnected. Finally, I decided to reach out to Jim on Facebook.

When I reached his Facebook page, my heart dropped. There was a message on his Facebook page from one of his relatives that Jim had died of COVID. What a shock! I did not expect that at all.

I was heartbroken and felt such guilt even to this day that I did not answer that last phone call from Jim. Not to mention, I even took my time returning his phone call.

He didn’t have many friends and he couldn’t depend on one of the few he had to be there for him. I tear up every time I think about this. I want him to know that I love him and can’t wait to finally meet him someday. R.I.P.

I’d like to dedicate this video to Jim and all those we’ve lost in this pandemic.

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