Daleen Berry, WV

Critically Acclaimed Writer

A New York Times best-selling author, Daleen has seven books to her credit. She’s also an award-winning investigative journalist and blogger whose TED Talk was based on Sister of Silence, her breakout memoir about growing up in Appalachia. Daleen has had her nose in a book since she was two years old and began writing stories in the third grade. Her work has appeared in the BBC, the Guardian, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post, and on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other networks.

As a Story Terrace writer, Daleen interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

The Sugar Scare

The cold and flu medicine knocked me out cold. But then, suddenly, I awoke with a start. I stretched out my arm. Not finding a warm body, I called my husband’s name. When his voice carried across our queen-sized bed, I realized he was sitting up. Then I felt him lean over and kiss my arm. He lingered there, like—well, like he was lethargic.

My drugged senses immediately went on high alert. The clock read 3:00 a.m. I touched his shoulder. His skin felt clammy.

“You’re sweating. What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

He seemed confused, so I went in search of his blood sugar meter. Several seconds later, we knew what was wrong. A blood sugar level below 70 is considered dangerous. My diabetic husband’s sugar level was 39.

“You could have a stroke!” I opened the nightstand drawer and grabbed his emergency candy stash, noticing the ashen pallor of his skin. “We need to call an ambulance!”

He refused but asked me to get him some juice.

I ran to get the ever-present orange juice, but the carton was empty. Instead, I poured a glass of grapefruit juice and ran back upstairs. He downed it and continued munching on M&M’s. Several minutes later, his sugar level was climbing into the 40s.

“I feel better,” he said.

“Can I make you a grilled cheese sandwich?” I asked, knowing how bare our cupboards were.

“That sounds really good.”

From the second I awoke to the time he gobbled down the sandwich, 30 long minutes had elapsed. I watched the clock the entire time, wondering if he was truly out of danger.

Because I was sick in bed, he’d eaten canned soup for dinner. It wasn’t enough, though, because he’d cleaned out the garage, burning a lot of calories in the process. “I wanted you to have a clean space to park your car,” he said, his smile weak.

These are your thoughts when you’re afraid someone you love is dying: will I get to apologize for that silly argument? What about all the time we spent apart, pursuing separate goals? What if we’ve gotten all the chances we’re going to—to do it right—and the time on our relationship meter just ran out?

I’m not perfect, not by a long shot. Neither is he. But when he does die—which I hope is many anniversaries from now—I don’t want any regrets.

I want to be able to look back and say we did it right.

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